Call to Convert Taj Mahal Into Hindu Temple

Published: 02nd December 2015 11:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd December 2015 11:57 AM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI: India's government has been dragged into a bizarre row over whether the Taj Mahal, widely seen as a masterpiece of Muslim architecture, should be converted into a Hindu temple.

A legal case, first brought by six lawyers in Agra in April, claims that the monument built by a 17th-century Mughal emperor as a tomb for his wife was originally an ancient shrine to the Hindu god Shiva.

The petition, which was accepted by the Agra Court, names a Hindu deity as its main plaintiff. It calls for ownership of the monument to be transferred to Hindus for worship and for Muslim

religious activity to be blocked and graves removed. Currently, only Muslims are allowed to worship at the site, offering Friday prayers at a mosque attached to the Taj Mahal.

Dr Mahesh Sharma, India's culture minister, said he was aware of the suit, but "the government has not found any evidence which can suggest that Taj Mahal was a Hindu temple of Shiva". But experts said this will not be enough to quash the suit. "What the culture minister has said will be the government's official stand on it, but the court has yet to decide," said Dr Bhuvan Vikrama, of the Archaeological Survey of India, which manages the site.

Theories over the Taj Mahal's heritage have abounded for decades. In his 1989 book Taj Mahal: The True Story, PN Oak claimed the monument was built in 1155, decades before the Muslim invasion of India. However, Oak is behind many discredited theories.

Today, such claims have been taken up by some members of the ruling BJP, the Hindu nationalist party. Lakshmikant Bajpayee, BJP president of Uttar Pradesh, said that the Taj Mahal was an ancient temple sold by Hindu king Jai Singh to Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor believed to have built it.

Brajraj Kshatriya Birbar Chamupati Singh Mahapatra, who died aged 94 on Monday was the final surviving ruler of the British Raj-era "princely states" of Orissa, and possibly the whole subcontinent. More than 500 princely states were once allowed to retain their hereditary rulers in return for accepting the British monarch. Mahapatra, who ruled Tigiria state, died in poverty.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp