Taj Mahal was not a temple : Archaeological Survey of India.

The Taj Mahal is one of the most beautiful monuments mankind has ever built. This beautiful mausoleum was built by the Mughal emperor Shahjahan in memory of his wife Mumtaj Mahal. It took more than 20 years and 20,000 artisans continuously working on it, to build the Taj Mahal.

Several controversial theories and stories have been woven around the Taj Mahal, few of them part of folklore and others floated as conspiracy theories. A 19th century western theory floated around for a while credited the  Taj Mahal’s architecture to an Italian architect and yet another such theory credited the same to a French jeweller. These theories have since been soundly discredited.

One of the most raging controversies surrounding the Taj Mahal in the recent years has been that of ‘Tejo Mahalay’.   In his 1989 book ‘Taj Mahal: The True Story’, revisionist historian PN Oak claimed the monument was built in 1155, a date that precedes Shahjahan’s era. He also reasoned that the name of the monument came from Sanskrit term “Tejo Mahalay”, signifying a Shiva Temple.

In 2015, the Indian government, answering to a question in the parliament, had maitained that no temple ever existed in the place of Taj mahal. Union culture ministry had given this statement then, as there was no evidence to suggest the existance of a temple dating before the Taj Mahal.

This week,  the Archaeological Survey of India, filed a written statement at a court stating that the Taj Mahal is a tomb and not a Shiva temple, Hindustan Times reported. The Archaeological Survey of India is the government body responsible for archaeological research and conservation of built heritage in the country. On the basis of available records, the ASI asserted that the is a mausoleum was constructed by seventeenth-century Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his queen. There is no evidence of anything as ‘Tejo Mahalay’ before the Taj Mahal at the same site.

“Historically and even according to records as available there is an ancient monument named as Taj Mahal alone at the bank of river Yamuna at Agra duly declared by the government to be of national importance having gained the worldwide recognition as the 7th wonder of the world. As per available records right from the British period since 1904, the monument Taj was declared a protected monument by notification on December 22, 1920, ASI stated in its affidavit