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The Odd Story of Egypts Haunted Hindu Temple-Palace

As travellers pass the Cairo suburb of Heliopolis, on their way to the Airport in Egypts capital they are astounded by the sight of a Hindu temple-like building, that is stuff of legend in the city. Officially called the Le Palais Hindou, it is more famous by its local name Qasr-i-Baron or Baron palace and is known for mysterious happenings within!

Abandoned since the 1950s, there are some hair raising tales around it.

Once owned by the Belgian millionaire industrialist and Egyptologist, Baron douard Empain this building in its prime, was at the heart of Cairo social scene and known for the legendary parties hosted here. The Baron had made a huge fortune building railway lines in Europe, including the Paris metro. He came to Egypt, in pursuit of even more wealth, as this became an epicentre after the opening of the Suez Canal in 1872. The exotic Le Palais Hindou represented its owner's passions.

The late 19th & early 20th century, marked the age of Orientalism. Europe was rediscovering the wider more ancient world and there was great interest in civilizations such as Greece, Egypt, India and China. Baron Empain was not only a keen egyptologist but a great admirer of Indian architecture. In 1907, he commissioned the noted French architect Alexandre Marcel (1860-1928) to build a residence in the style of a Hindu temple. Marcel took inspiration from the temples of Angkor Wat as well as designs of old Odisha temples to create this unique building.

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