Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Monument Of Love

India is gearing up for celebrating the 350th anniversary of the Taj Mahal – one of the wonders of the modern world, and a beautiful architectural symbol of love of the Persian emperor Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Or is it?

Doing its rounds over e-mail, I got this mail the other day that explored the idea that the Taj Mahal was not built by Shah Jahan at all, let alone as a symbol of love. It was on the contrary, a Hindu temple for the Lord Shiva (Tejo Mahalaya, as he was called then, from which the name for the monument is derived). The Taj was built allegedly by the Maharajah of Jaipur, Jai Singh, from whom Shah Jahan usurped it to house the tomb for the queen – which is apparently a fact that Shah Jahan himself has documented.

This has been explored in detail in Taj Mahal: The True Story
by Prof. P. N. Oak. In the book, he finds evidence that the Taj has existed long before Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. I admit I haven’t read this book, but I’d think it’s an interesting read. Try to get your hands on it.

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