World's most expensive home sits empty

Sunday, November 06, 2011

World's most expensive home sits empty

The world's ninth, and India's richest, man Mukesh Ambani - reportedly worth US$27billion according to Forbes - refuses to move into his US$1billion skyscraper home as he fears that despite meticulous planning during construction of the property in Mumbai, the building has fallen short of the strict rules of vaastu shastra - a hindi version of feng shui - and therefore may bring his family bad luck.

The property, name 'Antilia' after the mytical islands in the Atlantic, which consists of 37,000m2 of living space, health-spa, yoga studio, parking for 168 cars with a vehicle repair centre, three helipads and its own air-traffic control centre is located on south Mumbai's Cumballa Hill where real estate exceeds US$10,000 per square metre.

The family have visited the property on a number of occasions, hosting parties for Mumbai's sparkling glitterati, and film-screenings in the state-of-the-art cinema and lavish dinners in the ballroom, but always return to another property at night to avoid falling foul of the rules of vaastu, which include always facing the rising sun in the mornings - something deemed not possible as the eastern side of the vast structure does not have enough windows.

The property has been dogged by problems since construction started in 2002, with the title deeds of the land it was built-on being brought into question and the notoriously cagey Indian military trying to ban the construction of helipads on buildings in the city.

Mumbai is the most populous city in India playing home to over 20 million people in a metropolitan area of just 230 square miles. Its where many of India's most expensive homes are located, juxtaposed against sprawling slums where thousands of residents live in extremely poor conditions. In a country where most people exist on less than US$2 per day, the Chairman of Reliance Industries has been critiscised for building this property which is an ostentatious display of wealth, and his decision not to live in it due to his beliefs has angered human-rights campaigners further.

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A Place In The Sun