ISSN 2330-717X

India: Archaeologists Deny Claims Taj Mahal Is Hindu temple

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Government archaeologists have told a court in India that the Taj Mahal is a Muslim mausoleum built by a Mughal emperor to honor his dead wife — following claims that the World Heritage site was a Hindu temple.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which protects important national monuments, was told to give its view in response to a petition filed by six lawyers who said the monument in Agra was originally a temple called Tejo Mahalaya dedicated to the Hindu deity Shiva.

The lawyers also demanded that Hindus be allowed to worship in it. Only Muslims are permitted to offer prayers there.

“Our written statement called the claims concocted and we asked the court to dismiss the petition. It’s up to the judge to decide what happens,” Bhuvan Vikrama, the ASI’s superintending archaeologist in Agra, said when rejecting the Hindu claims.

Its not the first time claims that the Taj Mahal is a Hindu temple have surfaced.

Several claims have surfaced in recent years by lone Hindus or extremist groups since PN Oak, an Indian writer, published a book in 1989 called Taj Mahal: the True Story, in which he claimed the monument was built before Muslim invaders came to India.

Hari Shankar Jain, one of the lawyers who brought the case to the Agra court, said he was looking forward to winning the case and praying in the Taj Mahal.

He also denied Mumtaz Mahal, the empress, was buried inside.

“There is no body inside. It’s built on a Hindu temple so there is no question of anyone being buried in it,” he said.


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UCAN

UCAN

The Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News, UCAN) is the leading independent Catholic news source in Asia. A network of journalists and editors that spans East, South and Southeast Asia, UCA News has for four decades aimed to provide the most accurate and up-to-date news, feature, commentary and analysis, and multimedia content on social, political and religious developments that relate or are of interest to the Catholic Church in Asia.

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