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What is Tejo Mahalaya controversy?

BJP leader Vinay Katiyar claimed that the 17th century monument was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan after destroying a Hindu temple named Tejo Mahalaya

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: October 18, 2017 7:20 pm
world heritage day, world heritage day twitter, world heritage day pictures, world heritage day india, heritage monuments india, taj mahal, humayun's tomb, world heritage sites, unesco, fatehpur sikri, bhimbetka, ellora, ajanta, elephanta, lifestyle, art and culture, indian express, indian express news Taj Mahal in sunset light, Agra, India.

In a fresh controversy over the Taj Mahal, BJP leader Vinay Katiyar claimed that the 17th century monument was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan after destroying a Hindu temple. Katiyar claimed the Hindu temple which existed there earlier was called “Tejo Mahalaya” and it housed a Shivling. This was, however, not the first time a member of the BJP had made similar claims. In 2014, BJP leader Lakshmikant Bajpayee also said the “Tejo Mahalaya” existed before the Taj Mahal.

In April 2015, Agra District Court admitted a petition by six lawyers who claimed the Taj Mahal was a shiva temple. They wanted Hindu devotees to be allowed inside the premises to perform ‘darshan’ and ‘arti’. The Court asked the Centre, Culture Ministry, Home Secretary and Archaeological Survey of India to submit their replies in the case. The ASI had meanwhile challenged the district court’s authority to rule in the matter since the case of ownership of Taj Mahal was already in court since 2005. It also gave a written reply to the Agra court in August saying the monument, which is widely regarded as an architectural marvel, is a only a tomb and not a temple.

While replying to a question in Parliament in November 2015, then Union Minister of Culture Mahesh Sharma said the government has no evidence of the Taj Mahal being a Shiva temple.

The theories about Taj Mahal being a Shiva temple began doing rounds when historian P N Oak released his 1989 book Taj Mahal: The True Story. Oak claimed the monument was built in 1155 AD and not in the 17th century, as stated by the ASI, which is responsible for archaeological research, conservation and preservation of historical sites, monuments, artefacts etc. Oak propounded the structure was built centuries before the Mughals invaded India, and claimed the name Taj Mahal was an obscure corrupted form of a Sanskrit term “Tejo Mahalay”.

The theories have been widely discussed on internet forums for several years but most discussions centre their arguments around Oak’s theory. His theory says Taj Mahal was most likely built by Hindu ruler Jai Singh I, and the Taj Mahal was actually a Shiva Temple and Rajput royal palace named Tejo Mahalaya. It was captured by Shah Jahan and then turned into a tomb and as renamed Taj Mahal, he claimed. The Supreme Court quashed Oak’s petition in 2000 to declare Taj Mahal was built by a Hindu king.

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  1. S
    Shivendra
    Oct 27, 2017 at 10:18 am
    There are no such evidences that suggest that this was a shiva temple before the mausoleum was built, except some perfectly cooked up ‘facts’ that the saffron outfit has been doing for the last 4-5 decades to instill hatred among the two dominant communities. The simple fact is that almost every Mughal structure has some dominant, significant Hindu elements constructed and carved. And that is why we had the Indo-Islamic architecture that is unique to the Indian subcontinent only. The sad part is, that people like Katiyar always want to make a communal issue of this stating that the plaintiffs were shifted from a Shiva temple but the fact could be that they were merely constructed in the Hindu style by a Muslim emperor.
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      Bhardwaj
      Oct 19, 2017 at 1:33 am
      Well whatever, but point is why all of sudden - it becomes an intrusive issue!?? Ain't it distraction, diversion and disruption engineering, for the benefits of a particular party, persons and slaves of corporates? Since, enough blood has been siphoned from the commonmen - no traction to development lies - this new job ! But, whatever, we will play football with BJP. Later on, all pending issues. First remove the deceptionists and falsehood regime
      (2)(6)
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        Sivalinga
        Oct 18, 2017 at 8:58 pm
        B u l l s h i tt. all BJP ministers including feku went to same school and universities. The theories given by them are always Mindblowing ...
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          s.r.reddy
          Oct 18, 2017 at 11:17 pm
          what a wonder a muzzi is commenting in the name of Shiva Linga. since u uttered Hindu god's name u will not get 72 virgins on your death.
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            Bhardwaj
            Oct 19, 2017 at 1:36 am
            Reddy be ready with business only - politics and geopolitics it's our subject. Go open your shop, as Mudi converted Government a business and BJP a shop to sell sour mangoes.
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        2. S
          Sing is
          Oct 18, 2017 at 8:30 pm
          Modi was a Muslim. His original name was Mufti. That is why he invited Islamic Army on Rajnath.
          (8)(7)
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          Adda