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New Seven Wonders: Will Taj win?

Uncertainty loomed large over the Taj as world-wide poll drew to a close.

News18test sharma |

Updated:July 7, 2007, 1:28 AM IST
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New Seven Wonders: Will Taj win?
Uncertainty loomed large over the Taj as world-wide poll drew to a close.

New Delhi: The Great Wall of China, the Colosseum in Rome and Peru's Machu Picchu are leading contenders to be among the new seven wonders of the world while uncertainty loomed over the status of the Taj as a massive poll drew to a close on Friday midnight with votes already cast by more than 90 million people, organisers say.

The winners of the Internet poll to pick seven 'new' wonders of the world are due to be revealed at Lisbon, Portugal, on Saturday, the date aptly being 07.07.07. The official declaration ceremony is scheduled to begin at Estadio da Luz in Lisbon between 0030 and 0100 am (IST) on Sunday and will continue till 0345 hours.

Also in the top 10 are the Acropolis in Greece; Chichen Itza pyramid in Mexico; Eiffel Tower in Paris; Easter Island; Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Taj Mahal in India and Jordan's ancient city of Petra.

In India, there was a frenzied last-minute rush by Indians to do their bit to see the Taj Mahal through to the elite list.

"The voting picked up like anything since Friday morning. In fact, there is such a rush of votes that we are not being able to give the exact figure, as it is changing every moment and we are not in a position now to collate the data through servers as it might create problem for the voters," said R D Bhatnagar, vice-president of I Media Corp, the official partner of the N7W Foundation in India.

The Great Pyramids of Giza are the only surviving structures from the traditional list of seven wonders of the ancient world. That list was derived from lists of marvels compiled by ancient Greek observers.

Egyptian officials said it was a disgrace they had to compete for a spot, so the pyramids have been assured of keeping their status in addition to the new seven wonders, making a total of eight world wonders once polls close.

The final round of the competition narrowed the field to 20 candidates, and people from every country in the world voted by Internet or phone, said the group organising the ballot.

"There are not many things that could bring the world together like global culture," said Tia Viering, spokeswoman for the "New 7 Wonders of the World" campaign. "This is really something that every single person in the world can be interested in."

The Colosseum, the Great Wall, Machu Picchu, the Taj Mahal and Petra have been among the leaders since January, while the Acropolis and Christ the Redeemer statue made their way up from the middle of the field to the top level.

The Statue of Liberty and Sydney Opera House have been sitting in the bottom 10 since the start. Also faring poorly are Cambodia's Angkor Wat temple complex, Russia's Kremlin building and St. Basil's Cathedral, Britain's Stonehenge and the city of Timbuktu in Mali.

The ancient city of Petra in southwestern Jordan — famous for its water tunnels and carved-stone structures — jumped from the middle of the pack to the top seven in January. That was largely thanks to campaigning by the Jordanian royal family, Viering said.

The campaign was begun in 1999 by Swiss adventurer Bernard Weber, with almost 200 nominations from around the world.

There is no foolproof way to prevent people from voting more than once for their favorite wonder, but most of the votes are cast via the Internet in a system that registers each participant's e-mail address to discourage people from voting twice, Viering said.

The original wonders were concentrated in the Mediterranean and Middle East. Aside from the Great Pyramids, the rest no longer exist: the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes and the Pharos lighthouse off Alexandria.

(With agency inputs)

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