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Taj Mahal joins Wonders of the World list
July 07, 2007 21:55 IST
Last Updated: July 08, 2007 04:32 IST
Always counted among the man-made marvels of the world by its admirers, the Taj Mahal on Sunday found pride of place in a new list of seven wonders polled by people around the globe.
In a colourful ceremony in the Portuguese capital Lisbon to coincide with the date 07.07.07, Bollywood star Bipasha Basu [Images] announced Taj Mahal as one of the wonders. Agra [Images] Mayor Anjula Singh received the award.
Indians voted overwhelmingly in the polls cast by over a million people.
The worldwide poll, in which people could vote for their favourite monument either on-line or through SMS, was conducted by the New 7 Wonders Foundation, a Swiss non-profit group.
The one-and-a-half-hour-long ceremony at Portugal's largest venue, the Estadio da Luz, saw award-presentation appearances by celebrities like Hillary Swank, Ben Kingsley, Cristiano Ronaldo [Images] and Neil Armstrong.
The celebrity-studded event also saw performances by Jennifer Lopez [Images], Chaka Khan and Dulce Pontes.
The voting picked up last month and in the latter half of June, eight per cent of all votes came from India, which then further increased to 13 per cent.
According to the voting percentage, India was in the fourth place, while Peru, rooting for the Inca city of Machu Picchu, led with 20 per cent votes towards June-end.
The publicity campaign gathered steam as the deadline drew closer, with many organisations and individuals appealing to vote for the Taj.
Union Culture Minister Ambika Soni cast her vote in favour of the monument of love on June 22 and appealed to Indians to do the same.
While there has been huge media hype surrounding the campaign launched in 2000, the brainchild of Swiss author-filmmaker Bernerd Weber, has also drawn criticism, with the UNESCO distancing itself from the campaign and some experts flaying it as a commercial gimmick.
After the launch of the voting campaign in 2000, the nominations were whittled down by public votes to 77 last year, which was shortened to 21 by a panel of architectural experts chaired by former UNESCO chief F M Zaragoza.
Among the places left out were Accropolis in Athens, The Statues of Easter Island in Italy [Images], Cambodia Angkar, Hagia Sophia in Turkey, Eiffel Tower [Images] in Paris, Statue of Liberty in New York and Russia [Images] Kremlin and St Basil's Cathedral.