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Taj Mahal. Wikimedia

Taj Mahal is India’s most renowned and well-known structure, and it is located in the eastern portion of the city on the southern (right) bank of the Yamuna (Jumna) River. The famous monument from the Mughal era has been 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?

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According to some historians, the Taj Mahal was incipiently a Shiva Temple offered to the Mughals as a form of 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. According to BJP MLA Sangeet Som, the Taj Mahal was built by traitors and so cannot be included in Indian history.

Taj Mahal is India’s most renowned and well-known structure. Pixabay

In 2015, a case was recorded in Agra by six lawyers, requesting that the tomb ought to be given over to Hindus for worship. In the action, lawyer Harishankar Jain and his colleagues asked the court to order the removal of all claimed tombs underneath the Taj Mahal, as well as a halt to Muslim prayer. Interestingly, the attorneys have listed Lord Agreshwar Mahadev Nagnatheswar Virajman as the principal plaintiff in their action to claim possession of the land.

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.

ALSO READ: Taj Mahal: Honey Bees at Historical Monument Alarm Tourists

In 2017, in a court in Agra, the Archaeological Survey of India said that the Taj Mahal is a tomb, not a temple, as a group of petitioners argued. According to the ASI’s affidavit, “historically and even according to records as available, there is an ancient monument named Taj Mahal alone on the bank of river Yamuna at Agra duly declared by the government to be of national importance, having gained worldwide recognition as the 7th wonder of the world.”

Despite being designated as one of the “seven wonders of the world,” Uttar Pradesh’s new tourism guidebook, released earlier this month, does not include the monument. Yogi Adityanath, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, has stated that the Taj Mahal and other minarets – buildings built during the medieval and Mughal eras – are not representative of Indian culture.

(The article was originally written on August 16, 2017, and is re-edited on June 3, 2021)


Photo by Wikimedia Commons

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