In response to a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) filed by Dr Rajneesh Singh seeking the opening of 22 locked rooms of Taj Mahal, Allahabad High Court has rejected the plea and asked the petitioner not to make “mockery” of the PIL system.

The petitioner contended that the locked rooms contained idols of hindu gods and that Taj Mahal was initally a hindu Shiva temple. In his petition, he pleaded the Government to constitute a commitee to investigate on the facts and report it.

Taj Mahal is maintained by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). In a written statement in 2018, ASI had confirmed that there are no evidences to prove that Taj Mahal existed before Shahjahan era. The contention that there was a Shiva temple at the site was thus dismissed. In 2007, Taj was declared as one among the seven wonders of the world. The architectural brillance had no other contentor in the entire histroy of mankind. It is the most appreciated structure of Mughal architecture. Around 60 lakhs of visitors visit Taj in a year.

Taj Mahal A historical Outlook

Built by the famous Mughal Emperor Shahjahan for his most loved wife Arjumand Banu Begam, known as Mumtaz Mahal, on the left bank of the Yamuna in Agra, Taj Mahal was completed in the year 1643, some records date the completion to 1648. Mumtaz died in 1631. Shahjahan was the third son of Jahangir. Jahangir’s father Akbar the great, was very much fond of his grandson Shahjahan whom he named Khurram. Shahjahan was the greatest contributor to the Mughal architecture. Not only with Taj, most of his constructions were crafted with perfection even when compared with today’s standards.

The site at which Taj was built was the garden of Raja Jai Singh, and was duly exchanged for a suitable land. During the Mughals, there was no reference to the name Taj Mahal, but it was known as Mumtaz Mahal. The name Taj Mahal would have become popular after the Europeans started calling it. Marbles used for the construction was mined at Makrana in central Rajasthan and transported to Agra.

The gate of Taj is three-storeyed, and provides entrance to a massive archway. The central building , placed on a raised terrace, is surrounded by a beautiful garden, as it is an integral part of Mughal architecture. On one side of the tomb is the river and the other side has the garden. It is surrounded by the four minarets which occupy the corners of the podium. There are epigraphical evidences to prove that Ustad Ahmad Lahori was the chief architect of Taj. He created a blend of Persian style with the Indian. Afsal Khan was the chief calligraphist. The estimated cost of construction was about 50 lakhs of rupees that included the labour of nearly 20,000 workmen for a period of nearly 18 years.

The pool in the front reflects the building. On a moon lit night, the view is incredible. It is an icon of romance. It would been built with the heart of an Emperor whose pain was inscribed in its surroundings by nature. There are so many wonderful things to imagine, how it would have been in the 17th century India. How much of its beauty was taken away by the centuries that passed by?

Let those who scoff at overmuch enthusiasm look at the Taj and thenceforward be dumb.

Rudyard Kipling.
Nobel laurette for literature

As much as its beauty there has been a lot of controversy regarding the origin, construction and evolution of this magnifient masterpiece of human work. But little is established with evidence. Currently, Taj Mahal is a tomb and not a temple.

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