The tomb riders

Written by Alokananda Chakraborty | Updated: Jul 1 2007, 06:07am hrs
Guess what, the Taj Mahal now comes in all shapes and sizes. Not convinced Then go online and order a Taj Mahal skirt for yourself. Marketed by Speedlimit, if you post your order now, chances are you will be able to grab one of these sheer frilly things at a sale price of $14.99, against its regular $45.00.

If a skirt is not exactly the kind of stuff youd like to be seen in in public, you could probably settle for a 22-oz bottle of Taj Mahal Lager (from United Breweries) at $3.25; or may be bid for a chronograph watch from Anchors Taj Mahal collection for men. Then there is Taj Mahal Agro Industries that has launched a low glycemic rice brand, Mool-giri. Company officials told media at the time of the launch that Moolgiri rice is low in glycemic index and a healthier choice for diabetics.

Get the drift Tata groups Indian Hotels Company is not the only one. Nor is Brooke Bonds Taj Mahal Tea the only torchbearer of the grand legacy of the Taj Mahal. From a mundane boardgame, to the exotic saffron one would use to add a dash of colour to mouthwatering pulao, to the American blues artist who was born Henry Saint Clair Fredericks but adopted the exotic stage name, brand Taj Mahal seems ubiquitous. The equity of the Taj is such that every marketer worth his salt wants a piece, says Anindita C, a Bangalore-based employee of an international bank.

It makes immense marketing sense as well. Explains Samit Sinha, managing partner, Alchemist Brand Consulting, For a foreigner, the name Taj Mahal is easy to understand: its a globally recognised symbol of something that is at once Indian, exotic and timeless. For the Indian, its the shorthand for denoting something that stands for quality. Take the Taj hotels. The idea here perhaps was to connote the same beauty, care and attention to detail as the original. For Taj Mahal tea, I suppose, the brandname is just another way to convey the superior quality of the product.

In sum, what ties all these Taj brands together is the quest for glory and the desire to reassure potential consumers that this is perhaps as good as it gets.