Does Taj Mahal have hidden Hindu idols and inscriptions inside locked rooms?
New Delhi, May 08: Regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Taj Mahal, is known for the story of love it depicts. Taj Mahal is an "awe-inspiring" monument which is a "timeless testament" to the rich and diverse beauty of the Indian culture. However, the story of 20 closed rooms in the secret floor beneath the marble platform of the Taj Mahal has remained a mystery.
Now, a petition has been filed urging the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to open 20 rooms inside the world's wonder - Taj Mahal in Agra to find if Hindu idols and inscriptions are hidden there has garnered much attention.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) media in-charge of Ayodhya district, Dr Rajneesh Singh has filed the petition which is represented by advocate Rudra Vikram Singh.
"There is an old controversy related to the Taj Mahal. Around 20 rooms in Taj Mahal are locked and no one is allowed to enter. It is believed that in these rooms there are idols of Hindu gods and scriptures," Dr Rajneesh Singh told IANS.
"In the petition, I have demanded that the 22 doors of rooms of the monument which are closed should be opened to see the truth, whatever it is," said Singh.
The petition has also sought setting aside certain provisions of The Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archeological Sites and Remains (Declaration of National Importance) Act 1951, and The Ancient Monuments and Archeological Sites and Remains Act 1958, under which the Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra Fort, Itimad-ud-Daulah's tomb were declared historical monuments.
The controversy is not new. Several right-wing outfits have claimed in the past the Taj Mahal was a Lord Shiva temple.
In 2017, giving a new twist to the row surrounding the Taj Mahal, senior BJP leader Vinay Katiyar said it was Lord Shiva's temple called 'Tejo Mahal' which was converted into a mausoleum by Shahjahan.
"It was Tejo Mahal, Lord Shiva's temple, where Shahjahan buried his wife and turned it into a mausoleum," said, Katiyar who had been in the forefront of the Ram temple movement of Ayodhya.
"It was constructed by Hindu kings, the rooms and carvings there prove that it was a Hindu monument... it has also been termed as one by historian PN Oak," he said about the Taj.
He said like a Shiva temple, water drips from the ceiling in the Taj Mahal, which is not a case in any mausoleum anywhere and is like that only on a Shivlinga.
"It was a famous monument and was grabbed by Shahjahan," Katiyar said.
However, rejecting such claims, the Archeological Survey of India, in February 2018, filed an affidavit in an Agra court, stating that the Taj Mahal was indeed built as a tomb by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan who intended it to be a tomb and shrine for his Mumtaz Mahal.
As the mystory sorrounding Taj Mahal remains, let us have look at look at some interesting facts about the iconic monument.
- The Taj Mahal was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in loving memory of his wife Mumtaz.
- The palace contains 120 rooms, a hall of mirrors or sheesh mahal and the savon bhadon pavilion, an elaborate fountain like structure that simulated the effect of rain. The main entrance is a seven-storied structure.
- It took about 22 years and about 22,000 workers to complete the construction of Taj Mahal. The monuments was built in different phases.
- The Pillars of Taj Mahal are designed in such a way that the monument is not destroyed by any natural calamity.
- 28 varieties of semi-precious and precious stones were brought from different parts of Asia for the construction of Taj Mahal.
- The Persian, Turk, Indian and Islamic styles were used to make the magnificent structure.
- The monument of Taj Mahal in Agra is built in perfect symmetry except for the two tombs of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz kept inside the structure.
- The actual graves of the emperor and his wife Mumtaz are not visible to the public. The visitors get to see just a façade below which the tombs are kept.