India does it! It's official: Taj Mahal is among 7 wonders of the world

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The Taj Mahal, regarded as one of the most beautiful monuments, was on Saturday night voted in a global poll as one of the new seven wonders of the world.

Officials of the I Media Corp, the Indian representative of 'New7wonders of the World', claimed that they got the information about the Mughal marvel getting into the list from the Swiss organisation which organised the worldwide campaign.

The official declaration of the new seven wonders of the world will be done in Lisbon at 1:45 am (IST on Sunday).
Asked about the number of votes cast in favour of Taj, 'the monument of love', the I Media Corp officials said that they have no information regarding this.

"Information like the number of votes polled in favour of Taj and the other selected monuments will be available only after the official declaration," they said.

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 Great Pyramids of Giza, the only surviving structures from the original seven wonders of the ancient world, are to retain their status in addition to the new seven. The original list was established more than 2,000 years ago by Greek scholars.

Along with Taj Mahal, The Colosseum, the Great Wall, Machu Picchu, and Petra have been among the leaders in the poll since January. The Acropolis and the Statue of Christ Redeemer recently received a surge in votes.

Almost 200 nominations came in from around the world, and the list of candidates was narrowed down to the 21 most-voted by the start of 2006.

However, UNESCO, which has the official mandate for preserving world heritage, has distanced itself from the campaign, saying the initiative cannot in any significant and sustainable manner contribute to the preservation of sites elected by public.

"There is no comparison between Mr (Bernard) Weber's mediatised campaign and the scientific and educational work resulting from the inscription of sites on UNESCO's World Heritage List," the UN agency said.

The world cultural body said in a statement that attaching sentimental or emblematic value of sites and inscribing them on a new list is not enough.

The list of seven new wonders of the world will be the result of a private undertaking reflecting only the opinions of those with access to the Internet and not the entire world, the UNESCO added.