TODAY -

The Taj Mahal that bans Lovers !

S Balakrishnan *

Taj replica - long view
Taj replica - long view



The Taj Mahal is a symbol of love. How could lovers be banned from visiting it? Though it might sound strange, yet it is true. However, this is not at the Taj in Agra (oh, what a relief!) but at the mini Taj replica in Thiruvarur Town in Tamil Nadu.

At the entrance to the mini Taj Mahal in Thiruvarur, the do’s and don’ts list that “lovers are not permitted”, because this replica is not built for the beloved wife but for a beloved mother by a son, a sacred mausoleum.

Amruddin Sheikh Dawood, a Chennai-based businessman, has raised this mausoleum for his beloved mother Jailani Biwi, as she raised him and his four sisters single-handedly after his father Abdul Khader, a merchant in Chennai, passed away.

Jailani Biwi was just 36 years old when this tragedy struck the family. Facing all the challenges alone, she successfully raised her five kids and continued to run her husband’s business as well.

When Jailani Biwi passed way in 2020, Amruddin Sheikh Dawood decided to raise this Taj Mahal replica mausoleum in memory of his beloved mother. With the family’s consent, this impressive memorial has been raised at a cost of 5 crore rupees on a one-acre ground in Ammaiyappan village, his native village, some 10 kms from Tiruvarur Town. The original Taj cost 50 lakh rupees during 1631–1653 in an area of 42 acres.

The 8,000 sq. ft. edifice also has a mosque, a meditation hall, and a madrassa (religious school) besides the mausoleum. Designed by Architect K. Karthikeyan of Dhyan Architects, Trichy, the complex that took two years to complete was built by Engineer P. Muthuramalingam of Dream Builders of Tiruvarur Town.

The mini Taj was dedicated on 2nd June 2023 and is being maintained by a charitable trust. White marble stone was brought from Rajasthan to raise this monument.

 Resting place of Jailani Biwi
Resting place of Jailani Biwi



When we visited Tiruvarur in March 2024 for the temple car festival, I included this Taj replica also in our itinerary. But my wife was reluctant; ‘we have already seen the original Taj (but that was two decades ago, I thought), I don’t want to spoil that memory’, she reasoned. I told her that my main idea of visiting this mini Taj was to build one such for her.

“You will happily bury me alive and build one such beautifully!”, she retorted not believing me.

“Well, then you can build one for me … a wife raising a Taj for her husband … so unique”, I tried to impress her. “I’ll do it right now”, she startled me. “You can think one for the mother - not mine, but yours”, I tempted her and it worked.

We immediately hired a tuk-tuk (auto-rickshaw) and had a darshan of this mini Taj. Finishing touches were still going on when we visited and the fountains were not functional yet.

As it is a sacred place in memory of his beloved mother, it has rightly been stated that ‘Lovers are not allowed’.

People of all faith can visit this mini Taj in Thiruvarur which is the new tourist attraction of Tamil Nadu, especially for those who can’t afford to travel all the way to Agra to see the original Taj Mahal.


* S Balakrishnan wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is from Chennai and can be reached at krishnanbala2004(AT)yahoo(DOT)co(DOT)in
This article was webcasted on April 26 2024.



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