The mystery of the 22 rooms of the Taj Mahal: Know when the dispute started, what claims did the petitioner make?

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Ayodhya, Kashi, Mathura and now the Taj Mahal of Agra are in discussion. Ayodhya’s BJP leader Dr. Rajneesh Singh has filed a petition in the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court. In his petition, Dr. Singh has demanded a survey by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to open those 22 rooms of the Taj Mahal, which have been closed for a long time. The petitioner says that the Taj Mahal is believed to contain sculptures and inscriptions of Hindu gods and goddesses. If the survey is done, then it will be known whether there are Hindu idols and inscriptions in the Taj Mahal or not?

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This is not the first time that a controversy has arisen regarding the Taj Mahal. Even before this, it has been claimed many times that the Taj Mahal was built by demolishing a temple. Let us tell you that since when did the controversy about the Taj Mahal start? When and when people raised questions about this and what are the claims made by the BJP leader who recently filed a petition in the High Court?

The rooms of the Taj Mahal were opened in 1934.


Taj Mahal
– Photo : Amar Ujala

Historian Prof. SP Verma says that 22 rooms have been built under the tomb in the Taj Mahal. The question has been raised time and again regarding these rooms. Verma says that it is not official, but it is true that the last time these rooms were opened was in the year 1934. Then to see if there is any damage to the Taj Mahal from inside.

When did the Taj controversy start?

Historian Prof. We asked the same question to Vijay Bahadur. He said, ‘This is sometime in the 60s and 70s. PN Oak, the historian of the time, started writing many articles one after the other. In this, different claims were made about the Taj Mahal. Later two books came about his Taj Mahal. One was named ‘True Story of Taj’ and the other was named ‘The Taj Mahal is Tejo Mahalaya – A Shiva Temple’. In this he claimed that the Taj Mahal was a Shiva temple, which was known as Tejo Mahalaya.

Oak had also claimed that if there is an investigation and excavation inside the Taj, then his words will turn out to be absolutely accurate. During that time, Oak had claimed many historical sites including Agra Red Fort, Kaaba, that these were buildings made by Hindus, which Muslim invaders occupied from time to time and also changed history.

What argument did Oak make and what principle did he adopt?

PN Oak wrote in ‘True Story of the Taj’, ‘It was a Shiva temple or Rajputana palace, which was captured by Shah Jahan and converted into a mausoleum.’ Oak claimed that Hindu embellishments and symbols were removed from the Taj Mahal and closed where they could not. According to Oak, the rooms in which those objects and the Shiva Linga of the original temple are hidden have been sealed. He has claimed in his book that Mumtaz Mahal was never buried in his grave. In support of his claim, Oak has given the results of carbon dating of the wooden doors of the Taj Mahal on the Yamuna river side.

Historian PN Oak
Historian PN Oak
– Photo : Amar Ujala
What other argument did Oak give?

  • The word Mahal is never used with the name of any Muslim building. Both ‘Taj’ and ‘Mahal’ are words of Sanskrit origin.
  • Why would a gravesite be named with Sanskrit words?
  • There is a tradition of taking off the shoes before climbing the marble stairs. This tradition is a tradition followed in Hindu temples. It is not mandatory to remove shoes in the tomb.
  • 108 kalashas are depicted in marble jaali and 108 kalashas are mounted on it. The number 108 is also considered sacred in Hindu temple tradition.
  • The Taj Mahal is a derivation of the word ‘Tejomahalaya’, which refers to the Shiva temple. Agraeshwar Mahadev was revered in the Tejomahalaya temple.
  • To the south of the Taj Mahal is an old cattle shed. There the domesticated cows of Tejomahalaya were tied up. It is incompatible to have a cowshed in a Muslim grave.
  • The western end of the Taj Mahal has many annexes made of red stones, which do not look right when looking at the cemetery.
  • The Taj complex has 400 to 500 rooms and walls. Why would there be so many residential sites on the gravesite?

When did the controversy escalate?

2015 : Harishankar Jain of Lucknow had filed a petition in the Civil Court of Agra to declare the Taj Mahal as Lord Shri Agreeshwar Mahadev Nagnatheshwar Virajman Tejo Mahalaya Temple. Its basis was attributed to the inscription of King Parmardidev found at Bateshwar. In 2017, the central government and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), while filing counterclaims, had denied the Taj Mahal to have any temple or Shivling or to treat it as Tejo Mahalaya. Later the district judge dismissed the petition. However, Jain again filed a petition for revision. The petition related to videography of the closed parts of the Taj Mahal is still pending with ADG V.

2017 : Vinay Katiyar, who was a Rajya Sabha MP when Yogi Adityanath became the Chief Minister in Uttar Pradesh, raised the issue of Taj Mahal. Vinay Katiyar was also ahead in the movement of Ayodhya Shri Ram Janmabhoomi. Declaring the ‘Taj Mahal’ as ‘Tejo Mahal’, Katiyar advised Yogi Adityanath that ‘he should visit the Taj Mahal and see the Hindu symbols in it for himself’.

2022 : Last month i.e. in March, Saint Jagadguru Paramhansacharya, associated with Ayodhya ascetic camp, had gone to Agra. During this, he had alleged that he was not allowed to enter the Taj Mahal because of wearing saffron clothes. Later Paramhansacharya also said that this Taj Mahal is Tejo Mahal. Its true history should be taught.

What are the claims made in the petition?

Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal
– Photo : Amar Ujala

BJP leader Dr. Rajneesh Singh, who filed a petition in the Allahabad High Court, says that all the travelers who came in 1600 AD have described the palace of Raja Mansingh in his travel memoirs. The Taj Mahal was built in 1653 and in 1951 a letter from Aurangzeb appeared in which he writes that Ammi’s tomb needed to be repaired.

It is said that this Tejomahal belonged to Raja Man Singh. An inscription related to this is in the City Palace Museum in Jaipur. It is mentioned in this that in exchange for the mansion of Raja Man Singh, Shah Jahan had given four havelis to Raja Jai ​​Singh. This decree is dated 16 December 1633. In this there is a mention of giving havelis of Raja Bhagwan Das, haveli of Raja Madho Singh, haveli of Rupsi Bairagi and Chand Singh son of Suraj Singh. Apart from this, it is mentioned in the decree of Shah Jahan that he had ordered marble from Jai Singh. Taking this letter as the basis, it is claimed that the amount of marble that Shah Jahan had ordered cannot be used to build the Taj Mahal.

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