An ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra where around 8 million people visit every year and at times there are over 50 thousand people visiting on a single day is non-other than one of the seven wonders of the world, The Taj Mahal. People all over the world famously identifies this beautiful piece of architecture as a sign of love. History tells us that it is so due to it being a tomb built by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, to house the tomb of his favorite wife, Mumtaz. We are all aware of these facts that have been taught to us since our school days.
As a turn of events, India’s government has been dragged into a bizarre row over whether the Taj Mahal, widely seen as a masterpiece of Muslim architecture, should be converted into a Hindu temple. A legal case, first brought by six lawyers in Agra in April, claims that the monument famously built by a seventeenth-century Mughal emperor as a tomb for his beloved wife was originally an ancient shrine to the Hindu god Shiva. The petition, which was accepted by the Agra Court, it calls for ownership of the monument to be transferred to Hindus.
Here are some evidence that suggests that the claims could actually be true and suggests it to be a site of Hindu origin being a Shiva Temple.
#1. Agra city, in which the Taj Mahal is located, is an ancient center of Shiva worship. Its orthodox residents have through ages continued the tradition of worshipping at five Shiva shrines before taking the last meal every night during the month of Shravan. However, during the last few centuries, the residents of Agra had to be content with worshipping at only four prominent Shiva temples, which are Balkeshwar, Prithvinath, Manakameshwar, and Rajarajeshwar. Sadly, they had lost track of the fifth Shiva deity which their forefathers worshipped. Apparently, the fifth was Agreshwar Mahadev Nagnatheshwar i.e., The Lord Great God of Agra, The Deity of the King of Cobras.
#2. The people who dominate the Agra region are Jats and their name for Shivaji is Tejaji. The Jat special issue of The Illustrated Weekly of India (June 28, 1971) mentions that the Jats have the Teja Mandirs i.e., Teja Temples. This is because Teja-Linga is among the several names of the Shiva Linga. From this, it is apparent that the Taj-Mahal is Tejo-Mahalaya, The Great Abode of Tej.
#3. The octagonal shape of the Taj Mahal has a special Hindu significance because Hindus alone have special names for the eight directions, and celestial guards assigned to them. The pinnacle points to the heaven while the foundation signifies to the netherworld. Hindu forts, cities, palaces, and temples generally have an octagonal layout or some octagonal features so that together with the pinnacle and the foundation they cover all the ten directions in which the king or God holds sway, according to Hindu belief. A central dome with octagonal cupolas at its four corners is a common feature of Hindu temples.
#4. The Taj Mahal has identical entrance arches on all four sides. This is a typical Hindu building style known as Chaturmukhi, i.e. four-faced. Chaturmukhi style is mainly seen in Jain temples in India and Hindu temples of Southeast Asia. Here, the size & scale of the central structure and its form/elevation is completely different from that of the Taj as can be seen in examples below. The four marble pillars at the plinth corners are of the Hindu style. They are used as lamp towers during the night and watch towers during the day. Such towers serve to demarcate the holy precincts. Hindu wedding altars and the altar set up for God Satyanarayan worship have pillars raised at the four corners. The Taj Mahal entrance faces south. Had the Taj been an Islamic building it should have faced the west.
#5. The famous Hindu treatise on architecture titled Vishwakarma Vastushastra mentions the ‘Tej-Linga’ amongst the Shivalingas i.e., the stone emblems of Lord Shiva, the Hindu deity. Such a Tej Linga was consecrated in the Taj Mahal, hence the term Taj Mahal alias Tejo Mahalaya. Also, Hindu temples are often built on river banks and sea beaches. The Taj is one such built on the bank of the Yamuna river an ideal location for a Shiva temple.
#6. A wooden piece from the riverside doorway of the Taj subjected to the carbon 14 test by an American Laboratory, has revealed that the door to be 300 years older than Shahjahan, since the doors of the Taj, broken open by Muslim invaders repeatedly from the 11th century onwards, had to b replaced from time to time. The Taj edifice is much more older. It belongs to 1155 A.D, i.e., almost 500 years anterior to Shahjahan.
#7. Description of the gardens around the Taj of Shahjahan’s time mentions Ketaki, Jai, Jui, Champa, Maulashree, Harshringar and Bel. All these are plants whose flowers or leaves are used in the worship of Hindu deities. Bel leaves are exclusively used in Lord Shiva’s worship. A graveyard is planted only with shady trees because the idea of using fruit and flower from plants in a cemetery is abhorrent to human conscience. The presence of Bel and other flower plants in the Taj garden is proof of its having been a Shiva temple before seizure by Shahjahan.
#8. The term Taj Mahal itself never occurs in any mogul court paper or chronicle even in Aurangzeb’s time. Since the term Taj Mahal does not occur in mogul courts it is absurd to search for any mogul explanation for it. Also, The Taj Mahal is scrawled over with 14 chapters of the Koran but nowhere is there even the slightest or the remotest allusion in that Islamic overwriting to Shahjahan’s authorship of the Taj. Had Shahjahan been the builder he would have said so in so many words before beginning to quote Koran.
#9. The cost of the Taj is nowhere recorded in Shahjahan’s court papers because Shahjahan could have never built the Taj Mahal. That is why wild estimates of the cost by gullible writers have ranged from 4 million to 91.7 million rupees.Twenty thousand laborers are supposed to have worked for 22 years during Shahjahan’s reign in building the Tajmahal. Had this been true, there should have been available in Shahjahan’s court papers design drawings, heaps of labor muster rolls, daily expenditure sheets, bills and receipts of material ordered, and commissioning orders. There is not even a scrap of paper of this kind.
#10. The second name, ‘Mahal’ is never Muslim because in none of the Muslim countries around the world from Afghanistan to Algeria is there a building known as ‘Mahal’. Moreover, if the Taj is believed to be a burial place, how can the term Mahal? Both its components namely, ‘Taj’ and’ Mahal’ are of Sanskrit origin.