In the last part we had seen some of the facts which point towards Taj Mahal as a Hindu Temple for Shiva named Tejo Mahalaya. Today we are going to cast a glance at some other proofs to establish this fact:
17. In Shahjahan’s own court chronicles, Badshahnama there is a mention of a grand mansion with a capped dome which was taken from the Maharaja of Jaipur Jai Singh. This was to be used to build Mumtaz’s burial place. The building was known as Raja Mansingh’s Palace.
18. There is a plaque placed outside the Ta Mahal by the Archaeological Department which claims that this monument was built by Shahjahan for his wife Mumtaz Mahal over a span of 22 years from 1631-1653. The plaque has bungled with historical facts for three reasons. Firstly, there is no evidence sited for the claims. And secondly Shahjahan’s wife’s name was Mumtaz-ul-Zaman and not Mumtaz Mahal. Thirdly, 22 year construction has been taken from an unreliable French visitor named Tavernier putting aside all other Muslim versions.
19. The letter from Prince Aurangzeb to his father Emperor Shahjahan has been a part of at least three chronicles – Aadaab-e-Alamgiri, Yadgarnama, Muruqqa-i-Akbarabadi. In this letter Aurangzeb records that in 1652 AD several buildings around the burial place of Mumtaz were leaking and that the dome had developed a crack on the north side. He mentioned Mumtaz’s burial place as an ancient building. Further Aurangzeb carried out some quick fix repairs and put forward some extensive repair plans for this monument.
20. The ex-Maharaja of Jaipur has some legal documents from Shahjahan questioning the Taj Mahal building.
21. There are three Firmans (court orders) that were addressed by Shahjahan present at Rajasthan State archives in Bikaner. Shahjahan had asked for some marble stones and stone cutters in order to graft Koranic inscriptions on Taj Mahal. But Maharaja Jai Singh was enraged at the usurpation of his property by the Moghul Emperor and its further desecration. He refused to send any help.
22. These three Firmans were sent to Jai Singh two years after the death of Mumtaz. Had the Taj Mahal been built over a span of 22 years marble would be required on a permanent basis. But there are no other documents suggesting request for marbles.
Accounts of European Visitors
23. Tavernier who was a French jeweller recorded in his travel memoir that Shahjahan buried Mumtaz near Taz-i-Makan or the Taj building. He further adds that Europeans used to visit the place and admire its beauty. He also mentions that the cost of scaffolding was more than that of the other works. Indeed Shahjahan had usurped the property from Maharaja of Jaipur and added costly fixtures, uprooted Shiva idols, planted cenotaphs on two stories, engraved koranic inscriptions on the arches. It took about 22 years to desecrate the entire building.
24. Peter Mundy an English visitor mentioned in his records while visiting Delhi in 1632 that places of interest in and around Agra are Taj-e-Mahal, gardens and bazaars. He confirms that Taj Mahal existed before Shahjahan.
25. De Laet who was a Dutch official has mentioned about Mansingh’s palace, which is located a mile away from Agra Fort, to be an outstanding building in the Pre Shahjahan era.
26. Bernier who was a leading contemporary French visitor mentioned that Muslim’s were not permitted entry into the basement of this monument which contained a dazzling light. Indeed Taj Mahal carried silver doors, golden railing, gem studded lattice and strings of pearl hanging over the idol of Lord Shiva. All this wealth was grabbed by the Emperor and Mumtaz’s death served as the proper pretext.
27. An ancient Sanskrit also supports the conclusion that Taj was originally a Shiva Temple. The Bateshwar inscription which is preserved in Lucknow Museum refers to building of a temple with white crystals which lured Lord Shiva to leave his abode in Kailash and reside here. This inscription is dated 1155 AD and was removed from Taj Mahal’s gardens by orders of Shahjahan.
28. Shahjahan was far from building the Taj Mahal. He actually disfigured it. He not only removed Shiva idols and Sanskrit inscriptions but also a two huge stone elephants extending their trunks in welcome over the gateway. An Englishman visiting India in 1794 mentions of the Court of Elephants who had extended trunks welcoming all visitors.
29. There are about 14 chapters inscribed in Taj Mahal walls. But not once is there any mention of Shahjahan as the creator of Taj Mahal. Learning the character of Shahjahan he would have had his authorship established in many places.
30. Amanat Khan Shirazi also adheres to the view that Shahjahan disfigured the Taj Mahal. Close inscription of the Koranic inscription tells the onlookers that it was overwritten upon some ancient Sanskrit writings.
Carbon 14 Testing
31. One of the wooden pieces taken from the riverside doorway of Taj Mahal and sent for Carbon 14 testing to an American Laboratory revealed that the door is 300 years older than Shahjahan. Most of the doors had to be replaced from time to time due to Muslim invasions. The Taj edifice was built around 1155 AD which is about 500 years elder to Shahjahan.
Some more evidences still remain which will be discussed in the next edition.