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NYT: Is vastu shastra stalling Mukesh Ambani move to Antilia?
Vikas Bajaj, NYT News Service | Oct 19, 2011, 12.42AM IST
MUMBAI: When the richest man in India completed his extravagant 27-storey house here last year, it incited a public debate along the lines of "What's he trying to prove?"
Now, the chatter involves a different question: Why hasn't he moved in?
The owner, Mukesh Ambani, and his spokesman have declined to discuss the matter, leaving plenty of room for theories. One popular explanation is that despite the time and money lavished upon it, the building does not conform to the ancient Indian architectural doctrine known as vastu shastra.
Certainly the home-which is called Antilia and reportedly has three helipads, six floors of parking and floating gardens-looks lived in.
At night, the cantilevered tower is lit up bottom to top, inside and out. Yet, friends of the family say that after the last canapes have been served and the guests have bidden goodbye, the Ambanis often decamp to Sea Wind. That is the more modest, 14-storey tower that Ambani, his wife, Nita, and three children share with his mother and his estranged younger brother, Anil, and Anil's family.
When does Mukesh Ambani plan to move into Antilia?
"I have asked him the question twice," said a friend who has attended several parties there. He asked not to be identified for fear of ruining his relationship with Ambani, whose net worth Forbes has estimated at $27 billion.
"He said, 'Yes, we'll go next month. Let it be done.' They don't talk about it."
Another close family friend confirmed that the Ambani family did not live at Antilia but said members did sleep there "sometimes". This friend, who also asked not to be identified to avoid offending Ambani, had no explanation.
Tushar Pania, a spokesman for Ambani's company, Reliance Industries, dismissed questions about whether the family was living at Antilia as idle gossip. "It's a private home. There is no reason to discuss it in public," he said. He said the family had moved in, but when asked whether the family still lived at Sea Wind, he revised: "They live in both places."
But why would someone build what is widely considered the world's most expensive private residence and then use it as a pied-a-terre?
Some friends, business associates and Ambani watchers offer the vastu shastra explanation, which gained wider currency earlier this year when DNA, an English-language newspaper in Mumbai, published an article about it citing "sources in the know".
Vastu, a philosophy that is particularly significant in Hindu temple architecture, emphasizes the importance of directional alignments that create spiritual harmony. Many Hindus believe that living in a building not built according to vastu principles brings bad luck.
Basannt R Rasiwasia, a vastu expert whose clients include prominent businessmen and their families-although not Mukesh Ambani-said Antilia appeared to run afoul of one of the key principles of vastu: The building's eastern side does not have enough windows or other openings to let residents receive ample morning light.
"From the outside, what I see is that the eastern side is blocked, while the western side is more open," Rasiwasia. "This always leads to misunderstanding between team members or sometime may create issues. This also indicates more hard work to achieve moderate success. There is more negative energy coming from the western side."
Rasiwasia cautioned that he could not provide a full analysis, as he had not been inside the building, which was designed by the architectural firm Perkins & Will and the interior design firm Hirsch Bedner Associates, both American. Officials from the firms declined to comment, citing confidentiality agreements.
Even before it was built, Antilia was clouded by controversy. Ambani acquired the plot where the tower sits, on Altamount Road, in 2002. He bought it for Rs 215 million, or $4.4 million at the current exchange rate, from a Muslim charitable trust that elsewhere operated an orphanage.
Muslim political leaders and other critics said that the land was sold for only a small fraction of its market value. Ambani acquired the property in an auction, and his spokesman has denied allegations that he paid less than the land's market value.
Last year, as Antilia was nearing completion, many Mumbai residents criticized the building as an ostentatious display of wealth in a country where most people live on less than $2 a day and in a city where more than half the population lives in slums. Many domestic and foreign newspapers-including The New York Times-wrote about those sentiments, which one friend said had upset the Ambanis.
Gyan Prakash, a history professor at Princeton University in New Jersey who wrote the book Mumbai Fables, said the criticism could have influenced the family's decision not to make Antilia its full-time residence. "It is one thing to brashly announce your arrival in the billionaire's club by looking down on the rest of the city from your gated community in the sky," he said via e-mail, "but then you may realize that it is lonely at the top!"
Even if the Ambanis now have reservations about Antilia, the building appears to have some admirers. Eight hundred metres, or a half-mile, away, in the waterfront Breach Candy neighborhood that is home to the US consulate, another rich Mumbai business clan, the Singhania family, is building a tower with cantilevered floors. Many say it resembles Antilia.
The move-in date? Don't ask. Sagar Joshi, a spokesman for Raymond Ltd., the retail company controlled by the Singhanias, declined to answer questions about the building.
Readers' opinions (149)
2 hrs ago (07:56 PM)
90% of corrupt money is with the Forward caste. (2011) Black Money in Swiss Banks = $1.4 trillion (FC) Hasan Ali Khan = $8 billion (MC) ISRO-Devas = $300 million (FC) Cash-for-votes = $715,000 (FC) (2010) 2G spectrum scam and Radia Tapes Controversy = $6.9 billion (BC) Adarsh Housing Society (FC) Commonwealth Games = $15.5 billion (FC) LIC Housing loan scam = $200 million (FC) Belekeri port = $12 billion (FC) Lavasa = $80 million (FC) Uttar Pradesh Food Grain = $44 billion (BC) APIIIC = $2 billion (FC) IPL Cricket = $8 billion (FC) (2009) Madhu Koda = $800 million (SC) UIDAI = $1 billion (FC) (2008) Satyam = $1 billion (FC) (2006) Scorpene Deal = $10 million (FC) (2005) Oil-for-food programme (Natwar Singh) = $10 billion (FC) (2004) Gegong Apang PDS = $200 million (ST) (2003) Taj corridor = $44 million (SC) (2002) Kargil Coffin (MC) (2001) Ketan Parekh = $200 million (FC) Barak Missile = $200 million (FC) Calcutta Stock Exchange = $2 million (FC) (1997) Sukh Ram = $5 million (FC) SNC Lavalin = $10 million (FC) Advani Hawala = $18 million (FC) (1996) Bihar fodder = $211 million (BC) C R Bhansali = $200 million (FC) (1995) Telgi scam = $4.46 billion (MC) - (1992) Harshad Mehta = $800 million (FC) (1989) Bofors = $400 million (FC) (1971) Nagarwala = $1 million (FC) Haridas Mundhra = $10 million (FC)
3 hrs ago (07:16 PM)
MUKESH BHAI YOU ARE A TIGER ON PAPER ..YOURS FUTURE DEPENDS UPON AMERICAN POLICY...SHANI IS CHANGING ON 14 NOVEMBER--2011, IT WILL BRING SO MANY CHANGES IN THE WORLD...BE CAREFUL.....yours down fall is certain....ALL YOURS SCAMS WILL COME OUT
4 hrs ago (06:05 PM)
The reason I have not moved in is because of the VIEW from my room early in the morning ! Every morning I open the window of my bedroom on the top floor and witness 70% of Mumbai's population Sh!tting in the Open. The sight & Stench is unbearable
3 hrs ago (06:55 PM)
Mukesh Bhai: Could you see them clearly with your binoculars. How did these Mumbai citizens clean up after defecation ? Isn't it that they use a pot of holy water to wash clean with bare hands. Then again, did you also do the same at Antilia 24-carat golden gates. There is a designated spot for you to openly defecate as well. Besides which is a golden tap there too for you to clean up with some brushes. Is that correct ?
4 hrs ago (06:05 PM)
Vashtu Shashtra,karma, tantra lol..this article is a joke right..These corrupt rich families who have become mega rich in India wont even be feeling guilty by robbing a poor man from his clothes.If their conscious doesnt scare them then not enough sunlight from the east wont even bother them lol. Probably he is just scared of leaving Sea view as his brother may claim the whole property and not leave him a floor or something.
4 hrs ago (05:20 PM)
Frankee: Rs 24 for the poor. Rs 32 is for the city dwellers. Please get your facts right before you comment. Both these amounts are below USD1, so it means that anyone in India earning USD1 per day is affluent and to be considered rich and wealthy.
5 hrs ago (05:02 PM)
don't take it negatively at least think about the people who will work over there, many people will get the job at lest they are getting befitted. the security of that area would be high that would be beneficial for surrounding people...
5 hrs ago (04:54 PM)
That building is a national shame. Have heard from rest of the world that the billionaires has donated their hard earned fortunes to charity for a good cause. But here this family has benefited from the people of the country and in turn has done a filthy thing in returns. With the enormous money they have and doesn't know wat to to do with it have started all useless shops and companies and hitting the poor in their stomach like vegetable vendors and small provisional shopkeepers. Think of Reliance Fresh etc. Do they really need to run this for their daily living?? All useless products and expired products sold with heavy discounts and leaving no space for the poor to survive. When a person is known to the world he should become a role model for others to follow and never should behave cheaply as Ambanis. He's one class of example for what a world known billionaire not supposed to do. Remember money is not all in life to do whatever u want. Will get a heavy blow such that u coudn't even stand up in life.
4 hrs ago (06:12 PM)
Yes Johson is right on their views. Regarding your question Taj is generating money for the nation & park will do so. I will also quote that Ambani would never ever enjoy to live in so called Antilia. For your kind information this tower foundation is on the "wakf-board" land which Ambani trickily purchased by paying sums under the table.
5 hrs ago (04:53 PM)
we indians always discuss on a stupid topic we do not do anything, or to go against for that there is lot of problem around us but what we do just like on facebook and doing comment and criticizing someone is that enough to remove the corruption. save tiger, save water, save trees, infanticide and n number of evil in our society. if ambani has reached there that is his capability or we can say already build property but is that make any sense to discuss on that so pls yaar do something don't make virtual world here.
5 hrs ago (04:45 PM)
This is problem of riches.But you cannot help it. People who have huge money can only think of such a big project. No doubt it is a grand success .Rather than criticising,atleast think about the people who were employed and benefited for a couple of years during construction..May be after couple of decades this may be a major tourist attraction of Mumbai.
6 hrs ago (04:14 PM)
ANTILLA is an GROTESQUE MONSTROSITY I have never seen such TACKY WASTE OF MONEY and it costs a billion The Ambanis may havebeen born with moneymaking abilities but they have the tastes of Baboons i
5 hrs ago (05:09 PM)
suppose if u would be the place of ambani what would you do for you for your family for your own happiness just tell the truth....u would not be satisfied with millions Rs worth of house your status your self respect would not allow you to go and live a simple life
3 hrs ago (06:27 PM)
ethan: idiot, who say billionaires cannot lead and live a simple life. warren buffet still live in a modest house, so is steve jobs who just died. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg also live in a small simple house in Palo Alto. These are also billionaires. Only Indians like to show off. So is Mr. Lakshmi Mittal who lives in a Victorian Mansion Palace next to Prince Charles former residence in Kensington Palace. Now Mr. Mallaya of Kingfisher is also topping the list to show off his wealth. So be it.
6 hrs ago (04:02 PM)
It would be a world attraction to see the worlds richest house standing to the worlds poorest houses (slums) standing next to each other. The house with lot of toilets for few people standing next to houses with no toilets and people defecating on railway tracks of mumbai standing next to each other. Good material for Slumdog 2 movie.
6 hrs ago (03:28 PM)
It would be wiser if the building is sold by auction which will fetch considerable amount to the extent of loss of Market Capitalisation of the Reliance Industries and any other associated Companies so that te Late father would be much satisfied that his eldest son had a wise decision to make up the actual loss in market Capitalisation.The excess amount reailised may be kept as a Reserve to meet the future erosion of Capital which is a natural phenomenon in the present difficult circumstances are any interest bearing loans of the Empire.Till such time a decision is taken how it invest that amount may be kept in Nabard for a period of prescribed lock-in-period.
6 hrs ago (03:28 PM)
This one is for Mr Mukesh Ambani, himself. Hope he reads this or this piece is put up to him by some of his well wishers. I am an earthquake engineer. And for one I know it well enough that most of the high rises in Mumabi & Delhi & Pune etc are definitely not built with the tenets of earthquake engineering. Most (in fact all) structural designers in India just employ a certain factor for catering to the Earthquake forces in a difinitive Zone. But designing for proper resistance to these dynamic forces, buildings have to be designed with earthquake response spectra having been studied. These pencil thin structures are definitely at higher risk in the pressent state of designing. But even more crucial than desining is the proper executive work on the ground. There are at least 14 factors that are to be well known to the engineers on ground while building high rises. With none of the engineers in the market knowing these tenets, they are at a total loss. And with speed of work being demanded by the owners, they find it extremely convenient to overlook them, even if a few of these engineers do possess a little knowledge of these. In such a scary scenario, it is well worth considering for Mr Ambani or any one else to get a proper study by some knowledgeable & well educated practising engineer in the related field so that the safety of the structure is carefully considered, and suitable action taken to retrofit the structure so that it could stand the test of time, IF SO REQUIRED. The condition of filled up soils beneath, especially in the coastal areas, further accentuated those risks. See how they went about it in case of that Sail shaped Hotel in Dubai. Yes! a word about VASTU. It is pure science and now become a fashion for rich & mighty. But whether a building is a two room tenemant in a single storey or a mighty 1000m tall building, the principles are exactly the same. I have not seen the ground at the spot in this case, but, these must been taken into consideration by the Architect concerned, simply becauseVASTU has become the fashion for rich people. I will not accept the same reasoning given by someone for structural designing because Indian subcontinent's geology is undergoing tremendous stresses due to sub-duction, especially the peninsular region. And the Zoning is almost defunct. Take it or leave it. The choice is that of those who live in such high rises. But please do consider this. Thanks.
6 hrs ago (03:27 PM)
The Cantilivered Tower is lit from top to botto .Daily a 27storeys tower littedup and nobody Is staying. Ambanis are exempted from powet Conservation or Since Ambanis own the power Company in Mumbai,he getting free of charge But still its waste of power,why is the Govt Not taking action on it. Everything chalta hai for riches and poor man Has to suffer.
7 hrs ago (02:27 PM)
In place of critising we should wish good luck to Ambanies and also we should be proud that an Indian has such a beautiful house. I think it is no where less than any other private home in the world. I and my family wish good luck to Mukesh,Tina and their family and also pray that they should enjoy their life in that home. Good luck once again.
6 hrs ago (03:44 PM)
Am I right in understanding that you wanted to express sarcasm in the phrase "such a beautiful house"? In fact I think that the designers of this house need to be sued for creating most expensive ugly building in the world!
6 hrs ago (04:04 PM)
Be aware that all ur tax money has gone into this by some means...and thats the reason a stupid useless building had been raised for. If that's the hard earned money they woudn't have done this...
6 hrs ago (03:28 PM)
You stupid dickhead;people are allowed to have opinions about buildings and to express these opinions;no one needs "moral authority'' to express opinions on the ugliness/beauty of things .
8 hrs ago (01:45 PM)
Oh hello, What do yoou mean none of us paid any pie? Mukesh did not bring with him at the time he was born. His late father built the empire with shareholders money. In 1977 he had only Rs.15000/-. They owe it to the shareholders of their respective companies.
7 hrs ago (02:27 PM)
They (Ambanis) owe mainly to our country than the shareholders. They made all of their riches (billions) from our beloved country. They should share or donate some of their wealth to the welfare of the poor people of our country instead of wasting it for this ugly building.
7 hrs ago (02:52 PM)
I agree with you. If I had written what you wrote I would have been shot down by bloggers saying it was their earning. Hence I chose the word shareholders. Such vulgar display of wealth must be shot down by all and sundry.
9 hrs ago (12:28 PM)
Evidently, the building is an ostentatious display of wealth in a country where most people live on less than Rs 32 a day and in a city where more than half the population lives in slums ! Constant and regular criticism by the media about this super expensive building must have upset the Ambanis stalled their move to Antilla. The $ 2 billion house named 'Antilla' must have been based on Vaastu. Such speculations of Vastu being the "reason" for stalling the move of Mukesh Ambani's to Antilla are baseless !! Dr Pendyala Pradeep, Anaesthesiologist, Secunderabad.
8 hrs ago (01:22 PM)
I could not agree with you more. The subject 'Corporate Social Responsibility' perhaps is not taught in big Business Schools the world over. On my asking a friend, currently doing Master's in Corporate Social Responsibilty in UK, as to how he intended to use the qualification, prompt came the reply, "shall seek job in UN". I told my friend why does not he instead use the qualification to start an NGO to awaken the Corporates of their Social responsibilities, the friend had no answer. Government cannot do all. Corporates can do a lot in alleviating the lot of the poor in India; as you very rightly said - majority of people in India do not have two meals a day, have no roof over their head, lacs of them sleep in the open braving chill in winter months and facing death. In such a scenario such mansions are nothing but vulgar display of wealth. Instead of drawing filthly high salaries running into tens of crores a year, instead of building mansions costing billions of dollars, (the news is that Vijay Malaya is building a 4.5 Acres Pant-House in Bangalore on top of three High Rise buildings (Hello what are you trying to show?)), they should help alleviate the sufferings of the poor. I am prepared to start an NGO with like minded persons to work in this direction to bring about Corporate awakening in their Social Responsibility.
9 hrs ago (12:49 PM)
Dont matter how rich an Indian is, he will still be dumb superstitious dikhead. The whole of indian cricket team is superstitious. Indians need to come out of dark ages and face 21st century.
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20 hrs ago (01:27 AM)
My dear Mukesh, Oops, "mukes,"
My, my, aren't your media mustlemen, Oops, hired guns, Oops, PR people doing a good job or what? TOI must be angry at you. Usually they are business friendly, especially of your "nanabhai, gandabhai Anil. When the sky was falling over G2 corruption/payouts, TOI kept Anil's good name out of print. Money may not buy Anil love (of Mukesh) but lots and lots of that useless commodity, surely can buy some peace of mind.
Not that I care whether you live in a bamboo, tarpaulin, plastic sheet hut or the most ugly tower of stupidity, costing you some Rs 100,00,000,00 (one hundred crore). To each his own. Mahatma Gandhi lived in his Wardha and Sabarmati Ashrams, with thatched walls and in the most elegant mansions belonging to late Aga Khan and G D Birla. He was happy, nevertheless.
Lot is said about this house. For Indians, it is the most costly. According to my calculations, it is not. The honor goes to: $135,000,000 house. The second place property fetches $100,000,000. At the current exchange rates, the first property is worth Rs 6,615,000,000 and the second one at $4,900,000,000.
Eat your heart out. Not literally, you stupid, figuratively.
...and I am Sid Harth@sidileak.com
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Real Estate Feature
Along Australia's Gold Coast and across the French Riviera, they sit above the beach offering extraordinary views of the sea. In the U.K. they are palaces that humble the Queen's Belgravia mansions.
Others range from landed estates throughout continental Europe to nature preserves in Zambia.
These are some of the world's most expensive properties, and the prices are as unique as the homes. Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan's Aspen ski lodge lists for $135 million, while 6,000 miles away, a 64-room Istanbul waterfront mansion asks $100 million.
"You're definitely talking about the highest end of the market here," says Joshua Saslove of Joshua & Co., an Aspen, Colo.-based affiliate of Christie's Great Estates. "The net worth of the buyers and the sellers is such that they can do whatever they want."
Feeling a little less flush? A modest $18 million will get you South Africa's priciest pad. But you'd better act quick; with international real estate company Knight Frank calling the country one of the quickest growing real estate markets, that affordability could soon change.
For something a little more "Old World," a Romanian castle, built in 1212 and once home to Vlad the Impaler (the inspiration for Count Dracula), can be had for $140 million.
They are wealthy globetrotters looking for a second, third or fourth home, and don't mind gassing up the jet if it means owning a beautiful property. Americans, Arabs and Europeans have long bought getaways across the globe, but increasingly the rising wealth in China, India and Russia is raising the world's luxury watermark.
And while no one besides Indian steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal has ever shelled out more than $100 million for a home (he did so in 2005, when he snapped up a Kensington townhouse for $127 million ), there are plenty available.
But until Blixseth finishes construction in 2008, this year's top property can be found in Beverly Hills, Calif. For $165 million, a buyer gets a 75,000-square-foot villa once owned by William Randolph Hearst.
Dishing The Data
Still, discovering every top-tier property is impossible. Many owners sell their homes only to preselected buyers, and hide their asking and sales prices. This can help owners conceal the value of a home for tax purposes, and keeps fellow aristocrats from regarding them as gauche for announcing a $100 million property to the world.
In France, for example, this year's highest listing is $65 million for an elegant Cote d'Azur gem perched above the port of Saint Jean, with views of Beaulieu and Monaco.
But realtors say there are many more available on the sly.
"We have chateaux priced at more than 50 million euros ($65 million)," says Thierry Journiac of Terra Cognita who said owners of the country's priciest properties very rarely make public listings. "But, in general, the most expensive estates in France are private mansions inside Paris called 'hotels particuliers' with prices which can be above 100 million euros ($130 million)."
Posted by incognitome | 04/06/09 07:14 PM EDT
I thought Larry Ellison's new home in Woodside, California was the most expensive home in the US. It took eight years and was entirely built by hand crafted tools. No nails, screws or even locks on t [More]
Tags: Larry Ellison's Home
Posted by moneymaker87 | 07/24/08 01:38 AM EDT
i know that the Biltmore estate in Asheville, NC is no longer a residency but it is still a house and its supposedly worth around 300 million so if its not in the same category then maybe you should [More]
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Five monuments steeped in history and classified by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites which you shouldn’t miss when visiting Portugal.
Mosteiro dos Jerónimos: a monumental prayer
Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. Photograph: IGESPAR/Luís Pavão
“To be great, be whole: don’t exaggerate/Or leave out any part of you./Be complete in each thing./Put all you are into the least of your acts./So too in each lake, with its lofty life, the whole moon shines”. Despite having been written less than 100 years ago, this poem illustrates well what the Portuguese nation was like in 1500, when living through its golden era – the Age of Discoveries – and it ventured out across the oceans to the four corners of the world. Written by Ricardo Reis, one of Fernando Pessoa’s heteronyms, these words are inscribed on the author’s tomb in Lisbon’s Mosteiro dos Jerónimos.
This monument started out as a small and simple chapel, where seamen used to pray upon their departure and their return from their travels. But fate, and history, would change it into something of a different order altogether. After Vasco da Gama’s successful voyage to India in 1498, King Manuel I had it transformed into a huge monument dedicated to Our Lady of Belém. So, over 300m in length, the Hieronymites Monastery is now the living memory of all those who made the Portuguese Discoveries around the world possible.
Torre de Belém: To protect and incarcerate
Torre de Belém. Photograph: IGESPAR/Luís Pavão
A rhinoceros? When you start appreciating in detail the façade of the Tower of Belém, this might be your first interrogation. If it is true that the monument was built in the 15th century, in the Tagus River, in order to protect Lisbon, it is also true that at that time the Portuguese were already citizens of the world. History tells us that in 1514 King Modofar, who ruled over Diu in India, denied the request made by Afonso de Albuquerque, the governor of Portuguese India, to build a fortress in his territory. However, after the king’s allegiance had been won over with lavish gifts, the Portuguese was presented with a rhinoceros. Afonso de Albuquerque decided to have it sent to King Manuel I back in Portugal. The animal’s arrival in Lisbon became a renowned affair, arising not only the curiosity of the Portuguese but also of other European nations. This was the first living rhinoceros to have been seen in Europe since the 3rd century, and its figure was eventually carved into the base of one of the Tower’s turrets. The monument, built from lioz limestone, is composed of a bastion and the tower itself. Yet, apart from its strategic and defensive value, the Tower had also another use. During the Iberian Union, when the Portuguese Crown was under Spanish rule, between 1580 and 1640, it was also used as a political prison.
Mosteiro da Batalha: In recognition of a victorious battle
Mosteiro da Batalha. Photograph: IGESPAR/Luís Pavão
This is yet another impressive monument that took over 150 years to build, to thank the Virgin Mary for Portugal’s victory in the famous Battle of Aljubarrota against Castile, in 1385, that secured the country’s independence. The profusely ornate Monastery of Batalha is a vast building that comprises a church in the shape of a Latin cross, with three naves and five apsidal chapels, as well as the abbey’s rooms, bedrooms, cloisters and what became known as the Unfinished Chapels, because they remain unfinished to this day. There are also spaces to store food, a library, a registry, and a pharmacy or infirmary. The monks who lived here welcomed foreigners, within their means, who were mainly wealthy British people. A slightly different case was that of Irishman James Murphy: born into a humble family, he became a talented architect, painter and draughtsman. In 1789 he lived in the monastery for thirteen weeks, in order to measure and draw it. His work, “Plans, Elevations, Sections and Views of the Church of Batalha” was published in instalments and became renowned for its accuracy among an interested public.
Convento de Cristo: The order that would conquer the World
Convento de Cristo. Photograph: IGESPAR/Luís Pavão
It is possible you might not have heard of Gualdim Pais. In fact he died back in 1195. He served King Afonso Henriques in several battles, but that is not all. He also travelled to the Near East to fight in the Holy Land, in the siege of Gaza, in 1153, and upon his return was named Grand Master of the Knights Templar in Portugal. Seven years later he was financing and overseeing the construction of the order’s new headquarters in the kingdom: the imposing Castle and Convent of the Knights Templar of Tomar. A setting that blends mystery and reality, its grandiosity still weighs over the city of Tomar, which grew from inside its walls. It imposing presence can be viewed from the entire surrounding area. When the order was suppressed in the rest of Europe, it was converted into the Order of the Knights of Christ in Portugal and would become pivotal for Prince Henry the Navigator in providing support for his voyages of exploration in Africa and the Atlantic. Appointed as governor of the order, he would open Portugal to the world under the banner of the order’s cross. But if this mystical place was where the strategy to open up the world’s oceanic trading routes was devised, and where King Manuel I masterminded his imperial design over the World it was also, with King John III, a place of closure and prayer. Its inherent symbolism was so vast that King Phillip II of Spain chose it to signal the takeover of Portugal. Covering an area of some 45 hectares, it is worth to have a good look at the entire monument, while imagining the daily routine of so many centuries ago.
Mosteiro de Alcobaça: Ora et Labora
Mosteiro de Alcobaça. Photograph: IGESPAR/Henrique Ruas
Ora et Labora, in Latin, or Pray and Work, in English. This is the fundamental rule that guided the Order of Cistercians, founded in France in 1098. The order would become economically self-sustaining and would ensure all its religious services, so the its prelates were eventually sent all over Europe in search of good places to build new abbeys. But if you thought they were searching for places of affluence and wealth, you are mistaken. Their quest was rather for secluded valleys, with arable land and rivers that provided water. They often chose forests that would help protect their privacy and keep the world at bay. During the Middle Ages there were 754 Cistercian abbeys in Europe and the Alcobaça Monastery was to become one of them. The monument is intrinsically connected with Portugal’s independence. History tells us that King Afonso Henriques gave Bernard of Clairvaux 44,000 hectares of land to build a Cistercian abbey to commemorate his victory in the Battle of Santarém against the Moors. But there were also political issues behind this gift, because Bernard was a prominent figure 12th century Europe and this helped promote the recognition of Portugal as an independent nation. The monk’s work would also have a lasting influential effect on Portuguese culture. The impressive monument is comprised of a church, many internal divisions like the Chapter House, a dormitory, a refectory, a cloister, a library and a palace. With the extinction of religious orders in the 19th century, the monastery served a wide range of purposes such as housing a prison, a courthouse, a municipal library, a school, and even a bank.
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Antilia as seen from Altamont Road
|Location||Altamont Road, South Mumbai
||18°58′6″N 72°48′35″ECoordinates: 18°58′6″N 72°48′35″E
|Opening||28 Oct 2010|
|Cost||2 Billion Dollars|
|Roof||173 metres (568 ft)|
|Floor count||27 (equivalent to 60 floors tower)|
|Design and construction|
|Main contractor||Leighton Holdings
|Architect||Perkins & Will
|Structural engineer||Sterling Engineering Consultancy Pvt. Ltd.
Antilia is the name of a twenty-seven floor personal home in South Mumbai belonging to businessman Mukesh Ambani, the billionaire Chairman of Reliance Industries. There will be 600 full-time staff to maintain the residence, which was reported in the Indian Media to be the most expensive home in the world. It has been described as the "Taj Mahal of 21st century India".
 Name and Location
Antilia is named after the mythical island in the Atlantic, Antillia.
The structure was designed by U.S. architects using principles of Vaastu Shastra, the Hindu traditional geomancy from which Chinese feng shui originated, to maximize "positive energy." No two floor plans are alike, and the materials used in each level vary widely.
The home will include:
- 400,000 square feet (37,000 m2) of living space.
- Parking space for 168 cars.
- A one-floor vehicle maintenance facility.
- 9 elevators in the lobby.
- 1 helipad and an air traffic control facility.
- Health spa, yoga studio, small theatre with a seating capacity for 50 on the eighth floor, multiple swimming pools, three floors of hanging gardens, and a ballroom.
- An ice room infused with man-made snow flurries.
Antilia was designed by Chicago based architects, Perkins & Will. The Melbourne-based construction company Leighton Holdings began constructing it[who?]. The home was also designed to survive an 8-richter scale earthquake.
Various construction controversies have been connected to the home.
In 2002 Mukesh purchased the property.
In 2007 the Maharashtra government said the structure is illegal because the land's owner, the Waqf Board, had no right to sell it. Mukesh then obtained a No Objection Certificate from the Waqf Board for Rs 1.6 million (U$36,100) and began construction. In June 2011, the Union Government asked the Maharashtra Government to consider referring the matter to the Central Bureau of Investigation.
In regards to the three helipads, the Indian Navy said it will not allow the construction of helipads on Mumbai buildings, while The Environment Ministry said the helipads violate local noise laws.
 Cost and valuation
Thomas Johnson, director of marketing at architecture firm Will and Hirsch Bedner Associates that was consulted with by Reliance during building floor plan design, was cited by Forbes Magazine as estimating the cost of the residence at nearly $2 billion.
 Public reception
|“||It's a stupendous show of wealth, it's kind of positioning business tycoons as the new maharajah of India.||”|
Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata has described Antilla , as an example of rich Indians' lack of empathy for the poor. Tata also said: "The person who lives in there should be concerned about what he sees around him and [asking] can he make a difference. If he is not, then it's sad because this country needs people to allocate some of their enormous wealth to finding ways of mitigating the hardship that people have."
Some Indians are proud of the "ostentatious house," while others see it as "shameful in a nation where many children go hungry." Dipankar Gupta, a sociologist at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University, opined that "such wealth can be inconceivable" not only in Mumbai, "home to some of Asia's worst slums," but also in a nation with 42 percent of the world's underweight children younger than five. Recently Ratan Tata said that "It's sad Mukesh Ambani lives in such opulence".
- ^ Reeba Zachariah, TNN, Oct 13, 2010, 01.23am IST (2010-10-13). "Mukesh ready to move into mansion in the sky - The Times of India". Timesofindia.indiatimes.com. Retrieved 2010-10-13.
- ^ Emporis GmbH. "Residence Antilia, Mumbai, India". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
- ^ "Personal Green Skyscrapers - The 60 Story Antilia House (GALLERY)". Trendhunter.com. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
- ^ "A peek into Mukesh Ambani's $2 hundred million Mumbai home". Rediff.com. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
- ^ a b c d e Headlines Today Bureau. "Mukesh Ambani all set to move into world's costliest house: India : India Today". Indiatoday.intoday.in. Retrieved 2010-10-14.[dead link]
- ^ "BBC News - India's Ambani hosts party for 'world's priciest home'". Bbc.co.uk. 2010-11-27. Retrieved 2010-11-27.
- ^ Shobhaa De, Nov 27, 2010, 01.41am IST. "New Ambani home opens doors, and how - The Times of India". Timesofindia.indiatimes.com. Retrieved 2010-11-27.
- ^ a b c d e f g h i Mumbai Billionaire's Home Boasts 27 Floors, Ocean and Slum Views by Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times, October 24, 2010
- ^ "Inside The World's First Billion-Dollar Home". Forbes. 2008-04-30. Retrieved 2010-08-25.
- ^ Woolsey, Matt (2008-05-01). "A peek into Mukesh Ambani's $2 bn Mumbai home". New York, NY: ReDiff via Forbes. Retrieved 2009-08-07.
- ^ Frank, Robert (2008-08-05). "The 10 Most Expensive Streets in the World - The Wealth Report - WSJ". Blogs.wsj.com. Retrieved 2010-11-17.
- ^ a b "Mittal's address more expensive than Ambani's - Money - DNA". Dnaindia.com. 2008-08-04. Retrieved 2010-11-17.
- ^ "Mukesh Ambani’s new house – Antilla". aavaas. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
- ^ "Antilia the classiest residence for the richest Indian". Luxurylaunches.com. 2007-05-30. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
- ^ "Oh brother, spare me the time - World". smh.com.au. 2008-08-02. Retrieved 2010-10-13.
- ^ Kwek, Glenda (2010-10-15). "India's richest man builds first $1-billion home, Antilia, Ambani". Melbourne: Theage.com.au. Retrieved 2010-10-28.
- ^ 
- ^ http://in.finance.yahoo.com/news/Ambani-dream-house-stands-yahoofinancein-2253320233.html
- ^ "Indian industrialist to build US$1 billion “home” amidst Mumbai’s multimillion slum-dwellers". Asian Tribune. 2007-06-07. Retrieved 2010-11-17.
- ^ "Mukesh Ambani's new abode worth billion - Business News - IBNLive". Ibnlive.in.com. 2010-02-03. Retrieved 2010-11-17.
- ^ "Inside The World's First Billion-Dollar Home". Forbes.com. 2008-04-30. Retrieved 2010-11-17.
- ^ Giridharadas, Anand (2008-06-15). "Indian to the Core, and an Oligarch". The New York Times.
- ^ "Man Builds Himself a Billion Dollar Home". Mumbai, India: ABC News. 2008-01-29. Retrieved 2009-08-07.
- ^ Woolsey, Matt (2008-05-01). "Mukesh Ambani's US$2 billion home world's most expensive". New York, NY: Times of India via Forbes. Retrieved 2009-08-07.
- ^ Chandrashekhar. "Mukesh Ambani Mansion In The Sky". Mumbai, India: Oneindia.in. Retrieved 2009-08-07.
- ^ "'Antilla', Mukesh Ambani's house, shows lack of empathy for poor: Ratan Tata". The Times Of India. 22 May 2011. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
 External links
- Most Expensive Home in the World has 27 Floors and Slum Views - slideshow by the LA Times
- Antilia is the world’s most expensive house for $1 billion -Luxurylaunches
-  It's sad Mukesh Ambani lives in such opulence: Ratan Tata