FRIDAY REVIEW

A dream comes true

BIBHUTI MISHRA

BLACK TAJ: Patnaik's creation in sand against the backdrop of the original. Photo: Sandeep Saxena

BLACK TAJ: Patnaik's creation in sand against the backdrop of the original. Photo: Sandeep Saxena  

Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan wanted to build a black Taj Mahal facing the white one at Agra. Now his unfulfilled last wish has come true, thanks to Sudarsan Patnaik.

Patnaik, an internationally acclaimed sand artist from Orissa, created a Taj Mahal in black sand at the east side of the famous building inside the Taj Khema.

The Black Taj came up for the closing ceremony of Taj Mahotsav (September 25 to 27) that commemorates the 350th year of the Taj Mahal. Now visitors can see twin Tajs at Agra.

Shah Jahan's desire to build a Black Taj Mahal to house his tomb was recorded by French traveller, Travernier, who wrote "Shah Jahan began to build his own tomb on the other side of the River Yamuna but the war with his sons interrupted his plans and Aurangzeb, who reins at present, is not disposed to complete it."

Mehtab Burj and the wall adjoining it, opposite the Taj Mahal, is generally believed by historians to be the foundation and remains of Shah Jahan's proposed plan.

"I am honoured to [be able to] fulfil Shah Jahan's dream after 350 years in my own humble way ," says Patnaik.

Patnaik has participated in more than 27 international sand sculpture championships around the world and has won many awards and medals for the country.

He won the first prize at the recently held International Sand Sculpting Championship, Berlin, and is the first Indian to do so.

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