A DAY after Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary said that Taj Mahal has been “rightly kept out” of UP government’s booklet on tourism, and that it should be replaced with Gorakhnath Peeth, the Cabinet minister on Tuesday said that there is no comparison between the Gorakhnath temple, which is a place of “spirituality” and Taj Mahal, which is a “mere place of beauty and tourism”.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is the chief priest of the Gorakhnath Peeth. Recently, a booklet released by the state tourism department had run into controversy for allegedly missing to highlight Taj Mahal as an important place of tourism in the state.
Speaking to The Indian Express, the minister for religious affairs and culture said his government has no intention to neglect Taj Mahal and is in fact planning several measures to enhance its beauty. At the same time, he added: “Taj Mahal cannot be compared with Gorakhnath Peeth.”
“People asked me questions, comparing Gorakhnath Peeth with Taj Mahal… I just tried to clarify that no such comparison should be made as Gorakhnath Peeth is a centre of adhyatma (spirituality) and religion, while Taj Mahal is merely a place of beauty and tourism,” Chaudhary said, a day after his statement went viral on social media.
“But this does not mean we are ignoring Taj Mahal. Instead, we are constantly working to preserve its beauty and to enhance it. But it can never be considered a place of religion or spirituality… that is what I wanted to clarify,” he added.
On Monday, while justifying why Gorakhnath Temple should replace Taj Mahal in the government’s tourism booklet on projects, Chaudhary had said: “Taj Mahal kisi dharma ka prateek nahi hai… Jo koi ata hai khubsurat imarat hai usko dekhne ke liye ata hai (Taj Mahal is not a symbol of any religion. Anyone who comes here comes to see the beautiful building).”
When told that Taj Mahal is one of the seven wonders of the world, Chaudhary had reportedly said that all those who had included Taj Mahal in the list must be of the same “mijaz (temperament)”. He had added that the UP government was “rashtravadi”, following “dharma niti”.