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Friday, 10 November, 2000, 17:24 GMT
Taj Mahal disappears under magic spell
Taj Mahal
Stood for centuries - vanished for two minutes
Sometimes described as the most beautiful building in the world, India's Taj Mahal was made to "vanish" leaving onlookers gasping in astonishment.

Indian magician PC Sorcar Jr "made the Mughal architectural marvel disappear into thin air, leaving a blank space at the site," the Statesman of India reported.

It was a perfect illusion

P C Sorcar

The magician was assisted by his daughter, Maneka, who made the monument reappear after two minutes.

Sorcar performed his illusion about 400 metres from the Taj, standing on the bank of the Yamuna river.

View of Taj Mahal
Viewed from prison fortress where emperor Shah Jahan spent last days of his life gazing at his 'monument to love'

"No, it was not mass hypnotism," a "jubilant" Sorcar was quoted as saying. "I just kept the Taj away from your eyes. It was a perfect illusion."

This was Sorcar's first performance since 1992, when he made a running train disappear.

He is also credited with making Calcutta's Victoria Memorial disappear and an aircraft vanish in Japan.

Sorcar, 53, said magic had been in his blood for eight generations. He describes himself as master of the "Indrajal" form of magic, a "theatrical representation of the wishful dream of living happily, where nothing seems impossible".

There was "nothing supernatural" in this vanishing act, he said. "This is all science, the science of controlling the mind and the willpower to create a psychic balance with the environment."

One of the wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal was built in the 17th century in memory of Emperor Shah Jahan's wife as a symbol of their eternal love.

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See also:

10 Dec 99 | South Asia
Moonlight viewing of the Taj
27 Mar 00 | Talking Point
The Taj Mahal: Your memories
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