Indian hotel replica a hit with tourist

NEW DELHI: Visitors to a luxury Indian farmhouse hotel might be forgiven for thinking they have landed in Dubai. For the distinctive Koti village property in Phagwara in the northern Indian state of Punjab has been built to mirror the iconic Burj Al-Arab in the UAE.

The replica building, which is currently being renovated to house a restaurant, is the brainchild of architect and construction entrepreneur Rajinder Kumar and has become something of a tourist attraction in the area. Kumar told Arab News that he came up with the idea after visiting Dubai in 2011-12. “I thought why not create the same design here as I am an architect by profession and also do construction. I designed the whole edifice myself.”

It took him three years to construct the building. The real Burj Al-Arab stands more than 300 meters tall. Tourist Mohan Lal said: “When I saw the building, I felt like I had reached Dubai. I will come back with my kids. There is nothing else like this in Punjab or India.” Another visitor, Makhan Singh, from the Indian city of Jalandhar, said: “The rooms inside are good, and it is a very beautiful space. This is the pride of Punjab.” Kumar said: “This area is a non-resident Indians (NRI) belt and many NRIs come here and like it. They take pictures of the interior and the outside and seem to really appreciate it.”

“Some people have said that I might face legal problems (for copying the Burj Al-Arab design without permission) but I will deal with that if it happens.” He added that there was a small replica of the Taj Mahal in Dubai which seemed to have been accepted without any problems.

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