Taj Mahal finds pride of place in UP govt's 2018 Heritage calendar
Lucknow, Oct 18: The Taj Mahal, which has been in the crosshairs of controversy, has finally found a pride of place in the 2018 calender brought out by the Uttar Pradesh government. The 17th century architectural marvel is included in the month of July in the calendar brought out by the state information department.
Also finding a place in the calendar is the Gorakhnath Temple in Gorakhpur. The Gorakhnath Mutt is headed by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Apart from carrying images of important heritage and tourist spots of the state, the calender mentions the popular BJP slogan of 'sabka saath, sabka vikas - UP government ka satat prayas'.
The pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the chief minister also feature in the calender prominently. The world famous monument has recently been in the crosshairs of controversy with BJP MLA Sangeet Som questioning the monument's place in India's heritage, stressing that history would be re-written to erase Mughal emperors from it. Som's comments came soon after the Yogi Adityanath government reportedly omitted the Taj Mahal from an official tourism booklet.
"Many people are pained to see that the Taj Mahal was removed from the list of places (tourist destinations). What type of history?" Som recently posed in a statement. The BJP had distanced itself from the comment saying it was Som's personal view and the party had nothing to do with it.
Following media reports, the state government had issued a press release stating, "Tourism projects worth Rs 370 crore are proposed, under which schemes worth Rs 156 crore for development of parks and various facilities are meant for the Taj Mahal and its surrounding areas in Agra." The chief minister was also prompt in clearing the air by stating, "It is immaterial as to who and how Taj Mahal was built...it was made by the saputs (sons) of Bharat Mata through their khoon and pasina...it is famous the world over for its architecture...is a historical monument and its protection and further development for tourism is the responsibility of the government."
He also said that he will visit the historical monument and the Taj city of Agra on October 26 to review the tourism schemes there. Prayagraj Triveni Sangam (Allahabad), Ram ki Paudi (Ayodhya), Barsane ki Holi (Mathura), Gurudwara Nanakmattha Saheb (Pilibhit), Devgarh Jain temple (Lalitpur), Sarnath Stupa (Varanasi), Rani Jhansi ka Kila (Jhansi), Sri Krishna Janmsthan temple (Mathura), Vindhyachal trikon darshan (Mirzapur) and Kanshi Vishwanath temple (Varanasi) also find a place in the calendar.