Everybody likes a romantic and sensitive love story once in a while. Paris may be called the city of love, but in India, you give the Taj Mahal to your partners as an epitome of their love. Well the legendary story itself goes by king Shahjahan gifting his dearly loved wife Mumtaz Mahal the perfect architecture despite the fact that he had numerous wives. The Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders in the world, doesn’t fail to enchant us with its shining beauty every time we glance at its crystal white marbles. And the story behind the construction of the Taj, told since ages is itself alluring, isn’t it? Well, what if I introduce you to another aspect of Taj Mahal facts, a completely different story behind the Taj? Another aspect of the story doesn’t portray the Taj as some love symbol dedicated by Shahjahan to his beloved. But it says that the Taj Mahal was originally a Shiva temple called “TEJO MAHALAYA”. A book called ‘Taj Mahal: The True Story, written by the historian P. N. Oak goes in-depth into the whole controversy.
Oak claims in the book that the monument (originally the temple) was built in 1155 AD denying the record of the Archaeological Survey of India, which states that the monument was built in the 17th century. According to the book, the temple Tejo Mahalaya was built by Hindu ruler Jai Singh. Shahjahan captured the temple, finally turning it into a tomb, and renamed it as the Taj Mahal, a corrupted form of Tejo Mahalaya. Jain alleged that Tejo Mahalaya was built by Raja Paramardi Dev and later inherited by Hindu kings Raja Maan Singh and Raja Jai Singh. P. N. Oak also states that the Taj Mahal should be considered as a temple palace rather than a tomb. He also claims that Mumtaz Mahal isn’t buried in the Taj Mahal. All the Taj Mahal’s documents, he claims, are merely instruments used to conceal the structure’s true roots. He also petitioned the court for permission to crack open the cenotaphs and knock down brick walls in the basement chapel to prove his point. but the court rejected his claim since there was no solid evidence to prove his theory, which makes me think, wasn’t the government too secure about the true facts of Taj? were they really hiding something that may be a valuable part of history to humanity?
It’s fascinating isn’t it, if you still can’t believe it, here’s an article from ‘The Hindu’ newspaper,
“The Tejo Mahalaya was annexed by Shah Jahan in 1632, and after the death of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, it was turned into a memorial for her. Later, portions of the temple complex and its vicinity were changed to bring a semblance of Islamic architecture,”
Well, the two completely different stories revolving around the tomb give rise to the Taj Mahal controversy. Which facet of it should you trust? Let’s reveal the various hidden Taj Mahal facts that prove that the Taj was originally a Shiva temple, and you will have your answer.
One of the many Taj Mahal Facts says that the tomb was named after Mughal queen “Mumtaz Mahal”, the lady love of king Shahjahan. But on putting a little observation, you find that while “Mumtaz” ends with “z”, “Taj” ends with “j”. Moreover, the queen’s name was not actually Mumtaz Mahal but “Arjumand Banu Begum”, or “Mumtaz-ul-Zamani” (as mentioned in Badshahnama). Then why is it called ‘Taj’ with a ‘j’ instead of ‘z’?
Another absurd aspect of the name is the word “Mahal”; Mahal is a word of Sanskrit origin meaning ‘mansion’. Funny how a burial place can be called a “mansion”. History reveals more fascinating information about the mysteries of this architecture.
Traditions encompassing the Taj Mahal facts that raise questions
Just like other ancient architecture, the Taj Mahal also has some rules to be followed like, we need to remove shoes before entering the Taj.
But it is quite conflicting in itself because removing shoes is a tradition that we followed in the Hindu custom before entering into the temples. This hints towards the Taj Mahal’s unknown facts and suggests that a temple lies behind the name of the tomb! The act of taking off your shoes before ascending the marble platform extends back to the period before Shahjahan when the Taj was a Shiva Temple. Shoes would not have to be removed if the Taj was constructed as a tomb because shoes are needed in cemeteries.
Moreover, the tomb has Cobra figures or Nagas (snakes) inscribed on its parapet. Naga structures are usually related to the Shiva temples in Hindu traditions. Several people involved in the Taj’s repair and maintenance have seen the ancient holy Shiva Linga and other idols locked in thick walls and chambers beneath the marble basement in the underground, sealed red stone stories. The ‘Tej-Linga’ is listed among the Shivalingas, or stone emblems of Lord Shiva, the Hindu deity, in the popular Hindu treatise Vishwakarma Vastushastra. The Taj Mahal was consecrated with a Tej Linga, hence the name Taj Mahal alias Tejo Mahalaya.
Badshanama and letters of truth (what does the Tejo Mahalaya history say?)
The Badhshanama, Shahjahan’s court chronicle reveals that a great mansion was captured from Maharaja Jai Singh, the king of Jaipur, for the burial of his queen. The letters by Aurangzeb to this father (as mentioned in Aadaab-e-Alamgii and Yaadgaarnama) reveal that the monument was some seven-storied old building. So old that the dome had developed a crack which leaked and Aurangzeb repaired it at his own expense.
Moreover, the letter itself was written in 1652 A.D. whereas the popular Taj Mahal facts claim it to be completed in a period of 21 years from 1631 A.D to 1653 A.D. But the monument being so old in 1652 A.D. itself is quite contradicting.
OM, a sacred word that reveals the history
The inscriptions of Om are found on the walls of the sanctum. Om is a sacred sound chanted in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Hence it hints towards the existence of a temple.
now, this may come out as a shocker, the Taj Mahal’s name is thought to be derived from the temple’s name, Tejo Mahalaya. Many historians, however, claim it is a work of fiction rather than fact. But, as we’ll see in the next section of the paper, what pushed this hypothesis forward. Many people believe it is true that the Mughals looted and demolished many Hindu temples during their rule in India. It is thought that Shah Jahan acquired the land where the Taj Mahal now stands from the Rajput sovereign Mirza Jai Singh and that a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva called Tejo Mahalya stood here before the Taj Mahal.
Historians believe that a piece of evidence contributed to the perpetuation of this myth.
“Taj” and “Mahal”, both the words have Sanskrit origin, meaning splendor and mansion respectively. A Mughal Emperor giving the name of Sanskrit origin to his monument sounds contradicting.
And while researching the pages of history, we find that the word “Taj Mahal” is nowhere mentioned in the chronicles of Mughal court papers. Hence, it suggests that the Taj Mahal is a corrupted version of “Tejo Mahalaya”. if you find an Indian’s perspective not quite evident, then here’s another perspective, The Taj-e-Mahal was referred to by many European visitors during Shahjahan’s reign. It’s almost the right tradition, the age-old Sanskrit name Tej-o-Mahalaya, which means Shiva temple in Sanskrit. Shahjahan and Aurangzeb resist using the Sanskrit word and simply refer to it as a holy grave.
Not just the history papers, but scientific research also suggests that the building was built way before the Mughals invaded India. A carbon-14 test reveals that the door is 300 years older than Shahjahan. The building belongs to 1155 A.D., i.e. 500 years earlier to Shahjahan.
Bernier, a recent French traveller, has noted that non-Muslim’s were barred entry into the basement (at the time once Shahjahan requisitioned Mansingh’s palace) that contained a blinding light-weight. Obviously, he referred to the silver doors, gold railing, the gem-decorated lattice, and strings of pearl hanging over Shiva’s idol. Shahjahan commandeered the building to grab all the wealth, creating Mumtaz’s death as a convenient pretext.
Again, when you look at the Taj Mahal from the viewpoint of a tomb, you find absurdity in its architecture. There is an unnecessary pit in the basement of the tomb. The resemblance of it with a treasure pit needed in Shiva temples suggests the existence of Tejo Mahalaya. The presence of a lamp above Mumtaz’s cenotaph denotes the presence of a water pitcher from which water used to drip on the Shivalinga.
Also, there are protruding iron rings in the tomb resembling the ones used to hold earthen lamps in Shiva temples. The central dome with cupolas is similar to Hindu architecture.
Moreover, the octagonal shape of the Taj also resembles the Hindu style of architecture. Hindus have special names of eight directions.
The location of the tomb raises a question, (Was Taj Mahal Shiva Temple?)
Most of the Hindu temples are located near a sea or a riverbank, take Jagganath Puri for example. Hence the location of the Taj Mahal on the river banks of Yamuna deepens the suspicion of it being a Hindu temple originally. The four marble pillars at the footstall corners square measure of the Hindu vogue. they’re used as lamp towers throughout the night and watch towers throughout the day. Such towers serve to demarcate the holy precincts. Hindu wedding altars and also the altar found out for God Satyanarayan worship have pillars raised at the four corners.
Had the Taj been a tomb originally, it should have abided by the Muslim culture. Muslim culture strictly prohibits more than one tombstone at a place. Violating that, the Taj Mahal has two graves. In Hinduism, it is obligatory to lodge two shillings, one above the other. here’s another cultural differentiation of the Taj Mahal, A lotus cap adorns the Tajmahal’s dome. The Pakistan Embassy in Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, and the domes in Pakistan’s newly constructed capital Islamabad are examples of original Islamic domes with a bald roof. and as a matter of fact, On all four sides of the Tajmahal, the entrance arches are similar. Chaturmukhi, or four-faced, is a traditional Hindu architectural style.
Though there are claims regarding the cost estimates of the construction of the Taj Mahal that range from 4 million to 91.7 million rupees, there is absolutely no legitimate record.
Shahjahan defaced the Taj with black Koranic lettering and extensively desecrated it by removing its Sanskrit inscription, several idols, and two massive stone elephants extending their trunks in a welcoming arch over the gateway where tourists nowadays buy entry tickets. On page 191 of his book “Travels in India A Hundred Years Ago,” an Englishman named Thomas Twining writes, “I arrived at the high walls which enclose the Taj-e-Mahal and its circumjacent buildings in November 1794.” I ascended a short flight of steps to a lovely portal that served as the focal point of this side of the “COURT OF ELEPHANTS…” these facts were completely hidden until recently found by researchers.
What’s more interesting about the taj mahal controversy is that even An American laboratory conducted a carbon 14 test on a wooden piece from the Taj’s riverside doorway, which showed the door to be 300 years older than Shahjahan. Since the 11th century, when Muslim invaders regularly broke open the Taj’s gate, they had to be replaced on a regular basis. The Taj Mahal is a much older structure. It dates from 1155 A.D., about 500 years before Shahjahan.
Viswakarma Vastushahtra, a famous Hindu treatise on architecture, mentions the “Tej Linga” as one amongst the various Shiva Linga. A similar Tej Linga was present inside the “Tejo Mahalay” later corrupted as the Taj Mahal. A multistory octagonal well with a flight of stairs leading down to the water level is located between the so-called mosque and the drum building. In Hindu temple palaces, this is a typical treasury well. Treasure chests were housed in the lower apartments, and treasury officials worked in the upper chambers. The circular stairwell made it impossible for intruders to enter the treasury or to flee with it undetected or unnoticed. If the premises had to be surrendered to a besieging enemy, the treasure could be forced into the well, where it would be concealed from the conqueror and safe to recover if the place was retaken.
The traditions of Agra reflect that the people of that place used to worship at five Shiva shrines before taking their last meal of the day. The four shrines were, Balkeshwar, Prithivinath, Manakameshwar, and Rajrajeshwar. However, they lost the path of the fifth Shiva deity which their forefathers used to worship. The fifth one is claimed to be Agreshwar (the lord of Agra) who used to reside in the Tejo Mahalay.
If you have been to Agra, you must be knowing about the abundant presence of Jats there. Jats call shiva as Teja ji. A report of June 28, 1971, of the “Illustrated Weekly of India” mentions the Teja temples. This strengthens the existence of Tejo Mahalaya.
A Sanskrit inscription known as the Bateshwar inscription is currently preserved in the Lucknow museum. The inscription claims about the raising of a crystal white Shiva temple. It also claims that the lord got so much allured by the beauty of the temple that he decided never to return back to Kailash. What is more intriguing is that the inscription was found within a radius of about 36 miles from the Taj mahal.
Further, the inscription itself is dated 1155 A.D.,i.e. five years anterior to Shahjahan.
The Taj Mahal Controversy Shiva Temple proofs that states have preserved
The Rajasthan State archives at Bikaner preserve three firmans to Jaisingh addressed by Shahjahan. It contains pieces of evidence of Shahjahan ordering the king to supply marbles from makrana. Apparently, the king who already felt insulted because of the capture of the temple refused the firman. Also, the firman nowhere mentions the Taj Mahal or Mumtaz. And we wonder why?
In an inscription, Amanat Khan Shirazi mentioned the Shahjahan only disfigured the Taj.
What does the renowned architecture authority say?
There are also some reverent architecture authorities like, E.B Havells, Mrs. Kenoyer, and Sir W.W. Hunter who have affirmed that the Taj Mahal is built in the Hindu temple style. Havells evens agrees that the Hindu Chandi Seva Temple in Java resembles the Taj.
Was Shahjahan trying to hide something?
Silver doors and gold railings found inside the tomb are similar to those found in Hindu temples. Peter Mundy, an Englishman, claims to have seen a gem-studded gold railing around Mumtaz’s tomb.
Also, when you climb down in the basement that is believed to be the real grave of Mumtaz, you will find that the walls are finished with marble slabs of dissimilar sizes. Now that raises a question. Was it to seal off the ramps to hide a history? why even try to hide all this information? don’t the people of India deserve to know the truth behind the well-loved monument?
Similarity with Hinduism
There is even a multi-storied octagonal well in the Taj. Again, that is similar to the traditions followed in the construction of Hindu temples. It serves as a traditional treasury in the Hindu Temples. In the lower apartments there used to treasure chests whereas treasury personnel had their offices in the upper chamber. Further, the circular structure made it difficult for the thieves to reach the treasure.
Strange is the fact that there is no record of the death of Mumtaz. On the one hand, they claim that the construction of the Taj took twenty-one years. On the other hand, there is no mention of the death of the lady around which the story of the construction was weaved!
Imagine building such a gigantic structure of a monument that has no proper evidence of its date of construction, the person who designed it, nor the cost for the process of construction laid upon an unrealistic and unmentioned romance story? I mean, I know we are talking history here, but when we have facts that are straight, which facet of it should you trust? I guess you must have your answer by now. History needs to be read with an alert mind so that it does not delude you. So the next time you visit the monument, don’t just go there for a dead love story, go for the mysterious fascinations of the architecture, and for the amazement of the beauty of ancient construction.