The most shocking revelation of the origin of Taj Mahal, one among the seven Wonders of the World, has been the theory of it actually being a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and not the mausoleum dedicated to Mumtaz Mahal, Shah Jahan’s queen. In popular historian Oak’s book titled ‘Taj Mahal: The True Story’, he claims that the Taj Mahal was either a Rajput palace or a Shiva Temple called ‘Tejo Mahalaya’ that was seized by Shah Jahan from a Rajput King and was transformed into a tomb later on. Oak supports this theory with a lot of illustrations and some pictures taken from the National Archives of India. He has even purported that a lot of tombs of the Muslim rulers have Hindu origin.
1. Designs in ‘accordance’ to Hindu religious symbols
The most striking evidence that he has provided is that many Hindu symbols and embellishments have been used to adorn the Taj and he also claims that the certain sealed area of the Taj actually houses the remains of the Shivalingam and is not the enclosure where Mumtaz was buried. The apex of the entrance arch on all the four sides of the Taj has red lotus and white trident adornment that is a Hindu symbol and is not commonplace in Muslim architecture. The Quranic lettering in the center of the arch, however, was done by Shah Jahan after seizing the Taj. The Quranic lettering in the Taj is on a marble of a pale white shade, whereas the rest of the structure is made out of rich yellow tinted marble which is the proof that the tampering was done by Shah Jahan.
2. Reminiscence of Rajput architectural pattern
The layout of the verandah of the Taj and the detailing on the gate resembles an elephant, which is typical Rajput architecture. Even the inverted pot architecture that is found on the structures equals to 11, which is typical of the Vedic system. The wall decorations present on the first floor of the Taj, are again typical of Hindu architecture. A major part of the structures have blocked doorways and windows that perhaps led to other rooms and this was an effort on part of Shah Jahan to conceal evidence of its Hindu origins. The cenotaphs of the graves of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal have an octagonal screen, which is surprising, as it might have been originally used for performing Hindu sacred activities. A lot of old maps of the plan of the Taj Mahal show that the structure was also primarily used for residential purposes.
3. Shiva Linga, Sanskrit Inscription and Hindu Scriptures
It is said that the Taj is a four-storey structure, but actually it has two more storeys made out of red stone, divided into 22 rooms. If the Taj was a mausoleum, then what was the need to have 22 rooms? It is said that the secret storey beneath the Taj still bears Hindu paint on its walls, along with Sanskrit inscriptions, the desecreated Shiva lingam and other Hindu scriptures. Shah Jahan had a harem of hundreds of wives and Mumtaz was one of them. The entire love story between the two was entirely concocted in order to provide some ground for the ravaging of the Hindu temple and giving it a purpose. Furthermore, there is a Hindu tradition that is followed when entering the Taj, visitors are supposed to remove their shoes, which is not a Muslim tradition when visiting a cemetery.
4. Resemblance with Naganatheswar Jyotirlinga
It is also being argued that the Tejo-mahalaya is actually Nagnatheswar one amongst the 12 Jyotirlingas in India and this can be proved by the cobra inlays on the structures of the Taj. Even Shahjahan’s very own historical document called the Badshahnama states that this grand mansion was usurped from Jaipur Maharaja, Jaisigh, for Mumtaz’s burial.
5. Streaks of Hindu architecture
Oak has given a lot of quotes from European Travelers’ accounts of their visits to India during that period. It confirms the distinct archaeological characteristics of Hindu architecture which bears a lot of resemblance with the Taj. Travelers who had visited Agra during the time after Mumtaz’s death, have not mentioned that the Taj was being constructed. During the year 1974, Prof. Marvin Mills from USA took a sample from the door of the Taj Mahal for carbon dating and discovered that it dates back hundreds of years before Shahjahan.
A ‘Hindu’ King built Taj Mahal
Oak rubbishes the voluminous documents of Shah Jahan that gives proof of the fact that the Taj was built by him, and says that it was all fabricated to make sure that the tomb was his entirely. Oak even went on to challenge the Indian Government to allow access to the cenotaphs and sealed areas to confirm his theory. He states that the Government’s inability to do so, has been out of respect for the dead as they plan to let this huge secret buried deep inside for diplomatic reasons. There are other people like Amar Nath Mishra, who had filed a case with the Government stating that the Taj was actually built by a Hindu King Parmar Dev, way back in 1196.