The Taj Mahal was built by demolishing a Shiva temple, a legislator from Uttar Pradesh’s ruling BJP said here today as Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath visited the 17th-century monument. The Mughals first demolished the temple and then built the Taj Mahal, Agra North MLA Jagan Prasad Garg told reporters at the complex. “Several historians believe that there was a Shiva temple at the same place where the Taj Mahal is located. Mughals first demolished the Shiva temple and then built the Taj Mahal. It is a fact,” he said.
Garg, however, added that the BJP believes in the Taj Mahal and acknowledge its importance. “It is the world’s seventh wonder. The Taj Mahal is visited by millions every year and Agra is famous due to this monument,” he said. At the time, Adityanath was visiting the Taj Mahal along with several senior BJP leaders, including state Tourism Minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi. Adityanath’s visit, the first by a BJP chief minister of the state, is being seen by many as a damage control exercise after a series of controversies erupted, beginning with a UP tourism department booklet not mentioning the white marble monument in its list of development projects in the state.
Subsequently, BJP MLA Sangeet Som called Taj Mahal a “blot on Indian history” and BJP MP Vinay Katiyar said it was originally a Shiva temple. However, addressing a rally in Gorakhpur recently, Adityanath called Taj Mahal the “pride of India” and referred to it as a “world class monument”. Asked about the recent statements from BJP leaders, Garg said, “Even within a family, people have their own opinion and say things.” Historians and archaeologists have rubbished the theory that the Taj Mahal, built by Mughal emperor Shahjahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, was a temple.