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Yamuna activists march to warn of threat to Taj Mahal

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Rubbish collected on the banks of the Yamuna River, next to the Taj Mahal. Agra, India.

Agra: Activists and environmentalists here marched to demand release of water from upstream barrages to sustain the ecology of Yamuna and provide moisture to the foundation of the Taj Mahal.

Highlighting the grave threat to the Taj Mahal from a dry Yamuna river bed, activists marched in a procession Sunday night from Haathi Ghat, near the Agra Fort to the Etmauddaula viewpoint park, raising slogans to demand the release of water.

Last week at a conference in Agra, architects and conservationists warned of serious threat to the foundation of the Taj Mahal due to the dry river.

An artificial park developed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) at the rear of the Taj had distanced the river by 100 yards.

A former IIT professor SC Handa had raised objections to the park warning it would prove dangerous to the foundation of the Taj.

As pointed out by eminent historian Professor R Nath, the foundation rests on sal wood beams which require constant moisture.

Historians have pointed out that the Taj Mahal rests on wooden planks and concrete foundation “which require constantly enough moisture”, environmentalist Dr Devashish Bhattacharya said.

The river remains dry for most part of the year, as water flow is captivated by Haryana and Delhi government denying downstream cities their claim to the river water, he added.

Speakers demanded a barrage on Yamuna for Agra city’s growing water needs. Shravan Kumar Singh, a conservationist said the barrage will be able to provide enough moisture to the foundation of the Taj.

Dr Anand Rai, president of India Rising, an NGO, said river police squads should be activated to keep an eye on polluters. The drains and sewer drains opening into the river have to be tapped.

For far too long Yamuna had been neglected. “So far there have only been promises and no action. We can no longer wait. Citizens of Agra are angry and frustrated,” said Jyoti, Charmayne Tiwari, Anita Yadav, women activists of the River Connect Campaign.

Earlier, activists of half a dozen organisations working for Yamuna met in Vrindavan to demand a Yamuna River Basin Commission to plan, execute and monitor various projects for the cleaning and conservation of the river.

 

(IANS)

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Haryana Minister calls Taj Mahal a ‘beautiful kabristan’

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Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal. Wikimedia

Chandigarh, October 20: Joining the league of those making controversial statements on the Taj Mahal, senior Haryana Minister Anil Vij on Friday termed the marble monument as a “beautiful cemetery”.

“Taj Mahal ek khoobsurat kabristan hai,” Vij tweeted on Friday.

Vij, who is the cabinet Minister for Health and Sports in the BJP government in Haryana, is known for making controversial tweets and statements.

BJP leader Sangeet Som triggered a controversy last week by saying that the Taj Mahal was a blot on Indian culture. The Taj, a Unesco World Heritage Site and one of the seven wonders of the world, is visited by lakhs of people from across the world.

In a damage control exercise, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday said the famed monument in Agra was a part of Indian heritage and he is to visit it on October 26.

The 17th-century marble monument was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Both were buried at the Taj Mahal.

Adityanath, whose BJP government in Uttar Pradesh has been accused of ignoring Taj Mahal in the tourism booklet of the state, said that the monument was constructed “by the blood and sweat of Indian laborers”.(IANS)

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Was Taj Mahal Once a Shiva Temple? The Debate over the Tomb Continues

According to some historians, Taj Mahal was incipiently a Shiva Temple offered to the Mughals as a form of the gift by a Rajput king

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Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal. Wikimedia

New Delhi, August 16, 2017: The famous monument from the Mughal era, Taj Mahal is once more in contention as the Central Information Commission (CIC) has requested the Central government to clear up unequivocally whether it is a tomb or a Shiva Temple. An RTI came to the CIC regarding the same, in response to which the quasi-constitutional body solicited answers from the culture minister.

But where did this question come from and what is the source?

According to some historians, Taj Mahal was incipiently a Shiva Temple offered to the Mughals as a form of the gift by a Rajput king. The hypothesis says that the temple was later formed into the monument that dwells graves of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and his adored wife Mumtaz Mahal, mentioned IndiaNews.

Also Read: Firozabad Glass Industry is Declining: Is Taj Mahal to be Blamed? 

In 2015, a case was recorded in Agra by six lawyers, requesting that the tomb ought to be given over to Hindus for worship. The litigation solicited to forbid Islamic religious actions performed in the monument and remove the graves.

PN Oak, a revisionist historian also made the claim in his 1989  book “Taj Mahal” that the name Taj Mahal was procured from a Sanskrit word “Tejo Mahalay’ meaning a Shiva Temple.

The Cultural Minister Mahesh Sharma denied the claims in response to the question put forward to him that the Seventh wonder of the world was a Shiva Temple.


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Ancient Chennakesava Temple Completes 900 Years

The ASI hasn't yet responded to the letter regarding the need to commemorate the 900th anniversary of the temple

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The Chennakesava temple turns 900 but no celebration takes place
Chennakesava temple turns 900 year old. Wikimedia
  • Chennakesava temple turns 900 years old this year
  • It was commissioned by the Hoysala king in 1117 CE
  • ASI hasn’t responded to the letter regarding the need to commemorate the 900th anniversary of the temple

New Delhi, July 15, 2017: Chennakesava temple, a real masterpiece and a fine example of Karnata-Dravida architecture, had its 900th anniversary this year. The temple completed 900 years of construction on March 10, However, the historic occasion was hardly marked by any celebration.

Vishnuvardhana, the Hoysala king commissioned the Chennakesava temple in 1117 CE. It has been established by the Researchers that the temple was built as a symbol of victory of King Vishnuvardhana. “Soon after winning a war in 1104, Vishnuvardhana took up the construction of the temple, and according to an inscription, the temple was ready by March 1117,” said Srivatsa Vati, a historian and an expert in Hoyasala architecture.

“It was Mr. Vati, who wrote to various departments, including the ASI, reminding them about the temple’s 900th anniversary and stressed the need to commemorate the occasion,” says The Hindu report.

Also read: 13 Beautiful Ancient Temples in India showcase Architectural Brilliance.

The Muzrai Department and Hassan district administration responded positively, however, no response has been received from the ASI yet. The temple management committee discussed a series of programs, in a meeting, in order to mark the 900th anniversary of the monument. Religious programs were held as per the suggestions, under the leadership of the priest of the temple. Seminars, a sculpture workshop, competitions for college students, and a State-level Bharatanatyam competition, as a part of a nine-day event, were also suggested by Mr. Vati.

Uma alias Muddamma, president of Belur Town Municipal Council, said that they are still in the process of figuring out what events could be conducted to celebrate the 900 years of Chennakeshwara temple. “On an average, more than 10,000 people visit the temple during weekends. We need funds to develop road infrastructure in the area in addition to improving amenities for visitors. We have submitted a memorandum to chief minister Siddaramaiah seeking funds for development of the town and are awaiting his reply,” He informed.

The Chennakeshava temple at Belur is a marvellous example of the Hoysala architecture and forms a crucial part of their legacy. It is indeed disappointing that the celebration of 900 years of the temple is not being given due importance.

The Chennakesava temple originally referred to as the Vijayanarayana temple is situated on the Yagachi River at Belur. It has also been proposed for the UNESCO World Heritage tag. The temple attracts a large number of tourists every year.

Prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha