105. Taj Mahal - A Wonderful Mystery

An Indian Edifice remains even today as the Symbol of Romance. It stands magnificently as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It attracts millions of visitors and holds them with awe by its charm, beauty, grandeur and resplendence. That marble marvel is Taj Mahal. It was built by great Moghul emperor Shahjahan.

An Indian historian , by name P. N. Oak, had written a book called "Taj Mahal-The True Story". Facts mentioned therein are as under.

He claims that as the world believes, the Taj Mahal is not Queen Mumtaz Mahal's tomb, but an ancient Hindu temple of Lord Shiva (then known as Tejo Mahalaya), located in a Palace complex and worshipped by the Rajputs of Agra city.

In the course of his research, Oak discovered that the Shiva temple palace had been usurped by Shah Jahan from the then Maharaja of Jaipur, Jai Singh. It seems that Mughal emperor Shah Jahan then remodelled the palace into his wife's memorial.

To substantiate his claim, he gives more than 100 evidences in his book. Here we try to reproduce a few of them...

Shahjahan's own court-chronicle, the Badshahnama, admits (on page 403, Vol. I), that a grand mansion of unique splendour, capped with a dome (imaarat-e-alishan wa gumbaze) was taken from the Jaipur Maharaja Jaisingh for Mumtaz's burial, and that the building was then known as Raja Mansingh's palace.

Prince Aurangazeb's letter to his father, emperor Shahjahan, belies the Archeological Department's reliance on Tavernier. Aurangazeb's letter is recorded in at least three chronicles titled 'Aadaab-e-Alamgiri' 'Yaadgaarnama' and the 'Muraqqa-I-Akbarabadi' (edited by Said Ahmad, Agra, 1931, page 43, footnote 2). In that letter Aurangazed records in 1652 AD. Itself that several buildings in the fancied burial place of Mumtaz were all seven-storeyed and were so old that they were all leaking, while the dome had developed a crack on the northern side. Aurangazed, therefore, ordered immediate repairs to the buildings at his own expense while recommending to the emperor that more elaborate repairs be carried out later. This is proof that during Shahjahan's reign itself the Taj complex was old requiring immediate repairs.

The word Tasimacan is Taz-I-macan, i.e. Royal residence, which is synonymous with Taj Mahal. That is to say, the Hindu palace was known as Tasimacan alias Taj Mahal even before Mumtaz's burial, according to Tavernier.

French merchant Jean Baptiste Tavernier, who visited India during Shah Jahan's reign, has said in his book, Travels in India, the cost of the scaffolding exceeded that of the entire work done regarding the mausoleum. This proves that all Shah Jahan had to do was engrave Koranic texts on the walls of a Hindu palace; that is why the cost of the scaffolding was much more than the value of the entire work done.

"Mahal" is exclusively used in India. It is not of Arabic or Persian Origin. Therefore it is not of the Mughal period. It is of Sanskrit origin. One can easily identify "Mahal" as a contraction of the Sanskrit "Mahalaya" or "Maha-alaya" meaning "Grand Residence" and "Tejas" is also the Sanskrit term for "resplen dance" and "light". "Teja Mahalya" also means "Resplendent Shrine".

The people who dominate the Agra region are Jats. Their name for Shiva is Tejaji. The Jat special issue of the Illustrated Weekly of India (June 28, 1971) mentions that the Jats have Teja Mandirs i.e. Teja Temples. This is because Teja Linga is one among several names of Shiva Lingas. From this it is apparent that the Taj Mahal is Tejo Mahalaya, the Great Adobe of Tej.

Many rooms in the Taj Mahal have remained sealed since Shah Jahan's time, and are still inaccessible to the public. Oak asserts they contain a headless statue of Shiva and other objects commonly used for worship and rituals in Hindu temples.

Radiocarbon dating was performed on some door samples taken from the Taj mahal by Prof. Marvin Mills of the Pratt Institute Achaeological History Department, New York, who with Dr. Evan Williams of the Brooklyn College radiocarbon laboratory, thereby determined that the monument pre-dates Shah Jehan by at least three centuries.

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