Taj Mahal is Hindu Temple
Historical Proof That Taj Mahal is Hindu Temple
We are releasing 4 part series on Taj Mahal is Shiva Temple
False History Written on Love
Thanks a ton to one of the greatest historian P. N . Oak and other global historians, we all were able to prove the long dragged issue of Taj Mahal being Hindu temple, and Hindus being deprived of their heritage and monuments, due to anglicization and islamization of Indian history. The postings on Taj Mahal Shiva Temple are excerpts of his research and books.
Before believing in the “fabulous mausoleum” theory, two questions may be asked. Firstly, where are the historical records describing Shahjahan’s romantic attachment to Mumtaz – one of his 5,000 consorts, prior to her death ?
Secondly, how many palaces did Shahjahan build for his sweetheart Mumtaz while she was alive before he built one over her dead body ? Histories are silent on both these points. The answer to the first is that there are no accounts of the Shahjahan Mumtaz romance because there never was any. That so called romantic attachment was a graft to justify the mythical creation of the Taj Mahal as a wonder tomb. The answer to the second question is that Shahjahan did not build any palace for Mumtaz alive or dead.
There is not even single line or poetic reference showing that Shah Jahan loved Mumtaz in any of the Mughal emperors biographies.
We would like to record emphatically here that however much it may please Western sentiment, the notion that the Taj Mahal is a marble phantom of the love that Shahjahan bore for Mumtaz, is simply silly. It never happened in mediaeval India and probably never happens anywere else in the world. Every Moghul monarch The Need to Re-Examine Antecedents 39 had at least 5,000 consorts in his harem and many more at his command outside. He had hardly the time or the heart to idolize only one of his several thousand consorts.
Mughal history is filled with deceit, hatred, killing, loot and r@pe even among family members. Love was never part of the system.
Confession of Crime of Converting Taj Mahal Temple into tomb in Shah Jahan’s Own Badshahnama
Persian script may follow the line-by-line transcript in the Roman
script and later the line-by-line rendering in English.
A TRANSCRIPT OF THE PERSIAN PASSAGE IN ROMAN
CHARACTERS with English translation
1. Har do ra az ham juda mee sakht wa ba hamin zorhae’ beja
1. Both were separated from one another and with those unjust
atrocities fell ill
2. Pas az chande dar zindagi e pidar sipare shud, saabiqa chun
2. After some time during his father’s time (he) passed away.
Prior to this since Fatehkhan
3. Pisare Ambar ba wa seelae Yaminuddoulah Asif Khan arzah
dasht mehtawe bar
3. Son of Ambar through Yaminuddaulah Asafkhan had submitted
4. Dowlat khwahi wa hawa jooee firistadah maarooz dashta bood
4. Declaring his allegiance and loyalty and praying that this
5. Khidmatguzar ikhlas shiaar benizamra keh az kotah bini wa
5. Loyal servant full of sincerity requests that because the
shortsightedness and cruelty
6. Guzeenee bad sagaali wa mukhalifate awliya-e-dowlat-e-abad
meeaad mee namood
6. I’ll will and opposition of the royal officials came into play
7. Muqavyad sakhteh ummidwari-i marahmi-i badshahi ast, wa
dar jawabe aan farman
7. And putting me under rigorous imprisonment – and I hope
to receive Royal mercy and in validity of that death-inflicting
8. Qazah jiriyan (sic) izze sudoor yafteh bawad keh agar
guftar-e-oo farooghe rastee darad
8. Royal order…. has had the honour of being issued and if that
statement has any truth in it
9. Jahan ra az aalaaishe wajoode besawaad-e-oo pak gardaanad
chun Fateh Khan
9. Then this world should be relieved of the existence of such
a person since Fatehkhan
10. Baad az waroode hukme jahan-mutah burhane-be-nizam bad
farjam ra khufah namoodeh
10. After reciving the royal order — obeyed by the world – be
advanced arguments and excuses for his bad administration
11. Shoharat daad keh ba ajale tabeeyee dar guzasht, wa Hussein
nam pisare Darsalae
11. And publicised it to appear as a natural death and Hussain
named son of Darsaleh was…
12. Oora janashin-e-aan badaayeen gurdaa need. Wa arzh dashtee
12. Made successor illegally and a petition far from the
13. Haqiqat-e-ein waqueh ba dast-e-Muhammad Ibrahim keh az
nowkarane moatamade oo
13. Reality of this event (was) sent through Mohammad Ibrahim
— one of his trusted employees
14. Bood, ba dargahe salateen panah firistad misalelazimul imtisal
sabir shud keh
14. And the court of the Protector of Kings – issued an order
which had to be strictly complied with
15. lqbale ra ke ba daroone hisare Dowlatabaad burdeh az
quillat-e-aazooqah (supplies) zaayai khwahand
15. That the confessor be taken inside Daulatabad fort and starved
16. Shud aan ra ba nafais jawahar wa murasseh alat-e-be-nizam
16. And he with all the splendour and glory and fanfare accompanied
by his son
17. Kalane Khood ba rasme peshkash usaal numayad ta
multimassate oo, izze qubul yabad
17. Eldest (son) as per tradition be given a send off, so that
his requests were accepted
18. Wa ba nanshoore nawazish kahpoh murassah wa da yake Iraqui
18. And equipped with the gracious charter (order) and with two
horses – one Iraqui with golden saddle
19. Deeagare Turkee rah waar ba zin-e-mutalaa’ mashoobe
Shukrullah Arab wa Fateh Khan
19. The other – Turkish with an ornamental golden saddle through
Shukurullah Arab and Fatehkhan
20. Ba Dow latabaad farishtadand. Oodajiram ba benam-e-chihal
hazar roopiah sarfaraz gardeedeh
20. Were sent to Daulatabad – and Udajahan was honoured with
a reward of 40,000 rupees —
21. Rooze-juma’ hafdahum Jamadn awal naashe muqaddase
21. Friday – 15th Jamadi-ul-awwal the sacred dead body of the
traveller to the kingdom of heaven, Her
22. Taqaddus hazarat mehd alia Mumtazuzzamaneera keh ba
tareeqae a amaanat mudafoon
Holiness, hazrat Mumtazul Zamani – who was buried
temporarily, was sent —
23. Bood masahoobe Badshehzadae namadaar Muhammad Shah
Shuja Bahadur a Wazir Khan.
23. Accompanied by prince Mohammad Shah Shuja Bahadur, Wazir Khan-
24. Wa Sati (sic) Unnisa Khanum keh ba mijaz shanasi wa
kaardaanee ba dariae aolaee pesh
24. And Satiun Nisa Khanam – who knew the temperament of
the (deceased) so intimately
25. Dastee we waqaalat elaan Maalike Jahan malikae Jahaaniyaan
raseeh bood, rawane-e
25. And was well versed in the job and represented the views
of the queen of queens etc.
26. Darul khalafae Akbarabad namoodand wahukm shud keh har
roz dar rah aash e bisiyar
26. Was brought to the capital Akbarabad (Agra) and an order
was issued that very day
27. Wa darahim wa dananeere be shumar ba fuqra wa nayazmadaan
bibihand, wa zamine dar
27. During the journey countless coins be distributed among the
fakirs and needy, The site
28. Nihayat rifaat wa nizaahat keh junoobrooe aan misr jaama’
28. covered with a majestic magnificent lush garden, to the south
of that great city and
29. Pesh az ein Manzil-e Rajah Mansigh bood wadaree waqt ba
29. Amidst which (garden) the building known as the palace
(Manzil) of Raja Mansingh, at present owned by Raja Jaisingh,
30. Nabirae talluq dasht bara-e-madfan e ann bashist muwaattan
30. Grandson (of Mansingh), was selected for the burial of the
Queen whose abode is in heaven
31. Agarcheh Raja Jaisingh husule ein dawlatra foze azeem danisht
31. Although Raja Jaisingh valued it greatly as his ancestral heritage
and property, yet. he would have been agreeable to part with
it gratis for the Emperor Shahjahan
32. Az rooe ahatiyaat keh dar jameeye shewan khususan umoore
diniyeh naguzir ast
32. (Still) out of sheer scrupulousness so essential in matters
of bereavement and religious sanctity (thinking it improper
to take his palace gratis)
33. Dar’ awaz aan aali manzil-e az khalisa e sharifah badoo marahmat
33. In exchange of that (aali Manzil) grand palace, he (Jaisingh)
was granted a piece of government land
34. Baad az rasidane naash ba aan shahar-e karamat bahar panz
dahun Jamadi Ussanieh
34. After the arrival of the dead body in that great city (Agra)
on 15th Jamadul Saniya.
35. Sale aayandeh paikare nooranee-e aan aamaanee jowhar ba khake
pak sipurdeh aamad
35. Next year that illustrious body of the heavenly Queen was
laid to rest
36. Wa mutasaddiyan-e darul khilafah ba hukme muallae ajaalatul
waqt turbat-e-falak martabate
36. The officials of the capital, according to the royal orders of
the day, under the sky-high lofty mausoleum
37. Aan jahan iffatra az nazar poshidand. wa Imaarate – e -aalee shaan
37. Hid (the body of) that pious lady from the eyes of the world,
and this Palace (Imarat-e-Aalishan) so majestic and (capped)
with a dome
38. Rafi bunyan keh ta rastakheez dar balandee yadgare himmate
38. So lofty that in its stature (it) is a memorial to the courage
39. Hazrate Sahib Qarah-e-saani bashed wa dar ustuwaree
39. (of) Sahib Qarani SANI – (the king) and in strength so mighty
40. Azayam banee tarah afgandand wa muhandisane doorbeen wa
40. In his resolution so firm – the foundation was laid and
geometricians with far sight and archietects of talent
41. Aafreen chihal lakh roopiah akharajate ein imaarat bar aawurd
41. Incurred an expenditure of Rs. 40 lakhs on this building
Collating the evidence inferring Badshahnama
Emperor Shahjahan’s wife Arjumand Banu died in Burhanpur somewhere between 1629 and 1632 A.D. Her body was buried in a garden there but is said to have been exhumed after about six months and transported to Agra. Even this single detail should have been enough to alert discerning and thoughtful people that Shahjahan must have come by a handy ready-made mausoleum. Why else would he disturb and remove a body well laid to rest and have it carried to Agra, 600 miles away! He wouldn’t want it to be transferred from one open grave to another without some purpose. Even a commoner’s body is not so trifled with, let alone that of a queen and believed to be a very ‘beloved’ one at that.
World history is filled with several incidents globally, when Mughal emperors engrossed in hatred and jealous feelings towards non-islamic structures, temples and monuments, dismantled them or renovated them with minor changes to build mosques, tombs and islamic buildings.
Moreover if Shahjahan had really commisioned the Taj Mahal he should have raised it at Burhanpur where Mumtaz was already buried. Such careful checking at every stage, so essential for accurate historical research has been lacking in the field of Indian history. The body of Mumtaz was removed (if at all) from Burhanpur only because Jaisingh’s palace had by that time been commandeered for her re-burial in Agra. The site chosen for her burial in Agra had immense verdant grounds CSubz Zamini – as the Badshahnama terms it). This shows that the place had also a lush planted royal garden around Mansingh’s palace. Inside those grounds was Mansingh’s mansion (manzil) which was then in the possession of his grandson Jaisingh – says the Badshahnama. It should be noted that Raja Mansingh’s mansion does not necessarily mean one built by him. It only means that during Jaisingh’s times it was known as Mansingh’s mansion because Mansingh was its last famous occupant. That was an ancient Hindu building that had ultimately devolved on Mansingh, and then on Jaisingh. Here it must also be remembered that the Taj Mahal did not necessarily devolve on Mansingh through the direct line of descent. Such mansions like any other piece of property changed hands by transfer, sale, gifting away, dowry, conquest or exchange. From time to time that ancient Hindu building passed into various hands and was at times under the occupation of the Muslim conquerors too as we shall explain hereafter.
On arrival in Agra, Mumtaz’s body was buried underneath the dome of Mansingh’s palatial mansion under royal command, says the Badshahnama. Earlier it tells us that though Jaisingh regarded the take-over of his highly valued ancestral palace for royal use, as a matter of great honour done to him, yet out of religious scruples it was considered fit to give him a piece of government land in exchange. It is not known whether that was a village or an open plot of land or rocky waste or a mere phantom name to adorn the record to make naked usurpation look respectable at least on paper. Actually such a piece of land does not seem to have been handed over to Jaisingh. Making confusion worse confounded historians have further assumed, baselessly, that Shahjahan too obtained an open plot of land in exchange. Even a sane person who is not a historian can ask Why should Shahjahan exchange one plot of land for another, when he was ruler himself? If he did why would he not mention the location of the plot given to Jaisingh, while location of Taj Mahal was mentioned which he obtained from Jai Singh ? What is worse is that historians cite some spurious or misinterpreted documents to say that Shahjahan exchanged a group of mansions to obtain an open plot of land from Jaisingh to raise the Taj Mahal. Would a stingy, haughty Shahjahan stoop to making such an inequitable barter? Moreover the Badshahnama clearly asserts that it was Jaisingh who was given land while Shahjahan got Mansingh’s garden palace in exchange. This is one more detail proving how the entire Shahjahan legend of the Taj Mahal is wholly fictitious from beginning to end. Obviously this exchange is a mere eyewash.
Who would bear with any equanimity a fabulous building being exchanged for an open piece of land ? Secondly, the exchange itself sounds a mere myth because the location and dimensions of the plot of land given to Jaisingh are not mentioned.
Thirdly, there was no love lost between Shahjahan, an overbearing Muslim fanatic potentate, and his nobles, especially when they were Hindus. It seems more probable that Jaisingh was just unceremoniously dispossessed of his ancestral palace.
For 350 long years humanity all over the world has been duped into believing that Shahjahan acquired a piece of open land from Jaisingh. This again should have induced some re-thinking at least amongst students of history. Why should Shahjahan, an emperor, need to beg an open plot of land from a subservient nobleman in Shahjahan’s own 5- generation-old capital? Did not Shahjahan possess vast lands himself? He robbed Jaisingh of a magnificent bejewelled palace which was considered fit to bury his queen in. The palace had a sky-high dome underneath which, the author of the Badshanama tells us, Mumtaz’s body was hidden (i.e. buried) from the eyes of the world by the officials of the realm at Shahjahan’s command. Such command again was unnecessary unless Mumtaz had to be buried in somebody else’s property. The use of the word ‘ ‘command” is thus significant. We shall show that 104 years earlier Emperor Babur also refers to this domed palace. This mention of the dome is of far-reaching importance to refute the false notion entrenched in Indian history and architectural and civil engineering textbooks that the dome is a Muslim form of architecture. The Badshahnama clearly tells us that the Hindu palace taken over for Mumtaz’s burial had a dome. Incidentally the edifice is also described as a “sky-high” mansion, though those adjectives have been also interlinked with Shahjahan’s courage and valour.
Since the Taj Mahal has been admitted to be a Hindu palace capped with a dome it should not be difficult to comprehend that the so-called mausoleums of Akbar at Sikandra and of Humayun and Safdarjang in Delhi, which have been often compared with the Taj Mahal are all 3 erstwhile Hindu palaces conquered and misused as Muslim tombs.
Later as done in renovation or revamp of existing structure to maintain most of its originality, emperor engaged geometricians and architects for the project. This does not in the least prove that he had a mausoleum constructed from the foundation upward.
Geometricians and architects were needed to plan the digging of the grave in the centre of the basement chamber and raise a cenotaph exactly over it in the centre of the octagonal throne-room (octagonal shapes are part of Vedic structuring and non-islamic designing) on the ground floor and in the basement of the commandeered Hindu palace. The architects and geometricians were also needed to guide the removal of some marble stones, have Koranic extracts engraved on them in lettering of various sizes, depending on the height at which they were to be refixed, and to put them in position. The words “foundation was laid” in line 40 are also self-explanatory.
Shah Jahan was S*x Maniac and Inc*st Father
It is well known that Shah Jahan used to have regular s*x with his eldest daughter Jahan Ara. To defend himself, Shah Jahan used to say that, it was the privilege of a planter to taste the fruit of the tree he had planted. While commenting on this matter, Francois Bernier wrote, “Begum Sahiba, the elder daughter of Shah Jahan, was very handsome and of lively parts, and passionately beloved by her father. Public talk has it that his attachment reached a point which it is difficult to believe, the justification of which rests on the decision of Mullahs or the doctors of Islamic law. According to them, it would have been unique to deny the king the privilege of gathering fruits from the tree he had himself planted.” According to Peter Mundy, another European traveler, Shah Jahan had illicit s*xual relation with his younger daughter Chamni Brgum.
According to memoirs of Jahan Ara daughter of Shah Jahan“Jahan Ara always hated her father, she saw Prophet Mohammed in her dreams and thought she could choose the religious path. But at her younger age, she became s*x object of his father, Shah Jahan, The most painful period of her troubled life begins when soon enough her aged father, Emperor Shah Jahan forces her into a s*xual relationship with him, for in his young daughter he finds the image of his dead wife, Mumtaz. In sheer pity and love, she does submit to this ugly assault on her dignity. Shah Jahan r@ped her for several years before r@ping another daughterChamni Brgum“
Inferring “Laying Foundation” They bear two meanings.
Firstly, since a corpse is always interred in a pit, filling up the ditch over the body is “laying the foundation of the grave.” Secondly, it has also a figurative meaning. By burying the body in an Hindu palace, Shahjahan in a way laid the foundation of a Muslim grave. Such figurative but meaningful use of the term “laying the foundation” is not at all uncommon. One could say for instance that by his conquests Napoleon laid the foundation of the French empire. Does this mean that Napoleon ordered some digging and brick, mortar and stone for the edifice of the French empire?
Similarly Shahjahan “laid the foundation” of his wife’s grave by ordering some building material because he had chosen to commandeer a ready fabulous palace. It should also be noted that many Muslim chroniclers use that fraudulent term “laid the foundation” to suggest falsely that Muslim rulers built large buildings. It is such logical and legal interpretations we would like to commend to all historians. Hitherto they have been used to gloss – over inconvenient words and phrases, ignore significant passages, make fantastic assumptions, hover in a world of unreality, twist the ordinary and natural meaning of words and phrases, shut their eyes altogether to logic and legal sifting of evidence and to put pathetic faith in forgeries and falsehoods. Such slipshod and unsatisfactory methods will have to be given up if Indian history has to be rid of its many mistaken concepts and shibboleths. About the sum of four million rupees (Rs. 40 lakh) that the Badshahnama tells us was expended on the building, the explanation is simple. At the outset we would like to apprise the reader of the weakness of Muslim chroniclers for exaggerating figures to boost the glory of their royal partons. Allowing for that margin of exaggeration we may assume that the actual expenditure estimated to be expended may well have been in the neighbourhood of three million rupees.
It must be noted that placing Mumtaz’s tomb in exotic Hindu temple was deceit ploy of Shah Jahan to place his own tomb in that location after his death, so that no questions are asked on his motives to use such beautiful place as a graveyard. It was to be shown that it was used for Mumtaz.
Thereafter we have to consider another factor. In the corruption rampant during Moghul times the estimates given to the sovereign for such projects included a large percentage of overhead, unauthorized profits of innumerable middlemen. Making due allowance for such inflated estimates we may assume that the actual expenses should have been in the nighbourhood of two million rupees. The two million rupees (or even four million for that matter) could be easily spent on digging and filling up a grave in the basement, raising a cenotaph in the ground floor central octagonal chamber, covering them with costly mosaic of stones to match and merge with the palace flooring, barricading the hundreds of rooms, ventilators, staircases, doorways, balconies and corridors in the seven-storied marble Tejomahalaya Hindu Temple Palace complex and engraving the Koran on the walls of the edifice. The engraving necessitated raising a huge scaffolding to the towering height of the seven-storied edifice around its massive girth and its many lofty gateways and arches. Such mosaic flooring and Koranic engraving necessitated the removal of the stone pitching of the Hindu palace at places and replacing it. New stones had also to be ordered to replace those which chipped off or broke in this tampering and tinkering. Hiring of highly paid artisans, ordering of stone from great distances and raising of a costly scaffolding accounts for the expenditure mentioned by the Badshahnama.
French Merchant Visitor Tavernier’s Assertion
Citing French merchant visitor Tavernier to-testify that the scaffolding cost much more than the entire work done. This would prove that the work done was the comparatively insignificant lettering at precarious heights on the arches of the Taj Mahal and sealing six stories. We wonder on what authority later writers have placed the cost of the so-called construction of the Taj Mahal at anywhere upto Rs. 90.17 million (Rs. 9 crores and 17 lakhs) when Shahjahan’s
own court-chronicler, Mulla Abdul Hamid, places it at only Rs. 40 lakhs (four million rupees). It is such untenable evidence, blindly admitted, by flouting rules of methodology, that has riddled Indian history with errors, of which perhaps the most monstrous concerns the origin of the Taj Mahal.
Tejo Mahalaya (Taj Mahal) was covered with two layers of protection. First Layer: The existing Tejo Mahalaya was scaffolded then Second Layer: The entire structure was covered with surrounding perimeter, covering everything of Tejo Mahalaya. The pictorial depiction is of First Layer.
Tavernier visited India during Emperor Shahjahan’s time. He has left us some notes on the Taj Mahal, which should be useful in arriving at the truth about the origin of that mansion.
Before examining his testimony let us first get introduced to him. The Maharashtreeya Jnyankosh tells us “Jean Baptiste Tavernier, a French jeweller, toured India for trade between 1641 and 1668 A. D. His travel account is mainly devoted to commerce. He used to sojourn at Surat and Agra (while in India). He visited all parts of India, including Bengal, Gujarat, Punjab, Madras, Karnatak, etc. He owned a vehicle. He had to spend Rs. 600/- for the cart and pair of bullocks. The bullocks used to cover 40 miles a day for two months at a stretch. Four days were enough for the journey from Surat to Agra or Golconda and the expense used to be between Rs. 40/- and Rs. 50/-. The roads were as good as Roman highways. European travellers felt inconvenienced in Hindu territories for want of meat which was freely available in Muslim dominions. A good postal system was in vogue. Both the town-folk and the government used to provide
protection against highway robbery’… is the kind of information Tavernier has recorded (in his book titled Travels in India). Not being learned, he has not recorded much except where wealth and commerce was concerned.”
In the above passage which tells us who Tavernier was, there are three points significant for our discussion. One is that Tavernier was in India sometime between 1641 and 1668 A. D. In this connection may be remembered that Mumtaz had died sometime between 1629 and 1632. Tavernier arrived in India nearly 11 years after Mumtaz’s demise. We shall quote Muslim chronicles to show that the mythical building of the Taj Mahal commenced within a few months of her death. As against that we are going to quote later that according to Tavernier the work commenced and ended during his stay in India. That is to say, according to Tavernier no work was undertaken concerning Mumtaz’s tomb at least for 11 years after her death, since Tavernier arrived in India only sometime in 1641. According to some Muslim accounts which we shall quote hereafter, the Taj Mahal was complete starting from the foundations, by 1643. Readers may note this glaring inconsistency between the Muslim and Tavernier’s versions. Some of the former say that the Taj Mahal was complete by 1643 while Tavernier tells us that the work concerning the mausoleum was not even begun by at least 1641.
The other point to be noted in the above quoted extract is that since Tavernier was not a scholar, his attention was concentrated primarily on wealth and commerce. The third point is that though Tavernier was in India
intermittently until 1668, Shahjahan had been deposed and incarcerated by his son Emperor Aurangzeb in 1658. That is to say, if we go by Tavernier’s testimony, the work concerning Mumtaz’s mausoleum commenced some time after 1641 and should have ended much before 1658 when Shahjahan become a helpless prisoner of his own son. But we shall show that Tavernier also notes that the work took 22 years to complete. That means that even if the work began in 1641 it ended only in 1663. This was impossible since Shahjahan was no longer on the throne after 1658. Such glaring anomalies in the traditional Taj Mahal legend have never before attracted anybody’s attention. That proves that no real research has been done regarding the origin of the Taj Mahal. A long line of scholars has remained content with merely quoting the several inconsistent versions without ever trying to sort them out or reconcile them.
Image below depicts (encircled) tri-petal Vedic design, a definite symbol in every Hindu temple. Also (arrowed) non-congruent broken layers reintroduced un-aesthetically to insert koranic scripts.
There are tons of proofs where Vedic symbols and designs (OM ॐ ) are distorted to fit islamic scripts.
We shall now quote the Encyclopaedia Britannica for a more thorough acquaintance with Tavernier.
“Tavernier, Jean Baptiste (1605-1689), French traveller and pioneer of trade with India, was born in 1605 at Paris where his father Gabriel and uncle Melchines, Protestants from Antwerp, pursued the profession of geographers and engravers… His farthest point in this first journey was Isfahan. He returned by Baghdad, Aleppo to Alexandria, Malta and Italy, and was again in Paris in 1633. In Sept. 1638 he began a second journey (1638-43) by Aleppo to Persia and thence to India as far as Agra and Golconda. His visit to the court of the Great Mogul and to the diamond mines was connected with the plans realised more fully in his later voyages in which Tavernier traded in costly jewels and other precious wares, among the greatest princes of the East. The second journey was followed by four others. In his third (1643-49), he went as far as Java and returned by the Cape : in his last three voyages (1651 -55, 1657-62, 1664-68) he did not proceed beyond India. In 1669 he received letters of nobility and in 1670 purchased the barony of Aubonne near Geneva.
“The closing years of Tavernier’s life are obscure. He left Paris for Switzerland in 1687. In 1689 he passed through Copenhagen, on his way to Persia through Moscow and in that year he died at Moscow.”
Hereafter we shall analyze Tavernier’s noting about the Taj Mahal, to show how, if properly understood and interpreted it confirms our conclusion that Shahjahan did not build the Taj Mahal but only commandeered an earlier Hindu mansion to bury his wife Mamtaz in.
Even so, we would like to point out here that the undue emphasis that historians have tended to put on Tavernier’ testimony is unjustifiable. In this context we would like to alert historians about the sagacious provisions of the Law of Evidence. One glaring fault of historical researchers has been that they have either been utterly ignorant or have shown complete disregard of the rules of logic and judicial evaluation of evidence. The Law of Evidence is itself
based on sound logic. If a person were to approach a court of law for a declaration that Shahjahan built the Taj Mahal, on the basis of Tavernier’s testimony both the plaintiff and his plaint will be thrown out of the court.
The court will justifiably ask that if the then Government of India represented by Shahjahan does not have even a shred of paper (such as design-drawings or account sheets or an inscription) to prove his authorship of the Taj, the plaintiff has no right to claim any title to the Taj on the basis of some vague noting by a third person like Tavernier from a distant country like France who chanced to visit India during Shahjahan’s reign. Tavernier’s testimony will therefore be regarded as third-rate evidence by a court of law while historians have tended to regard it as first rate. This is an illustration of the much leeway that historians have to make before claiming to be competent researchers.
Conch is symbolic representation of virtue and morality in Hinduism. Conch is used to announce war against evil. In Ramayan, King Bharat, second son of King Dashrath is the avatar of the Panchajanya, Conch held by Lord Vishnu himself.
Even so we shall show how Tavernier’s noting itself effectively pricks the bubble of the Shahjahan legend. This is but natural since all seemingly divergent details must inevitably fit in with the Truth.
This is what Tavernier has recorded : ‘ ‘Of all the tombs which one sees at Agra that of the wife of Shahjahan is the most splendid. He purposely made it near the Tasimacan where all foreigners come, so that the whole world should see and admire.
The Tasimacan is a large bazar consisting of six large courts, all surrounded with porticos under which there are chambers for the use of merchants and an enormous quantity of cotton is sold there…I witnessed the commencement and accomplishment of this great work on which they expended 22 years during which twenty thousand men worked incessantly.
This is sufficient to enable one to realise that the cost of it has been enormous. It is said that the scaffolding alone cost more than the entire work, because, from want of wood, they had all to be made of brick as well as the supports of the arches.
This has entailed much labour and heavy expenditure…Shahjahan began to build his own tomb on the other side of the river but the war which he had with his sons interrupted his plan.”
We must examine the above passage very critically. While examining it we must also bear in mind that the Maharashtreeya Jnyankosh quoted earlier has said that Tavernier not being a scholar was only attracted by wealth and commerce.
As pointed out earlier, Mumtaz having died between 1629 and 1632, her body was first buried in Burhanpur in an open
garden. After about six months (so they say) it was taken to Agra. That means Mumtaz’s body was in Agra at the latest before the close of 1632 A.D. Now if we have to believe Tavernier that he saw the commencement of the work (after his arrival in India in 1641) the body of Mumtaz must have been lying in the open exposed to sun and rain for nearly a decade. Here we are also confronted with another difficulty, namely the inconsistency between his account and Muslim ones. According to Muslim accounts, the earliest date by which the Taj Mahal was complete was 1643.
We want to tell the reader that here we shall not ignore even a single report or detail about the Taj Mahal story, no matter whether it is a concoction or a reliable piece. Unlike the historians before us, we shall not brush away the inconsistencies in the several accounts. In fact we welcome them to show how even falsehoods and concoctions can be logically explained and reconciled with the truth.
Muslim accounts could be right in maintaining that Mumtaz’s body was brought to Agra within a few months after her death. It could only have been brought if a tomb was ready and handy. It would not be brought from its repose in the grave at Burhanpur if Shahjahan had yet to dig the very foundation of the new tomb. If he was to build a new tomb, Mumtaz’s body would have been taken to Agra for consecration in the new tomb only after a period of 12 or 13 years, which we are told by some was the time taken to build the Taj Mahal.
Several Indian and foreign archaeologists after carbon dating materials found in Taj Mahal, declared that it predates Shah Jahan period, not by decades but hundreds of years.
That the tomb was ready in the shape of a commandeered Hindu palace we have already proved by quoting earlier Shahjahan’s own court chronicler Mulla Abdul Hamid. The period of six months that had to elapse before Mumtaz’s body was taken to Agra from Burhanpur is explained by the time taken in scheming to confiscate the Jaipur ruler’s palace in Agra under the pretext of Mumtaz’s urgent re-burial in it. Since Raja Jaisingh was a vassal of the Moghuls he was brow-beaten into surrendering Taj Mahal for Moghul misuse.
On arrival in Agra, as Shahjahan’s court chronicler tells us, Mumtaz’s body was buried under the lofty dome of Mansingh’s palace then in the possession of his grandson Jaisingh. According to that account no time was lost between the arrival of the body in Agra and its burial under the lofty Hindu domed palace. Apparently, therefore, Muslim accounts of the building of the Taj Mahal are all concoctions. We shall prove them to be so by analysing them in detail.
Having buried Mumtaz’s exhumed body in the Hindu palace at Agra, Shahjahan was not in any hurry to make further changes.
The workmen whose names occur in Muslim accounts are of those who dug the grave in the basement, erected a cenotaph on the ground floor, etched Koranic extracts on the walls of the Taj Mahal and on its arches and sealed six stories. To this extent the names of designers and workmen found in the various accounts may be genuine.
As for Tavernier’s statement that he saw the ‘ ‘commencement and accomplishment of this great work” he clearly implied that the work was nothing more than framing the whole of the lofty palace inside and out in intricate scaffolding inscribing Koranic extracts on the walls, and then dismantling the scaffolding. This is clear from his very illuminating statement that “the cost of the scaffolding itself was more than that of the entire work.”
Had Shahjahan constructed the Taj Mahal as we see it today it would be absurd for any visitor like Tavernier to say that the cost of the scaffolding was more than that of the entire work. The cost of the scaffolding far from exceeding that of the building for which it is erected, is in fact infinitesimal. Contrarily, Tavernier says that the scaffolding proved costlier. That is emphatic proof that the “entire work” consisted of nothing but the comparatively insignificant engraving of the Koran, digging burial pits and erecting a grave and a cenotaph. We thus see how all inconsistencies and even concoctions can be explained away with the help of the truth. As for Muslim accounts being concoctions, we have a long line
of eminent historians like the late Sir H. M. Elliot, Dr. Tessitori and Dr. S. N. Sen to tell us that those accounts must not be
If Shahjahan ‘ ‘purposely made the tomb near the bazar called Tasimacan where all foreigners come, so that the whole world should see and admire it, ” the question that arises is whether a reportedly inconsolably grief-stricken Shahjahan would find a sheltered, quiet spot for his wife’s tomb, if he really built one, or whether he would behave like a cheap itinerant entertainer? Was he in the show business to want to rig up a big show out of even his wife’s death and play to the gallery ? It is no wonder that even the insignificant engravings on a
commandeered Hindu palace should take 10, 12, 13, 17 or 22 years, as alleged in different accounts, because far from the prodigal Moghul that Shahjahan is made out to be, he was a very miserly, haughty,
overbearing monarch. Even otherwise no Muslim monarch could afford to spend fabulous amounts on the death of each one of his 5,000 harem-consorts and many hundreds of other relations.
In Hindu temples, OM ॐ shape is definitely used several times hidden in designs to emit positive aura as it is in sync with cosmic origin and supreme power
Moreover, the time taken in construction is immaterial because once Mumtaz’s body was safely ensconced under the dome of the lofty and majestic Hindu palace, what did it matter whether the engravings took anything from 13 to 22 years? Even the very uncertainty of the periods mentioned in the numerous versions is in itself plausible evidence because we know from experience that when a usurped building is to be altered to one’s satisfaction such alterations could be spasmodically incorporated, over a protracted period, in the building, according to the changing mood of the new occupant. In this sense we say that all the periods, from 10 to 22 years, mentioned by the different chroniclers may be taken to be true. Reconciling these versions we may say that the tomb mound and the cenotaph mosaic of Mumtaz took 10 years (because that is the shortest period mentioned by any writer). The Koranic engravings dragged on for 22 years. Camouflaging Hindu buildings with Muslim lettering was not Shahjahan’s innovation. It had a hoary tradition. The Adhai-Din-Ka-Zopda at Ajmer, which was a part of Vigraharaj Vishaideo’s palace, bears Islamic lettering. The so-called Kutub Minar which is an ancient Hindu observatory tower has also been similarly claimed for Islam with the legerdemain of Islamic carvings on it. The so-called Humayun, Safdarjang and Akbar tombs, though earlier Rajput palaces, have met with the same fate. It is no wonder if Shahjahan carried forward this well -worn tradition of his forbears and with a masterstroke of imperial highhandedness robbed Jaisingh of his fabulous ancestral palace, which was Shahjahan’s maternal home. He had a twin objective in turning a gay Hindu palace into a weird Muslim tomb. One
was to further impoverish and humiliate a Hindu princely house, and the other, to appropriate the whole palace with its fabulous wealth like pearl pendants, gold pitcher and railings, silver doors and the famous Peacock Throne (which was in this palace) to his own treasury.
World history shows that such misers were Mughal Emperors that they would forcefully extract all precious cravings, wherever possible, from non-islamic structures robbing off gold plates, gem craved boundaries, expensive jewel etchings, terraces and replacing them with cheaper alternatives wherever possible, while adding Koranic verses and symbols. But in doing so they missed time and again, the complete overhauling of revocation of old Vedic symbols, which were also reflected in all Hindu structures, due to infighting and internal family disputes to reign thrones.
We would also like to draw the reader’s attention to Tavernier’s words, “Shahjahan purposely made the tomb near the Tasimacan (which had six large courts) where all foreigners come, so that the whole world should see and admire i t . ” The word Tasimacan is Taz-i-macan, i.e. royal residence, which is synonymous with Taj Mahal. That is to say, the Hindu palace was known as Tasimacan alias Taj Mahal even before Mumtaz’s burial, according to Tavernier. He also tells us that foreigners used to flock to see that magnificent palace and that Shahjahan’s object in burying Mumtaz there was precisely to cash in on the sculptural grandeur of that dreamland palace. Shahjahan is often misrepresented in Indian histories as a fabulously rich Moghul. This image of his derives from the belief that he built a number of costly buildings while he actually did not build even a single. Far from being a monarch possessing fabulous wealth Shahjahan could hardly command any resources worth the name because his near – 30 – year reign was marred by 48 military campaigns. Shahjahan’s relative poverty is fully borne out by Tavernier’s remark quoted above that from “want of wood” the scaffolding, including the support of arches, had all to be made of bricks.
The reader may well consider whether a monarch who cannot muster even the timber necessary for a scaffolding, in a country like India which had vast stretches under dense forest, can ever hope or dream of ordering a building as magnificent and majestic as the Taj Mahal ? Tavernier’s remark that Shahjahan had to use bricks even to support arches is of special significance. It means that the “arches” existed already. It may be noted that Koranic engravings on the
Taj Mahal are made around the arches. When the original stone slabs were removed by Shahjahan and were substituted by other slabs with the Muslim lettering, the arches so tampered with had to be supported with bricks. So this part of Tavernier’s observation also proves that the Taj Mahal with its arched entrances existed even before Mumtaz’s death.
When Tavernier says the Tasimacan (i.e. Taz-i-Macan) is a large bazar consisting of six large courts he is obviously describing the spacious red stone pavilions around, excluding the marble building, since it had already been appropriated for Mumtaz’s burial. In fact Tavernier’s account may appear confusing, because while the whole world designates the marble building as the “Taj Mahal”, Tavernier calls the peripheral red-stone buildings as “Taz-i-Macan.” The fact is that both the marble building and the surrounding red-stone shopping corridors constitute the
“Taz-i-Macan”, i.e. “crown property” belonging to Jaisingh. It was that entire property – the majestic magnificent marble palace with all its annexes – that was commandeered by Shahjahan. The red-stone corridors would have no locus standi there without the central marble building since they are mere adjuncts of a temple palace.
Using *Kalash is part of every religious ritual in Hinduism. The design of Kalash is very commonly used by Hindu architects while building Hindu temples.
*Kalash is basically a pot filled with water and topped with a coronet of mango leaves and a coconut. The auspicious Kalash is used by Hindus in religious functions very commonly even today.
Before we end this post, however, we want to caution the reader about the worth of Western scholars* or vistiors’ testimony. During British rule in India there was a strong tendency to place great store by the jottings of Western observers. That tendency persists even now though we are free. But Keene, himself an English scholar, has made some important observations, which provide a classic instance of confused minds.
Keene observes,’ ‘Tavernier commenced his first voyage in 1631 and after travelling from Constantinople to Ispahan in Persia, returned to France in 1633. He did not, therefore, see the commencement of the Taj but he
may have heard of it at Ispahan. His fourth voyage from 1651 to 1655 was to India, and it was then that he saw the completion of the Taj.”
Firstly let us tell Keene how Tavernier is right. Keene does not know that since the Taj Mahal was a Hindu mansion there
was nothing for Shahjahan to do except to dig a trench in its basement central chamber, if at all, and bury the corpse of Mumtaz there. Therefore Tavernier need not have been in India in 1630-31 to witness the “commencement”. What Tavernier means by saying that he saw the commencement and end of the building work, is, as already explained by us, that he saw Shahjahan’s labourers erect a scaffolding to inlay Koranic engravings at various heights of the Taj Mahal ?
This work could begin and end at any time, and if it began and ended while Tavernier was in India there is nothing surprising. Tavernier is therefore right.
But one interesting fact which emerges from Keene’s footnote in his book is that nobody seems to know for certain as to when Tavernier was in India and for how long? While we have quoted the Maharashtreeya Jnyankosh to imply that Tavernier lived in India intermittently from 1641 to 1668, Keene states that Tavernier could be in India only sometime between the years 1651-1655. On the other hand, Encyclopaedia Britannica states that Tavernier was in India several times intermittently. This indicates that Tavernier is not very reliable. All that he has stated is not the truth or the
whole truth. If he was in India for less than four years (between 1651-1655 including the months covered by the voyage to and fro) would it be right for him to say that “20,000 labourers worked incessantly for 22 years and that the work commenced and ended in my presence” ? This indicates that Tavernier too has bluffed the world of history regarding the Taj Mahal by recording Muslim bluffs which he only heard but passed on to posterity as first hand information.
Tavernier’s noting makes out four specific points, namely :
- 1. That Shahjahan purposely buried Mumtaz near a bazar know as Tasimacan (i.e. Taj Mahal).
- 2. That he could not get any timber for the scaffolding.
- 3. That the cost of the scaffolding was more than that of the entire work.
- 4. That 20,000 labourers worked incessantly for 22 years.
Of the above the first three points clearly imply that Shahjahan took over a ready Taj Mahal for Mumtaz’s burial. The fourth point on which traditional historians have banked does not make any sense when it is considered that a Tavernier staying in India only for four years (1651-1655) cannot assert that the work which began and ended in his presence lasted for 22 years.
But Tavernier’s apparently absurd statement makes sense if it is properly interpreted and understood. When he arrived in India in 1651 Mumtaz had already been buried in the Taj Mahal for 20 years. The work of raising a scaffolding around the Taj and engraving Koranic stanzas then commenced and ended while Tavernier was in India. If that took two years Tavernier’s observation that Mumtaz’s tomb was by that time 22 years old and the work (of the scaffolding and engraving) began and ended in his presence proves to be singularly correct. So even this fourth point of Tavernier’s testimony which was suspected to support Shahjahan’s authorship of the Taj, turns out to support our contention that Shahjahan only usurped the Taj Mahal.
Tavernier’s observation that because of the unavailability of timber Shahjahan had to erect a scaffolding of bricks all round the Taj, and that the work was completed after 22 years indicates that the whole of the marble Taj Mahal building which we see today was curtained off from public view for 22 long years by a wall of bricks used as scaffolding.
That is to say the Taj Mahal lay hidden from the world for one whole generation. It is but natural that after a lapse of 22 years when the brick – scaffolding was dismantled and the Taj Mahal came into view once again, the new generation started beliveing that it was Shahjahan who had commissioned it.
It was because of that brick shroud that we find gullible Western visitors like Peter Mundy and Tavernier making uninformed, confused and sketchy notings about Shahjahan being engaged in building a tomb for Mumtaz and his employing of all people mainly only calligraphers, and labourers to level the hillocks on the outskirts.
The skill of a historian researcher like that of a crime investigator lies in getting at the truth from such a jumbled mass of incongruous details. Fortunately in the case of the Taj Mahal various contemporary observers have left us very important clues which help us point out unerringly that the marble Taj Mahal was commandeered by Shahjahan and misused as a mausoleum.
Aurangzeb’s Own Letter on Excavation of Hindu Palace Tejo Mahalaya
In addition to the admission in the Badshahnama that the Taj Mahal is a commandeered Hindu mansion, and Tavernier’s noting that the Taj mansion was “purposely” chosen by Shahjahan for Mumtaz’s burial, we have two other pieces of important corroborative evidence. One is a letter written by Prince Aurangzeb himself to his own father emperor Shahjahan, and the other of facts discovered in recent investigations inside the Taj Mahal precincts. Universities, academicians and laymen who have been vociferously and adamantly asserting that Shahjahan built the Taj Mahal, are unaware that they are all hopelessly divided on the various details of the story. For instance Mumtaz, the heroine of the story is variously hazily believed to have died somewhere between 1629 and 1632 A. D. Likewise the construction of the Taj Mahal by Shahjahan (?) is equally hazily believed to have taken anywhere between 10 and 22 years.
During the British administration in India the tendency had been to place more reliance on the noting of a Westerner when records differed. Accordingly the British administration in India took it for granted that the mumbo jumbo of Tavernier’s mumble that the work concerning Mumtaz’s burial took 22 years deserved more credence to the exclusion of all Muslim accounts.
It apparently did not enter their brains that since Tavernier and Muslim versions all differed radically from one another with neither being able to cite any court document, they must all be false.
Therefore somehow the British accepted a hodgepodge version of the Taj Mahal, made up of spurious details culled at random from European and Muslim accounts. Such an hybrid concoction put up on a marble plaque outside the Taj Mahal’s garden gateway proclaims to the gullible lay visitors that the Taj Mahal was completed in 22 years.
That the Government of India’s archaeology department which has drafted the plaque on the advice of so-called expert historians should blunderingly mislead the whole world on the authorship of a world-class monument is highly deplorable. If then Mumtaz is taken to have died around 1631 as is commonly believed, the period of 22 years gives us 1653 A. D. as the year in which the Taj Mahal stood completed spick and span, massive and firm in all its grandeur and majesty. But as the ill-luck of the Archaeology department and the traditionalist historians would have it, we have on record a letter from Prince Aurangzeb, of a year earlier i.e. of 1652 A. D,, scotching that claim. That letter is recorded in at least three contemporary Persian chronicles titled Adaab-e-Alamgiri (p. 82 of the manuscript with the National Archives, New Delhi), Muraqqa-e-Akbarabadi, and Yaadgaarnama. In that Aurangzeb reports to Emperor Shahjahan that while proceeding from Delhi en route to the Deccan to assume charge as governor in 1652 A. D. Aurangzeb happened to visit his mother Mumtaz’s
burial place in Agra.
Paying due compliments and respects to his father Emperor Shahjahan, Aurangzeb states in his letter “I reached (Akbarabad, i.e. Agra) on Thursday, the 3rd of Moharam Mukram. On arrival I called on Badshahzada Jahanbani (i.e. the elder Prince Dara) in the garden of Jahanara. In that splendourous house surrounded by springtime verdure I enjoyed their company and inquired about everybody’s well-being. I stayed in the garden of Mahabat Khan.
“Next day it being a Friday. I went to pay my homage to the sacred grave which had been laid in Your Majesty’s presence. Those (i.e. cenotaph, grave etc.) are in good shape, strong and solid but the dome over the grave leaks at two or three places during the rainy – season on the northern side. Similarly several royal rooms on the second storey, and the four smaller cupolas and the four northern portions and the secret rooms and the tops of the seven storey ceilings and the jamposh of the bigger dome have all asborbed water through seepage and drip water during the current monsoon season at several places. All these I have got temporarily repaired. “But I wonder what will happen to the various domes, the mosque, the community hall, etc. during subsequent rainy seasons.
They all need more elaborate repairs. I feel that the second storey roof needs to be opened up and re-done with mortar, brick and stone. Repairs to the smaller and bigger domes would save these palatial buildings from decadence. It is hoped that Your Majesty will look into the matter and order necessary action.
“The Mehtab garden is innundated and looks desolate. Its scenic beauty will reappear only when the floods recede.
“That the rear portion of the building complex remains safe is a mystery. The stream keeping away from the rear wall has
“On Saturday too I visited the spot and then I called on the Prince (Dara) who also paid me a return visit. Then taking leave of all I resumed my journey (to take charge as governor of the Deccan) on Sunday and today the 8th instant I am in the vicinity of Dholpur…”
Thus from Aurangzeb’s noting it is apparent that in 1652 A.D. itself the Taj Mahal building complex had become so ancient that it needed elaborate repairs.
So what was carried out in 1652 A.D. was not the completion of a new building but the repairs to an old building complex. Had the Taj Mahal been a building completed in 1653 it would not have fallen to the lot of a chance, lone visitor like Aurangzeb to notice the defects and order repairs in 1652.
The defects should have been noticed by the thousands of workmen and hundreds of court supervisors who were supposed to be builidng the Taj Mahal.
And since such serious defects had been in fact noticed a year before completion all the tom-tomming of the “master-builders” of the Taj is utterly unjustified.
The builders of the Taj were no doubt master-craftsmen but they were not Shahjahan’s contemporaries but Hindus of several centuries earlier.
Similarly it was not Shahjahan who commissioned the Taj Mahal but some ancient Hindu king. Likewise the Taj did not come into being as an Islamic mausoleum but as a Hindu temple – palace. Another very significant point which emerges from Aurangzeb’s letter is that had the Taj really been completed in 1653 A. D. the principal workmen would have been hanged by the nearest tree in the Taj garden for having wasted millions of rupees of the Moghul treasury and insulted the memory of the deceased queen by raising a building complex which leaked and cracked even a year before its (fictitious) completion. Aurangzeb who is a byword for cruelty and tyranny, would have thundered anathema against those workers, in his letter to Emperor Shahjahan. Instead we hear him cooing like a dove and coolly mentioning that he was constrained to carry out some urgent repairs. At least this letter of Aurangzeb should help historians to correct their mistaken notions about the origin of the Taj Mahal.
Image below shows the photo of the timber door (encircled) before it was sealed up with bricks. In 1974 American Professor Marvin Mills took a sample from this door for Carbon dating and concluded that the Taj Mahal pre-dates Shahjahan. As seen since previous decades, whenever Indian government found any new facts and materials that suggests that Taj Mahal is indeed Hindu temple, they sabotage it and destroy the revealing proofs. After this revelation too, the Government of India removed the timber doors and the openings were bricked up, as shown in the photo below this one.
In his letter Aurangzeb refers to the garden of the Taj Mahal as Mahatab garden, i.e. a Moon Garden. From this we conclude that the original Sanskrit name of the garden surrounding the Taj Mahal alias Tejo-Maha-Alaya must have been Chandra Udyan. We derive this conclusion from our research observation that Muslim invaders used to translate contemporary Sanskrit terms into Persian after seizure of premises or persons. The concept of viewing the Taj in moonlight is, therefore, obviously of Hindu, pre-Shahjahan origin.
Another noteworthy point in Aurangzeb’s letter is that he confesses to a sense of mystery and wonder that while the garden seemed all flooded and the nearby Yamuna river was in high spate its stream yet flowed quite a respectable distance away from the rear wall of the Taj. We have also observed in our own day that even at the peak of the rainy-season when one sees nothing but a sheet of water everywhere the Yamuna still flows about 100 feet away from the Taj wall.
Had Aurangzeb’s father Shahjahan commissioned the Taj Mahal the secret of the Yamuna stream keeping away from the Taj wall shouldn’t have been a mystery to Aurangzeb because the court builders, if any, would have easily explained the secret to Aurangzeb.
But apparently Aurangzeb’s sense of wonderment was shared by the entire Moghul court. They must have all been puzzled about what made the Yamuna current confine itself to a specific, well regulated channel away from the rear wall of The Taj building-complex.
The secret lies in the foresight and technical skill of the ancient Hindu builders of the Taj Mahal alias Tejo-Maha-Alaya temple palace, who, well aware that they were undertaking masonry construction of massive proportions near a major river, sunk deep bastion-like wells on either side of the Yamuna bank to contain the stream even at peak flow levels and carry the water swiftly ahead. Moreover the Yamuna-current has been so channelized not only near the Taj but all along its course through Agra city because the Red Fort in Agra, the Taj and several other ancient Hindu royal mansions, now unfortunately masquerading as Muslim tombs in the name of Itimad Uddaulah, etc., all abut on the Yamuna.
In fact throughout India it has been a hoary practice with the Hindus to build forts, palaces, mansions and temples on seashores, lake-sides and river banks. The famous temple of Somnath on the Kutch seashore and the magnificent bathing ghats topped with massive temples and mansions along the Ganga in Varanasi are typical examples. Because of that penchant of the Hindus to erect buildings near streams of water Hindus had perfected the technique of preventing erosion and flooding. Muslims, besides being engrossed only in massacre and plunder were mostly uneducated and were
unused to building near expanses of water or by the side of swift currents because of their desert tradition. Contrarily the Hindus always created water reservoirs where there were none before starting major building projects. As illustrations we cite vast lakes constructed by the Hindus in Ajmer (e.g. the Annasagar) and Fatehpur Sikri.
In lieu to the image above; globally it is well known fact that Indian government openly supports islamic appeasement to garner muslim votes in elections, this is happening since the first congress govt was formed after Indian independence. Indian govt continuing with the same policy in 1970′s to 1980′s confiscated timber doors robbing off Indians with their true heritage, while destroying proofs that Taj Mahal is Hindu temple. The extreme conspiracies by Indian govt to hide facts from Indian public shocked several western historians and archaeologists.
The latter got drained away during Akbar’s time because Muslim occupiers of Fatehpur Sikri didn’ t have the knowhow even to maintain the bunds of that vast lake. The bursting and drying up of that lake made Akbar abandon Fatehpur Sikri after about 15 years’ stay in a captured Hindu Fatehpur Sikri. Readers who may be believing that it was Akbar who had founded Fatehpur Sikri may read the author P.N. Oak’s book “Fatehpur Sikri is a Hindu city”.
Aurangzeb also alludes to secret rooms and royal rooms in the Taj mahal. The other important piece of evidence arises from some chance digging conducted in the garden in front of the marble edifice early in the year 1973 A. D. It so happened that the fountains developed some defect. It was therefore thought advisable to inspect the main pipe that lay imbedded underneath. When the ground was dug to that level some hollows were noticed going down to another five feet. Therefore the ground was dug to that depth. And to the utter surprise of all there lay at that depth another set of fountains hitherto unknown. What appeared more significant was that those fountains are aligned to the Taj Mahal, decisively indicating that the present building existed even before Shahjahan.
Major Revelation in Recent Times That Taj Mahal is Hindu Building
Those hidden fountains could have been installed neither by Shahjahan nor his successors, the British. Therefore they were of the pre-Shajahan era.
Since they were aligned to the Taj Mahal building it followed ipso facto that the building too pre-dated Shahjahan.
This piece of evidence too therefore clinches the issue in favour of our conclusion that Shahjahan only commandeered an ancient Hindu temple-palace for Mumtaz’s burial.
The archaeology officer who supervised that digging was Mr. R. S. Verma, a conservation assistant. This same official made another chance discovery. Once while strolling staff-in-hand on the terrace near the so-called mosque and the circular well on the Western flank of the marble edifice, Mr. Verma detected a hollow sound coming from below the floor where his staff hit the terrace. He had a slab covering that spot removed and to his surprise that was an ancient opening, apparently sealed by Shahjahan, to a flight of about 50 steps reaching down into a dark corridor. The broad wall under the terrace was apparently hollow. From this it is clear that the corresponding spot on the eastern terrace also hides a similar staircase and corridor, at its bottom. And God only knows how many more such walls, apartments and stories lie sealed, hidden and unknown to the world. This also incidentally points to the sorry state of research with respect to the Taj Mahal. Nobody seems to have done either any archaeological investigation in the grounds of the Taj Mahal nor conducted a diligent academic study of the whole issue. Apparently extraneous political and communal considerations have inhibited historians and archaeologists from conducting any meaningful research into the origin of the Taj Mahal.
Such academic cowardice is highly reprehensible. Several leading authorities on architecture and history like E.
B. Havell have held that the Taj Mahal is absolutely Hindu in design. Our research has proved that the Taj Mahal is singularly Hindu in conception and execution and that it was built several centuries before the Moghul emperor Shahjahan by Hindus as a temple-palace complex. That Hindus alone possess the genius to conceive the Taj Mahal and the skill to build and maintain it in good repair was borne out by a comparatively recent incident. That episode was described in an article contributed by Mr. Gulabrao Jagdeesh in the widely circulated Marathi daily, the Lokasatta (published from Bombay) dated May 27, 1973.
According to the writer of that article, Mr. Jagdeesh, early in the year 1939 a British engineer entrusted with the supervision of the Taj Mahal noticed a crack in its dome. He tried to repair the crack but failed. He then brought the crack to the notice of his superiors but they too fared no better. As the days passed the crack appeared to grow wider and longer. A committee of engineers was appointed to heal the crack but the committee’s efforts too met with no success. Some Urgent action was necessary lest the crack widen and the dome crumble.
The incident reported below that no muslim mason or construction worker had knowledge to even repair the simple crack in the dome of Taj Mahal. If it was at all constructed by mughals then the knowledge would have been passed to next generations. Since this was not constructed by any Muslim architect they lacked this basic knowledge too.
Even the Crack was aptly repaired By Hindu Mason…Where were So called Muslim masons ?!
While the authorities were in a fix on how to repair crack in the dome, a rustic-looking Hindu approached them. His name was Puranchand. He told the superintending engineer that he possessed the knowhow to heal the crack and wished to be given a chance. Since so-called modern, bookish engineering expertise had failed, the British engineer reluctantly consented to let the rustic have a go. In doing so the engineer had his own reservations. He could have the last laugh,
Puranchand set to work with a group of masons to assist him. He prepared some kind of a lime concrete and personally filled it up in the crack. The mixture hardened and integrated itself with the dome-structure so well that within a few days there was not the slightest trace of the crack. This skill of an obscure Hindu mason which had scored over the classroom erudition of the British engineers became the talk of the British bureaucracy in India and reached the ears of the then Viceroy.
The Viceroy expressed surprise that an almost unlettered Hindu mason could beat all his engineers. This hurt the ego of the departmental authorities who had till then toyed with the idea of employing Puranchand as maintenance supervisor in the archaeological department. The Viceroy’s praise had made the engineers jealous of Puranchand. They were now determined to keep him out of the department. He was refused any employment. In September 1939 began World War II and the Taj Mahal and its maintenance-problems seemed to recede in the background.
In 1942 a Hindu leader, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, was appointed member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council and was put in charge of Labour. Puranchand saw a new hope in that appointment. In broken Hindi, Puranchand scribbled a letter to Dr. Ambedkar about his frustration. The letter made it clear that it was not so much the remuneration as the ambition and satisfaction of tenderly tending a stately national heritage and keeping it in fine trim for future generations which impelled Puranchand to ask for the privilege of employment in the upkeep of the Taj Mahal.
Dr. Ambedkar was moved by Puranchand’s earnestness. The former introduced Puranchand to the then Viceroy, Lord Linlithgow. While informing the Viceroy that he intended to employ Puranchand as an assistant engineer on the repair of historic buildings, Dr. Ambedkar also recommended him for some national honour. The Viceroy agreed and conferred on Puranchand the title ‘ ‘Raisaheb”. All this is on record, informed the writer of the article, Mr. Gulabrao Jagdeesh.
The most notable aspect of building Taj Mahal in any of the historical evidence is that no piling is mentioned, no massive foundation digging is mentioned, from the day one scaffolding covered the existing Tejo Mahalaya (Taj Mahal). The startling revelation is- Scaffolding cannot be used when there is no building, it’s constructed to renovate or revamp the existing structure. As explained earlier too, based on Traveir’s personal observation scaffolding’s cost was more than entire building work, Hindu building was covered with scaffolding to hide the islamization of the Tejo Mahalaya from the public at large.
Taj Mahal is Shiva Temple
Taj Mahal is Hindu Temple
Continuing from the part 1 on Taj Mahal is Shiva Temple, we are dwelling in to deeper historical proofs which further asserts that Taj Mahal is indeed Hindu temple.
EVEN though we have conclusively proved in the preceding part 1 by quoting Shahjahan’s own chronicler Abdul Ham id and a French visitor Tavernier that the Taj Mahal is a commandeered Hindu palace, yet in order to acquaint the reader with all the ramifications of this blind man’s buff that has been going on about the Taj Mahal for 350 years, we would like to discuss every aspect of it separately.
As part of such a discussion we intend giving the reader, in a few succeeding chapters, a sampling of the diverse and
inconsistent versions of the origin of the Taj Mahal. Let us first see what the Encyclopaedia Britannica10 has to say :
“Taj Mahal, the mausoleum built on the south bank of the Jamuna river, outside Agra in India, on the orders of the Mogul emperor Shahjahan in memory of his (so called!) beloved wife, Arjumand Banu Begum, called Mumtaz-i-Mahal “chosen one of the palace” (of which Taj Mahal is a corruption). She died in childbirth in the town of Burhanpur in 1631 after having been the emperor’s inseparable companion since their marriage in 1612. The building was commenced in 1632, after plans had been prepared by a council of architects from India, Persia, Central Asia and beyond; the credit for the final plan is given to one Ustad Isa, either Turkish or Persian, although the master-builders, masons, inlayers and calligraphists, like the materials they worked with, came from all over India and Central Asia. More than 20,000 workmen were employed daily to complete the mausoleum building itself by 1643, although the whole Taj complex took 22 years to complete, at a cost of 400 lakhs of rupees.
“The complex consists of a rectangle measuring 634 yds. by 334 yds. aligned North and South. A central square garden area, 334 yds. on each side, leaves an oblong area at each end that at the south consists of the sandstone entrance gateway with its attendant service-building while that at the norh (river end) comprises the mausoleum itself, flanked on the west and east walls by two symmetrically identical buildings, the mosque and its jawab (answer) respectively. All is enclosed within a high red sandstone boundary wall with octagonal pavilion turrets at the corners while outside the enclosure at the south are ancillary buildings such as stables, outhouses and guard quarters.
The whole complex is the begum’s memorial. It was conceived and planned as an entity, since Mogul building-practice allowed of no subsequent addition or amendment. Its northern end is the most significant architecturally with mosque and jawab of red Sikri sandstone, with marble necked (not bulbous) domes and architraves and some restrained pietra dura surface decoration, constrast well with the mausoleum of pure white Makrana marble. This mausoleum standing on 312 ft. square marble plinth 23 ft. high is a square of 186 ft. with chamfered corners and with a massive arch in each face, rising to 108 ft.
Over all is a bulbous double dome, supported on a tall drum the pinnacle of which stands 243 ft. above garden level. The skyline rhythm is enhanced by parapets over each arch, corner pinnacles and domed kiosks over each corner. At each comer of the plinth stands a three-storied minaret, 138 ft. high to the crowning kiosk.
Inside the mausoleum is the octagonal chamber, embellished with low-relief patterns and fine pietra dura, containing the cenotaph of the begum and Shahjahan. These, of marble decorated with superb pietra dura, are enclosed by an exquisite perforated marble-screen studded with precious stones. A vault below, at garden level, contains the true sarcophagi. The Moguls are said to have ‘built like Titans and finished like goldsmiths’. Certainly the Taj Mahal is their finest jewel.”
In the opening part of the post, the reader may note the explanation given of Arjumand Banu Begum’s title Mumtaz Mahal, the title meaning the chosen one of the palace (of which the Taj Mahal is a corruption). This explanation clearly shows that the title stuck to the queen after her death because a (Hindu) palace was “chosen” for the burial. We have quoted Shahjahan’s official chronicle to show that while Mumtaz was alive her name was not “Mumtaz Mahal” but “Mumtaz-ul-Zamani”. Accounts like the one in Encyclopaedia Britannica which presume that the term ‘Taj Mahal” is a contraction of the lady’s name ‘ ‘Mumtaz Mahal” are wrong. The lady’s name was never Mumtaz Mahal. Muslim parlance foisted that name posthumously when she was buried in a palace. Thus, far from the building getting its name from
the lady, it is the lady who has acquired the name from the commandeered Hindu palace. So irresistible was the beauty,
magnificence, majesty and fame of the commandeered Hindu palace that Shahjahan’s dead queen got a new posthumous name from the scintillating building.
The Encyclopaedia places the death of Mumtaz in 1631 while we will show later that other accounts place it anywhere between 1629-32. So even the date of Mumtaz’s death is uncertain. Naturally, therefore, all subsequent dates of her exhumed body being carried to Agra, and of the mythical building of the Taj Mahal are concoctions. This should convince the reader of the utter unreliability of Muslim chroniclers with regard to even such simple and definite matters
as imporatnt dates. This point also illustrates how every aspect of the Taj Mahal story is suspect.
The Encyclopaedia mentions 1632 as the year in which the building of the Taj Mahal was commenced. In the extract from the Maharashtreeya Jnyankosh (Encyclopaedia) which we are going to quote hereafter the year of the commencement of the Taj Mahal is stated to be 1631. Such inconsistencies are inevitable when the initial date of Mumtaz’s death is itself unknown.
Equally loosely, the Encyclopaedia Britannica asserts that’ ‘plans had been prepared by a council of architects from India, Persia, Central Asia and beyond.”
The above assertion needs to be closely examined. Assuming 1631 as the year of Mumtaz’s death, we would like to ask whether in those days of bullockcart and camel transport it was conceivable that architects in remote parts of the world could be chosen, contacted, explained the kings’s idea of a fabulous tomb, a council established to finalize the plan, the material and labour collected and the building work begun, all within one year or even less then a year? No scholar or writer seems to have subjected the diverse versions of the Taj Mahal to such close scrutiny. We would further like to point out that the Maharashtreeya Jnyankosh (encyclopaedia) to be quoted later does not mention a council of architects but says that, of several plans ordered from different architects, one was chosen.
Another point is that Emperor Shahjahan’s own chronicler, in the passage quoted earlier does not mention any blueprint or architect. He is right, and the encyclopaedic accounts false. Because as said by him, Mumtaz was buried in a readymade palace.
If a plan had actually been made, it should have been found among Shahjahan’s court papers. But it is not there.
The amount of Rs. forty million mentioned by the Encyclopaedia Britannica is 10 times the amount of four million rupees mentioned by Shahjahan ‘s own official chronicler Mulla Abdul Hamid Lahori, quoted earlier.
The reader may note this as an example of how the cost of the Taj Mahal has been inflated in various accounts. The Encyclopaedia’s reference to ancillary buildings such as “stables, outhouses and guard quarters” is noteworthy. Such ancillaries are never needed by a dead person. On the contrary they are always needed in a Hindu palace or temple. The octagonal pavilion turrets mentioned in the Encyclopaedia are a Hindu royal tradition deriving from the Ramayana. Rama is the ideal of Hindu kingship. His capital Ayodhya was octagonal as mentioned in Valmiki’s Ramayana. Hindu, Sanskrit tradition alone has special names for all the eight directions. It also specifies special guardian deities for all the eight directions. A king is supposed to wield authority in all the 10 directions. These 10 directions include the heaven above and the nether world. The pinnacle of building points to the heaven while the building’s foundation points to the niether world. Thus an octagonal building along with it’s pinnacle and foundation accords with the Hindu concept of the king’s or God’s authority extending to all the 10 directions. It is, therefore, that orthodox Hindu constructions are octagonal. The octagonal shape of the Taj Mahal itself and of its pavilion turrets prove it to be out and out Hindu in design. In Muslim tradition an octagon has no significance.
Encyclopaedia Britannica is wrong in terming the four marble towers around the Taj Mahal as “minarets.” Muslim minarets are always part of the building. These ones which are detached from the main marble building are Hindu pillars or towers. They must not be called minarets. In Hindu tradition every sacred plinth must be framed up with corner towers lest it be mistaken for a sepulchre. Let us now compare the account given by the Maharashtreeya Jnyankosh (encyclopaedia).
The Maharashtreeya Jnyankosh says : “The Taj Mahal is reckoned as the most beautiful building in the world. It is located on the southern bank of the Yamuna river, about three miles from Agra City. Twenty thousand workmen laboured to build it. The building testifies to the excellence that Indian architecture had then attained. “In 1607 A. D. when Shahjahan was fifteen years old (his father Emperor) Jahangir engaged him to Arjumand Bano alias Mumtaz Mahal. Five years later the two were married.
She died at Burhanpur in 1631 A. D. Shahjahan grieved her loss so much that he did not attend court for eight days. He used to sob inconsolably near his wife’s tomb. She was first buried in Burhanpur, but her body was exhumed and taken to Agra. To the south of Agra Raja Jaisingh had some landed estate.
The Emperor purchased it from him and called for building plans from eminent architects. One of them was approved and a wooden model of it was got prepared. Construction of the building as per the model commenced early in 1631 A. D. and ended in January 1643 A. D. Makammal Khan and Abdul Karim were the two chief supervisors. The building cost Rs. 50,00,000. Afridi asserts it cost Rs. 91,700,000 and the following were the workers — Amanat Khan Shirazi, Essa mason, Pira carpenter, Bannuhar, Zatmulla and Zorawar; Ismail Khan Rumi built the dome and its paranchie (sic); Ramlal Kashmiri, Bagwan, etc. Stone of twenty best varieties has been used in the building. The Emperor entered the Taj Mahal in 1643 A. D. and assigned thirty surrounding towns yielding Rs. 100,000 revenue for the upkeep
of the surrounding serais, shops and garden.”
Comparing the two encyclopaedic accounts, obviously based on some of the most handy concoctions available to their respective writers, we find that they greatly differ from each other. The vacant estate referred to above is a misconception since Shahjahan’s court chronicler asserts that it was Mansingh’s lofty palace set amidst a majestic garden that was chosen for Mumtaz’s burial.
The Maharashtreeya Jnyankosh asserts that Shahjahan called for plans from different eminent architects and selected one. As against this the Encyclopaedia Britannica wants us to believe that it was a council of architects who jointly planned the monument.
Here we would like to ask which were the architectural schools where these architects studied or taught? Where are their architectural text – books to be found in ancient or mediaeval Muslim literature? As against this we can list hundreds of texts of the ancient Hindu system of architecture and civil engineering. We shall also prove subsequently how the Taj Mahal answers to Hindu specifications in every detail.
Another question that a true researcher must ask himself is whether even a single blueprint, among, may be, the dozens tendered, is available among Shahjahan’s court papers ? Along with those blueprints should also be thousands of receipts given for the material received, the day-to-day expense account of the amounts spent on the Taj Mahal, and the labourers’ muster rolls. How is it that not even a scrap of paper of the kinds described above, is available ?
While the Encyclopaedia Britannica mentions only one name – Ustad Isa, the Maharashtreeya Jnyankosh, far from making any reference to it, mentions those of Makammal Khan, Abdul Karim and a few others. It should be particularly noted that the Maharashtreeya Jnyankosh, like the Badshahnama, does not mention any architect. While the period of construction is mentioned as 22 years in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, it is stated to be only 12 years in the Maharashtreeya Jnyankosh. Obviously the former relies on Tavernier while the latter on one of the many imaginative Muslim accounts.
As regards the cost Encyclopaedia Britannics somehow chooses the figure of rupees four million while the Maharashtreeya Jnyankosh is unable to decide between the claims made in different concocted versions from Rs. 50,00,000 to Rs. 917,00,000. We are at a loss to know why and on what authority they reject or disbelieve the figure of rupees four million given by Shahjahan’s official chronicler, or how they do not happen even to mention it. It may be noted that both the Encyclopaedia Britannica and the Maharashtreeya Jnyankosh harp on “20,000 labourers.” As we have shown earlier it is Tavernier who claims that 20,000 labourers were employed. The fact that the encyclopaedias have to rely on Tavernier’s figure shows that Shahjahan’s court records make no mention of any labourers or at least of any sizeable labour force. This is a glaring anomaly. Shahjahan’s court papers should have had a regular muster roll of the huge number of labourers who are supposed to have toiled for years on end in building the Taj Mahal. The absence of any such record is a clear indication that Shahjahan did not build the Taj Mahal. He only buried Mumtaz in a commandeered mansion. Tavernier was only a casual foreign visitor. His figure is only hearsay gathered from bluffing, chauvinistic Muslim hangers-on at Shahjahan’s court who were interested in boosting Muslim “achievements”.
A Recent Concoction of the Shah Jahan Legend
A REMARKABLE instance of how the antecedents of the Taj Mahal continue to be a “free-for-all” theme for all writers even to our own day is provided by an article published12 in the Illustrated Weekly of India. We shall first reproduce the whole article and then comment on it. The article, a typed copy of which was provided to us by a friend, is as follows :
“THE BUILDERS OF THE TAJ MAHAL – ANCIENT SECRET REVEALED “TOURISTS come from the world over to see the Taj at Agra and all marvel at the genius of the architects that could plan and accomplish so lovely a ‘dream in marble’. They were commissioned by the Mogul Emperor Shahjahan to raise a mausoleum befitting his love for Mumtaz Mahal, his beloved consort; and they created this Wonder of the World.
“Yet, despite strenuous efforts to discover it, their identity had remained a mystery; wild guesses as to their origin being foreignwere abroad. Even Bernier (1642 A. D.) notes only a rumour that the architect was killed lest the secret of his art be revealed and a rival to the Taj created. “But the secret has at long last been found in a manuscript book discovered lately in the library of Mr. Mehmud Khan of Bangalore. The glory of building the Taj belongs definitely to India, to a family of Lahore architects, Ahmad, the father, and his three sons. The book is in Persian verses in the Persian character, its Article titled ‘The Builders of the Taj Mahal – Ancient Secret Revealed’ by Mohamed Khan, published in the Illustrated Weekly of India, Bombay, dated April 4, 1965. author being Lathfullah Mahandis, himself one of the three son architects, and it is almost 300 years old, falling within the last years of Shahjahan’s reign.
“It has been declared to be the only copy in the world, by the well-known authority on these matters, Syed Suleiman Sahib Nadvi, Principal, Shibly Academy, Azamgarh. “The book is in Mahandis’ own handwriting. As is noticed from different verses, the author was a staunch follower of Dara Shikoh, Shahjahan’s eldest son, and when Aurangzeb finally came to power, after defeating Dara Shikoh, the author and his family suffered. He sent a petition to the Emperor but as it was not heeded the family had to retire into seclusion and poverty.
“It seems that the book was very secretly kept by the family in fear of Aurangzeb, as it contained verses in praise of Dara Shikoh. The subsequent dates and writing on the last page show that the book was brought and was kept in the library of the historical personage Nawab Ebrahim Khan Hazbar Jung, the famous Mohammedan general nicknamed Gardy, who sided with the Maharatas in the battle of Panipat in 1761 against Ahmed Shah Abdali. The book has been in the family of the present owner for generations, but it was not noticed until Moulana Syed Suleiman Nadvi, the well-known historian, author and editor of the Moariff (the monthly journal of the Society of Authors and Shibly Academy, Azamgarh, U.P.) discovered it and, on information gleaned from it, read a lengthy Urdu paper on the builders of the Taj in the Punjab University.
“In the verses on two pages of the book described in the aricle, the author praises Shahjahan, and speaks of his father Ahmed, the ‘Nadar-ul-Asar’ (the unique of the world), as supreme master-craftsman, geometer, astronomer and prosateur. He was appointed court architect by Shahjahan’s Royal Warrant, and was the builder of the Taj mahal at Agra and the Lal Quila (Red Fort) at Delhi. He died in 1649, two years after the Taj was built. The author, his son and co-architect of the Taj, learnt at his feet.” According to this version the Taj Mahal was completed within 16 to 17 years of Arjumand Banu Begum’s death and not 12, 13 or 22 years as the earlier versions assert. We fully agree with the learned writer Mr.Mohamed Khan that ”despite strenuous efforts to discover the identity of the architects that could plan and accomplish so lovely a ‘dream in marble’ their identity has remained a mystery.”
That means that the names given in the encyclopaedias quoted above are not considered reliable by anybody. Had they been considered reliable nobody would have bothered to continue the search for the “real” names. The search will never end because it is proceeding in the wrong direction. This unending search is itself proof that Shahjahan did not build the Taj Mahal. Had he really built it, the names of the architects and all the other valid details would have found a place in contemporary chronicles and his own official chronicle. But despite the unauthenticity of the differing names mentioned
by the encyclopaedias in describing the Taj Mahal, we do not blame the encyclopaedias. Their accounts are obviously based on the diverse imaginary versions recorded in a number of Muslim accounts like Mohammad Amin Kazwini’s Badshahnama; Abdul Hamid Lahori’s Badshahnama, Inayat Khan’s Shahjahan-nama; Mohammad Waris’s
Badshahnama; Mohammad SalihKambu’s Amal-i-Salih, Mohammad Sadik Khan’s Sahahjahan-nama; Mohammad Sharif Hanif’s Majlis-us-Salatin; Mufazzal Khan’s Tarikh-i-Mufassali; Bakhtawar Khan’s Mirat-i-Alam, and also his Mirat-i-Jahan-nama; Azizulla’s Zinat-ul-Tawarikh and Rai Bharat Mulla’s Lubbut Tawarikh-i-Hind and the Divan-i-Afridi.
All the above Muslim chronicles are, according to Sir H. M. Elliot and almost all Western scholars, “an impudent and interested fraud.” Since the encyclopaedic writers banked on these “frauds” it is no wonder that they, and through them their readers too, have been badly duped not only over the origin of the Taj Mahal but in relation to the entire range of mediaeval history. Getting back to Mr. Mohamed Khan’s article, which we are examining in this post, we find him observing, “wild guesses as to their (architects’) origin being foreign were abroad.” Here we might like to suggest a slight amendment.
The wild guesses he refers to apply not only to foreign names but to all of Shahjahan’s contemporaries – including natives. That is to say, even the local Muslim (or for that matter even Hindu) names being mentioned are products of fertile guesses. We ask, what right anybody has to make guesses when Shahjahan’s own court chronicler mentions no designer? “Even Bernier,” adds Mr. Mohammed Khan, “notes only a rumour that the architect was killed lest the secret of his art be revealed and a rival to the Taj be created.”
Here we would like to tell all readers and students of history to remember one handicap of Western visitors during Muslim rule in India. The Muslim court being a parasitical graft deriving its sustenance from the sap of plunder and massacre, it exuded nothing but falsehoods and rumours. Even ordinary talk was all bluff and bluster. The Western visitors at Muslim courts had willy nilly to record the facile and facetious replies they got from hangers-on at the Muslim court. When, therefore, poor gullible Bernier asked to be shown the master architect of the Taj Mahal he was effectively silenced and put off by being told that the designer was murdered so that he may not build a rival Taj Mahal for any rival of Shahjahan. A myriad questions jump to the surface of our mind on reading this absurd plea.
At the outset, of course, we agree that the fictitious ‘ ‘designer” of the Taj Mahal could be “murdered” with the same facility with which he was “created”. Writers of shilling shockers often create and kill some of their characters with a mere flourish of their pen. There is no reason why wagging tongues at Shahjahan’s court need have been lagging in that art.
One of the questions which arise is why was not Bernier told at least the name of the murdered man so that he could have
recorded it for posterity ? Or is it argued that even the name was “murdered”? The second question is, whether raising a Taj Mahal is mere fun so that anybody could get up and book the same architect for building another Taj Mahal? Was there a surfeit of affluent Muslim widowers under Shahjahan’s rule who were keen to raise proto-Tajmahals over the corpses of their own consorts to cock a snook at Shahjahan? Why should Shahjahan dread such an eventuality ? Who had the money to build another Taj Mahal ? We are going to prove in the succeeding pages that even Shahjahan himself did not possess the means to order a building half as beautiful, majestic and spacious as this ancient Hindu palace-cum-temple known to us as the Taj Mahal. The third question is, whether Shahjahan was playing to the gallery and seeking a cheap exclusive architectural patent for the Taj Mahal in wanting to forestall and foreclose other claims, or was he a genuine, inconsolably bereaved spouse ? Once we are told (by Tavernier) that Shahjahan buried Mumtaz close to a bazar
to win public approbation. Then we are told that he murdered the architect to prevent him from obliging some other likely grand Moghul in building a rival monument. All this makes us wonder whether Shahjahan was a dignified emperor or a clown of some Shakespearean play with his hand on a dead Mumtaz’s pulse and his eye fixed on public acclaim!
Yet another question is, whether Shahjahan, so soft-hearted as to squander all his wealth on a dreamland monument for his dead wife, who was just a member of 5000 women of his harem, would at once turn so wild and treacherous as to execute the very architect who gave a concrete form to his dream ? Another doubt which arises is, whether Shahjahan had plannned to live in sack-cloth and ashes after expending all his wealth in immortalising a corpse ? Such are the abounding absurdities which should reveal themselves to any matter-of-fact, man-of-the-world historian.
The amount of such gullibility that has gone into the writing of Indian history is astounding. The detective-like approach, the lawyer-like questioning, logical reasoning and all such guidelines prescribed by renowned methodologists like Renier, Walsh and Collingwood have been completely ignored, and a sham history is offered to us which can be torn to pieces with a little close questioning. The author of the article, Mr. Mohammed Khan, claims that “the secret has at last been found”. We wish he really had found it. We are ready to accept a part of the implication of his claim, namely, that all the books and accounts hitherto ascribing the creation of the Taj Mahal to other architects are false. But as for the second part of his claim, that his version is the last word on the matter, we are afraid it is untenable. Still, we attach great value to his discovery of the manuscript in the library of Mr. Mahmud Khan of Bangalore, because it further supports very firmly the assertion we had made long back. Our assertion is that so far as we know no historian or university has ever dared to bring together under one cover all the (fictitious) accounts of Shahjahan’s sponsorship of the Taj Mahal. No one could ever hope to succeed in such an undertaking. It was like trying to fathom a bottomless abyss of forgeries or fencing off an ocean of falsehoods.
What Mr. Mohammed Khan has discovered, therefore, is nothing but yet another fictitious account. Any number of such could still be discovered in any part of the world, because who knows how many persons, during the last three hundred years, had their fingers in this make-believe pie of the imaginary Shahjahan sponsorship of the Taj Mahal.
The article itself has the “germs” to indicate that the “pie” is stale stuff. The very fact that the book is a hodge-podge of
the praise of one Moghul prince and a claim by the author of having been a master-builder of the Taj Mahal along with his father and two brothers, and the fact of the book having been tucked away in a cellar for fear of Aurangzeb – all clearly proclaim that Lathfullah’s account deserves to be ranked no better than the other Muslim chronicles namely as yet another cock-and-bull story.
Aurangzeb was too shrewd, hard-hearted and hard-headed an emperor to tolerate such fantastic and fictitious claims. We have quoted Aurangzeb’s own letter to that effect elsewhere in this book. When he knew from personal knowledge (unlike modern historians) that the Taj Mahal was an usurped Hindu palace, what Muslim mason or architect could dare curry favour with him claiming to be its creator? It was this fact which obviously led Lathfullah Mahandis to beguile the tedium of an unemployed hour by writing some Persian verse and tucking away the book in a cellar to deceive and regale posterity.
He does not seem to have been very wrong for here we are, confronted with his version, and asked to believe implicitly in it as the ultimate and exclusive gospel truth and the last word on the Taj Mahal. But alas, even this latest version was received by posterity coldly and dropped like a hot brick. It failed to make any impression. How could it hope to, anyway ? Any version of Shahjahan’s sponsorship of the Taj Mahal will have to face a battery of questions. So Ahmad Mahandis’ claim too has been suffered to glide silently down the drain of history by an unimpressed posterity, unwept, unsung and unheeded. Yet we are ready to concede two uses of the Lathfullah version. Its authoritarian claim is useful a3 a stick to beat the other equally fictitious versions with, and to turn them out of the field of history. Its other use is that we see no harm in admitting Lathfullah Mahandis’ claim that he, his two brothers and their father Ahmad were among those employed by Shahjahan as gravediggers, stone-masons, scaffolding-erectors or Koran carvers when Shahjahan had those superficial changes made in turning a commandeered Hindu palace into a graveyard.
Here we also admit that the different names given in the various accounts and books on the Taj Mahal could all be true and genuine in the sense that persons bearing those names gave a hand and played a role in turning the Hindu palace into a Muslim tomb. Because the tampering enumerated above needed thousands of men of which only a few hundred names have come down to us, and there is no reason why they should be untrue. But it is the role that is being foisted on them that is fictitious. That is why the game has been going on merrily for the last 300 years, with the mask falling from one face only to be lustily picked up by another to parade as the real creator of the Taj Mahal. In admitting all the names included in the different versions to be those of the true workers in the Hindu palace-to Muslim tomb transformation project, we once again illustrate how the overall truth reconcDes even the underlying motivated falsehoods. And this is one of the tests of the soundness of a new historical finding. A new finding, if it is the real answer, must adequately reconcile the loose ends of the older versions.
Yet Another Confused Account which Proves that Historians Faked It
In accordance with our plan to acquaint the reader with a fair sampling of the wide variety of the traditional, confused versions of the origin of the Taj Mahal, we are reproducing here extracts from antoher article which also appeared in The Illustrated Weekly of India. The article runs thus : “When the Taj Mahal was built, the many mechanical aids available today were unheard of; yet the extraordinary ingenuity employed in its construction and the high degree of engineering skill evidenced in its design make the mind pause.
“Not less remarkable were the talent and skill of the artisans employed. In translating this fabulous architectural dream into brick and mortar, an area 967 ft. long and 373 ft. wide was excavated to a depth of 44 ft. where sub-sofl water was met.
The whole excavated area was filled in mass with rubble stone in hydraulic lime to provide a common foundation for the three heavy structures, the Taj Mahal, Jamaet-Khana and one mosque which were to be raised close to one another. About 20,000 men were engaged on this work.
“Over this foundation the plinth of the Taj Mahal, 313 ft. square and 8 ft. high, was built in stone with hydraulic lime mortar and marble stone casing. The casing was laid after the rubble masonry was raised to its designed height., then the marble facing was set.
“The main engineering problem was to haul up the materials to the required height during the progress of the work. This was done by constructing wooden pillars of square timber posts bundled Article titled “Some Facts About the Taj Mahal” by Mohammed Din, published in The Illustrated Weekly of India dated December 30th 1951, together and skilfully tied with top levels at different heights, and so spaced as to carry a strong platform, 40 ft. wide, and a spiral roadway with a slope of 1 in 20, to permit loaded mules and mule carts to run over it, and to hold dumps of materials for construction work. This spiral platform was continuous and ran all round the dome, and remained in position till the work was raised to its designed height of 240 ft. above ground level. Special engineerswere engaged to build the scaffolding and platform, and 500 carpenters and 300 blacksmiths were employed on this project alone. The total length of the spiral platform was about 4,800 ft. The mortar was hoisted by means of Persian wheels which were fitted on the spiral platform. These were worked by bullocks and mules.
“The materials for the massive work were brought from many distant places. The marble stone was obtained from Makrana in Rajputana, for which about a thousand elephants were engaged. The maximum weight of a block of stone was about 2.5 tons, which is the safe carrying capacity of an elephant. A number of elephants were also engaged to work the pulleys.”
“The timber for scaffolding was brought from the Kashmir and Naini Tal areas. About 2000 camels and 1000 bullockcarts were employed for carting bricks and light materials to the construction site and about 1000 mules for lifting the materials along the spiral platform.
“The marble stone required for drum and dome was dressed on the ground and then lifted and laid in position by means of the pulleys…
“After the main dome and drum work was finished, work on annexes and subsidiary buildings was taken in hand and completed in the same manner… There are four minarets at the four corners of the Taj Mahal… “The river Jumna was half a mile away from the structure. After the building was completed, the river was diverted artificially to flow alongside the Taj to add to the beauty of the landscape.”
“Contemporary Muslim writers recorded the names of those who designed and constructed the Taj Mahal, and the names and quantities of precious stones used. It appears that Mohammed Isa Afandi, of Turkey, was the chief designer and draftsman. Among the other foreigners employed on the construction, there were men from Arabia, Persia, Syria, Baghdad and Samarkand and there was at least one Frenchman, Austin de Bordeaux, a goldsmith.
“The precious stones used included 540 pieces of cornelian from Baghdad, 670 turquoises from Upper Tibet, 614 malachites from Russia, 559 onyxes from Deccan and 625 diamonds from Central India. The construction of the Taj Mahal was begun in 1632 and was not completed till 1650. It is belived to have cost more than a crore and a half of rupees which, in terms of the present value of money, would be at least ten times as much. Two-thirds of this was contributed by the State office and one-third by the State treasury of the province. The allocations of expenditures on different parts of the structure have been carefully recorded in documents which are still existent.
“Shah Jahan, magnificent in his kingship, was equally magnificent in his sorrows. This exquisite memorial of an emperor’s
love was built by the sorrowing Shah Jahan for his departed spouse. He manifestly designed it to go down in history to a worshipful posterity; three hundred years after, it is still acclaimed as one of the supreme achievements of the architect.”
Let us subject the above article to a close cross-examination. The measurements mentioned could of course always be taken from the erstwhile Hindu temple palace, which stands before us today as the Taj Mahal, and stuffed into any post-mortem of the construction. The account of how the edifice was erected is apparently the result of an hind-sight post-mortem carried out by some contemporary architects, as far as they can visualize it. As for the 500 carpenters and 300 blacksmiths and such others employed, we have no special objection because that many would be easily absorbed in erecting even a scaffolding around the massive Hindu temple palace, which the Taj Mahal is, to convert it into
a Muslim tomb. When it comes to identifying the architects, the article throws no new light on the subject. It only repeats a few old names. And as we have noted earlier, all those names could be true inasmuch as there could be persons of those names who helped convert the Hindu edifice into a Muslim tomb.
As for diverting the distant Yamuna river to flow close enough to the Taj Mahal the less said the better, because we assert that the Muslim regimes lacked all such skill. The few schools they had in those days of incessant plunder and massacre campaigns were devoted to teaching a few illiterate fanatics to read, the Koran. We repeat that ancient or mediaeval Muslim literature has no architectural texts of its own which could atleast make out a prima facie case for the claim to any architectural or civil engineering skill. As against this, we have a whole lot of Indian, Hindu architectural classsics which boast of skills in all aspects of civil engineering surpassing those of our own times. No wonder then that we see standing even to this day the majestic and massive hill fortresses of Ajmer, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Bikaner, as well as the wonder shrines of Konark, Khajuraho, Somnath, Ajanta, Ellora, Madurai, Martand and Modhera, to name only a few.
Hindu forts and palaces always used to be built alongside rivers for two reasons. Rivers provided a natural moat at least on one side and proved an unfailing, perennial source of water. The palace of Mansingh (i.e. the one inherited by him and not necessarily built by him) was, therefore, already erected on the river bank. That palace is the present Taj Mahal and therefore, diverting the river was out of the question. The figures of 1,000 bullock-carts 1,000 mules and 2,000 camels
are too round to be believed. Moreover, allowing for some imaginative exaggeration we concede that all those animals and carts were necessary when a huge palace complex had to be tampered with for transformation into a tomb.
We, however, object to the word ‘minarets’ used by the author. The Taj Mahal has towers but no minarets.There is a vital difference between the two. Muslim minarets rise from the shoulders of buildings. Hindu towers start from the floor level – such as the so-called Kutub Minar (Delhi), the so-called Hiran Minar (Fatehpur Skri) the marble towers of the Taj Mahal and the Rana Kumbha tower in Chittor fort. Mr. Mohammed Din asserts that the building is “marvellous and stands as fresh as it was at the time of its completion.
” We are in full agreement with the learned author of the article. But since he implies that the building was erected in Shahjahan time, we disagree arid say that the temple palace known as the Taj Mahal existed centuries before the Muslim invasions of India. In the concluding portion of the article the writer tells us that the precious stones used in the Taj Mahal included 640 pieces of cornelian from Baghdad, 670 turquoises from Upper Tibet, and so on. Here we would only like to quote the sagacious Sir H. M. Elliot. He says “The pretended accuracy and minuteness with which the value of gold, silver and precious stones is given and the astounding exaggeration displayed in enumerating sums convey to the mind strong internal evidence of fabrication” Though the above remarks of Sir H. M. Elliot pertain to the many versions of the Jahangirnama yet they have a general application to all Muslim chronicles We would, therefore, like to inform the writer of the article, Mohammed Din, and other readers, that the very meticulousness with which the figures and sources of various stones are given should arouse their suspicions. A discerning and gifted historian like the late Sir H. M. Elliot could with his uncanny insight see through all such concoctions. The documents to which the author of the article refers, which allegedly contain an accurate account of the amounts incurred on the Taj Mahal, can easily be proved to be forged by the simple fact that the expenditure incurred on the Taj Mahal varies in different versions from four million rupees to over ninety million rupees.
In between lies the source from which Mr. Mohammed Din quotes the expenditure to have been in the neighbourhood of 15 million (a crore and a half) rupees.
The reference to the “timber posts bundled together” is another detail which betrays the unauthenticity of Mr. Mohammed Din’s source because Tavernier has already told as that no timber being available, all scaffolding had to be of bricks and that is why the cost of the scaffolding exceeded that of all other work executed. And above all the greatest drawback of Mr. Mohammed Din’s article is that he quotes no authority for his facts and figures.
The Badshah Nama of Looter Shah Jahan Analyzed
The Sample versions quoted earlier should suffice to convince the reader of the medley that is the Shahjahan legend of the Taj Mahal. The more one goes into it the more confused one feels.
As observed earlier, they form a big bottomless abyss which nobody can fathom. From everyday experience we know that a basic falsehood is never adequately covered or explained by subsequent falsehoods. Such falsehoods go on multiplying in bewBdering variety. This is exactly what has happened with regard to the Taj Mahal.
After a general survey of the various sources from which concoctions of the Shahjahan legend of the Taj Mahal have sprouted, we have arrived at the conclusion that Mulla Abdul Hamid Lahori, the court chronicler who admits the Taj Mahal to be a Hindu palace, is the only honest one. Let us, therefore, examine his chronicle a little more closely.
All this confusion about the origin of the Taj Mahal has arisen cause historians completely ignored the wording of the Badshahnama posted in previous article of Taj Mahal is Shiva Temple. Perhaps his words got ignored because they had all along fancied the Taj Mahal to be an original tomb raised as a fabulous dreamland monument to love.
Now that we find him to be more truthful and honest let us have another, closer look at the account of the Taj Mahal given in the Badshahnama. The first point to be noted is that while traditional rumours were intended to tell us that Shahjahan obtained an open plot of land from Jaisingh and built a wonder mausoleum on it, Mulla Abdul Hamid with disarming candour tells us that it was Jaisingh who was given an open piece of land in exchange for his fabulous (manzil, aali manzil, imaarat-e-aalishan wa gumbaze) ancestral doom! palace. We are also told that this palace had a majestic, spacious (sabz zamini) garden around it.
Had Shahjahan wanted to build anything de novo would he choose a site which had a majestic palace standing on it? The
very cost of its demolition and clearing of its foundation to dig another would be stupendous. Carting away the debris would be another very Herculean chore. And would he spend all that time, money and energy when he had another “grand” plot of land which he is said to have given to Jaisingh in exchange ? Besides, what does the exchange show? Does it not show that Shahjahan wanted Jaisingh to fend for himself by building another residence while Shahjahan made him surrender his ancestral palace to serve as a ready-made tomb for his wife, as well as by the same stroke further impoverish a wealthy Hindu family and denude it of its power ? Was this also not consistent with the general Muslim usurping tradition in India and of Shahjahan’s own high-handed behaviour with all and sundry which we shall deal with in a subsequent chapter ? We would like the reader to note that Mulla Abdul Hamid Lahori refers to the removal of Mumtaz’s body from Burhanpur to Agra in a very casual manner while talking about somebody having been suitably punished for incurring royal anger. Mumtaz’s body is brought from Burhanpur and straightaway buried under the dome of a lofty Hindu palace in Agra. What does it show? Lahori says the expenditure estimated (to transform it into a Muslim
tomb, i.e. digging and filling up a grave, constructing a cenotaph, sealing surplus staircases and basement rooms, engraving the Koran, erecting a huge scaffolding) was four million rupees. We pass this figure as reasonable except perhaps for some exaggeration and over-estimate to allow for misappropriation by middle men. Then follows a long silence. Mulla Abdul Hamid Lahori gives some names and details of construction in Badshahnama. He starts from the “foundation” which is often misunderstood to mean the foundation of a huge palace. A grave has to start from the ‘foundation’ because a dead body is to be buried in an earthy pit. His words that the foundation was brought to the ground level only mean that the grave was filled up with earth and masonry. The author of the Badshahnama states16 that half a million rupees were spent on the grave (including the cenotaph). This is not surprising. The estimate for the entire project was four million (40 lakhs) rupees. Deducting the Rs. 5 lakhs spent on the grave and the cenotaph from the overall figure we find that the Koranic engravings (along with the huge scaffolding raised to reach various heights of the walls and arches) cost Rs. 35 lakhs.
We have full corroboration for this lop-sided expenditure in Tavernier’s statement that the cost of the scaffolding was more than that of the entire work. Here the cost of the scaffolding plus Koranic engravings is seven times that of the grave and cenotaph.
As we have several times earlier pointed out, this disproportionate expenditure on the scaffolding itself is proof enough that the main work was comparatively insignificant. Some readers are likely to consider five lakhs of rupees for the grave and the cenotaph abnormal expenditure, and therefore would conclude that something else was built with that amount. Such a conclusion is unwarranted. Firstly, because Mulla Abdul Hamid Lahori himself has given us a correct idea of the palace taken over. Secondly, as we have already pointed out, Muslim figures have to be cut to size by deducting exaggeration and over-estimate margins. The remaining figure would be reasonable because demolishing the basement flooring and the ground flooring of a palace and superimposing a grave and a cenotaph on them and
redoing the mosaic to match with the rich flooring of a Hindu palace, is bound to cost a huge sum.
The following conclusions emerge from what Emperor Shahjahan’s own court chronicler has recorded in the official history of the reign, Badshahnama :
1. The Taj Mahal is a Hindu palace.
2. It had around it a majestic and spacious garden.
3. The huge building complex was obtained in exchange (if at all) for almost a song, i.e. at best transferring to the owner as Badshahnama, states “Wa panj lakh rupaye bar rauzaya munavvaraa ki binaaye maanind aan bar ruje zameen deede aasman na deeda.” An open plot of land. This too seems fishy because the location and size of the plot of land are not mentioned. Most probably it was just a blatant expropriation effected by turning Jaisingh out of his wealthy ancestral palace. The detail that Jaisingh was compensated by gifting him on open plot of land is obviously a royal Islamic bluff to cover up the fact that Raja Jaisingh was blatantly robbed of his wealthy temple-palace.
4. The Hindu palace had a dome.
5. Mumtaz was buried, so they say, under that dome soon after her exhumed body was (brought from Burhanpur to Agra, if at all.
6. The estimated expenditure (to transform the Hindu palace into a Muslim tomb) was Rs. 40 lakhs, (the actual expenditure is unknown).
7. Of the above sum, Rs. 5 lakhs was spent on the grave and cenotaph and the balance of Rs. 35 lakhs on the scaffolding and the Koranic engravings.
8. Designer or architects are out of the picture, since the Taj Mahal was never raised by Shahjahan.
9. The Hindu palace was known as Mansingh’s palace during Emperor Shahjahan’s time though it was in the occupation of his grandson Jaisingh.
The above account being fairly plausible fits with the truth that the Taj Mahal is an ancient Hindu palace commandeered for conversion into a Muslim tomb. Subsequent guesses about the architect, and doubts such as that the figure of the amount spent on the Taj Mahal (Rs. 40 lakhs) is too low, are altogether unjustified and unwarranted.
Renovation Period – Conversion of Hindu Temple to Taj Mahal
We are going to show from this chapter onwards how the whole Shahjahan legend of the Taj Mahal is based on guesswork. Starting from the unwarranted assumption that Shahjahan had the Mahal erected as a tomb for his wife Mumtaz, every detail has been conjured up by different writers according to their own fancy. In the result, history has been burdened with a mass of canards which baffled all attempts at getting to the origin of the Taj Mahal.
In this post we intend examining the question of its actual period of construction. Had the Taj Mahal really been built by Shahjahan, there should have been no room or necessity for any guess-work, for we should have had official records of the commissioning and execution of such a stupendous monument from start to finish ? The absence of any authentic record is a glaring discrepancy.
Some documents and records which at times find mention in some writings are apparent forgeries because they are hardly believed in by anybody. If the Taj Mahal originated as a tomb the date of its commencement should be related to Mumtaz’s death. But to start with, the very date of the death of this lady is unknown.
This is what Mr. Kanwar Lal says : “Mumtaz passed away in 1630, the date of her death being 7th June… but some historians have erroneously placed the event in 1631. There is divergence also in respect of the date calculated; some mention 7th others 17th.”
Had Mumtaz been the wife so doted upon by Shahjahan as has been made out in fictitious accounts of the origin of the Taj
Mahal, could there ever be such a lamentable divergence on the date of her death ? But as we are going to show later, her death hardly mattered to Shahjahan. She was one of his many consorts in a harem teeming with at least 4,999 other claimants of the emperor’s amorous attention. As Mumtaz was just one among thousands of the emperor’s
consorts her death could never call for any special monument. The date of Mumtaz’s death being unknown we are at a loss to know from where to count the six months that her body lay in the grave in Burhanpur. Even that figure, “six months”, may after all be only approximate and not accurate. Even on arrival in Agra, we are told, Mumtaz was buried “the next year” under the dome of the Hindu palace. This makes the date of her burial even more vague.
In spite of this fundamental vagueness we would have accepted the duration of the period during which the Taj Mahal was a-building if there had been any consensus about it among historians. Unfortunately, there is none. Let us see how many versions there are :
1. The Maharashtreeya Jnyankosh quoted by us earlier says that the “construction commenced in 1631 A. D. and ended in January 1643 A. D.” That gives us a period of a little less than 12 years.
2. The Encyclopaedia Britannica says 20 “the building was commenced in 1632. More than 20,000 workmen were employed daily to complete the mausoleum building itself by 1643, although the whole Taj complex took 22 years to complete.” Unlike the first encyclopaedia, the latter gives us two separate periods : one of 10 to 11 years and the other of 22 years. About this latter period of 22 years we would also like to know why the mausoleum needed a building complex containing stables and guard and guest rooms? Was Mumtaz still supposed to go riding, casting away the burqa and escorted by large cavalry contingents ? Was she also expected to receive guests ?
3. Tavernier’s account runs completely counter to all Muslim versions which form the basis of the encyclopaedic accounts quoted above. The Encyclopaedia Britannica account is actually an amalgam of the Tavernier and Muslim accounts inasmuch as it borrows the figures of 20,000 workmen and 22 years from Tavernier while deftly weaving in it the 11 or 12 year period fancied in Muslim accounts. Tavernier says21 he “witnessed the commencement and accomplishment of this great work on which they expended 22 years during which 20,000 men worked incessantly.. The cost of it has been enormous.. The scaffolding alone cost more than the entire work…”
Even presuming that Tavernier arrived in Agra in 1641, and the work began soon after his arrival there, it should have lasted from 1641 to 1663. But, Shahjahan was deposed and imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb in 1658. How then could the work of the Mumtaz mausoleum proceed until 1663, i.e. five years after his losing control of state affairs? And if, in fact, it did, what are we to make of some Muslim accounts which claim that the work had ended in 1643 ? Then, again, the problem of the commencement of the construction still remains hanging in the air.
4. Mr. Mohammed Din’s article quoted earlier asserts, “The construction of the Taj Mahal was begun in 1632 and was not completed till 1650.” Here again we come across the usual vagueness. Mohammed Din seems to be sure only of the date when the building commenced. If we take 1632 as the year of commencement then what are we to make of Tavernier’s assertion that the work started in his presence ? Even accepting Mr. Mohammed Din’s version of the date of commencement we wonder why he should remain vague and unconvinced about the date on which the mausoleum
was complete ? His version therefore gives us a period of 18 years with a big question mark thereafter.
5. Yet another version estimates the Taj Mahal to have been under construction for 17 years. This is from Mr. Arora’s book. He says, “Shahjahan commenced building the Taj in 1631, the fourth year after his accession. Several designs were prepared by masters of the art from distant lands but it was Afandi’s which was approved. From this a wooden model was constructed in 1630, the very year of Mumtaz’s death. The splendid mausoleum was completed in 1648.” It is not even certain that Mumtaz died in 1630. Even assuming that she died in 1630 she perhaps died towards the close of that year. In such a case is it possible for the emperor to make a decision to build a dreamland monument, have a huge amount
sanctioned for it, broadcast his scheme to distant lands, have artists prepare plans, have them sent to Shahjahan, from among which, we are told, he selected one, have a wooden model constructed, the necessary workmen collected, the bewildering variety of material ordered and construction begun, all by 1630? Is this an Arabian
Nights story or history? Had Shahjahan the peace and security within two years of his accession to indulge in such a sentimental project? Can things move so fast even in the best of modem adminsitrations blessed with swift communications and any number of architectural and civil engineering schools where one can find a cluster of adept architects and engineers handy? Unfortunately such anomalies galore failed to arouse the suspicions of any historian.
6. A like version is also found in The Columbia Lippincott Gazetteer. If anything, it appears to be a little more sure of itself than others. It states : “The beautiful Taj Mahal (built 1630-1648) probably the most noted mausoleum in the world…” etc. etc. All the arguments repeated above apply to this Gazetteer version too, namely, that since we are not even sure whether Mumtaz died in 1630, how could calling for mausoleum plans, selecting one, ordering the building material, etc. all be done just in one year?
These instances should suffice to give the reader an idea of the contradictions, inconsistencies, incongruities and anomalies that riddle all versions of the period of (renovation) construction of the Taj Mahal. According to our contention that the ultimate truth should be able to round off all apparent contradictions into a consistent account, our explanation is that once Mumtaz was buried in the Hindu palace, the work of covering her grave mound with masonry, constructing a cenotaph and carving the Koran, dragged on desultorily and spasmodically over 10, 12, 13, 17 or 22 years. Whenever a building undergoes alterations, renovations or repairs (all very superficial in the case of the Taj Palace) drag on for years by fits and starts according to the whim of the new occupier. To this extent there is a shade of truth in the different versions quoted above.
Post 3 on Taj Mahal A Vedic Temple will be followed up Soon
The True Story of Taj Mahal by P.N. Oak
The Taj by Kanwar Lal, published by R. K. Publishing House, 67 Daryaganj, Delhi.
Badshahnama, Vol. I, line 35 ‘sale ayandeh.’
Maharashtreeya Jnyankosh, ibid, Vol. 15.
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1964 Ed., Vol. 21.
Travels in India, ibid.
The Illustrated Weekly of India dated Dec. 30, 1951.
City of the Taj by R. C. Arora, printed at the Hiberninan Portuguese Church Street, Calcutta.