Tejo Mahalaya?

I have received this forwarded email quite a few times now. Normally I would read and then press the delete button, but I did a google search on this one. The content of the forward is as follows.

The Mogul Emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal built the Taj Mahal. It was built in 22 years (1631 to 1653)by 20,000 artisans brought to India from all over the world. Many people believe Ustad Isa of Iran designed it. This is what your guide probably told you if you ever visited the Taj Mahal. This is the story I read in my history book as a student in India. No one has ever challenged it except Professor P.N.Oak, who believes that the whole world has been duped. In his book Taj Mahal: The True Story, Oak says the Taj Mahal is not Queen Mumtaz Mahal’s tomb but an ancient Hindu temple palace of Lord Shiva (then known as Tejo Mahalaya). In the course of his research, Oak discovered the Shiva temple palace was usurped by Shah Jahan from then Maharaja of Jipur, Jai Singh. ShahJahan then remodeled the palace into his wife’s memorial. In his own court chronicle, Badshahnama, Shah Jahan admits that an exceptionally beautiful grand mansion in Agra was taken from Jai Singh for Mumtaz’s burial. The ex-Maharaja of Jaipur still retains in his secret collection two orders from Shah Jahan for surrendering the Taj building.

Using captured temples and mansions, as a burial place for dead courtiers and royalty was a common practice among Muslim rulers. For example, Humayun, Akbar, Etmud-ud-Daula and Safdarjung are all buried in such mansions. Oak’s inquiries begin with the name Taj Mahal. He says this term does not occur in any Moghul court papers or chronicles, even after ShahJahan’s time. The term “Mahal” has never been used for a building in any of the Muslim countries, from Afghanistan to Algeria. “The unusual explanation that the term Taj Mahal derives from Mumtaz Mahal is illogical in at least two respects. First, her name was never Mumtaz Mahal but Mumtaz-ul-Zamani,” he writes. “Second, one cannot omit the first three letters ‘Mum’ from a woman’s name to derive the remainder as the name for the building.”

Taj Mahal, he claims, is a corrupt version of Tejo-Mahalaya, or the Shiva’s Palace. Oak also says the love story of Mumtaz and Shah Jahan is a fairy tale created court sycophants, blundering historians and sloppy archaeologists. Not a single royal chronicle of ShahJahan’s time corroborates the love story. Furthermore, Oak cites several documents suggesting the Taj Mahal predates Shah Jahan’s era, and was a temple palace dedicated to Shiva worshipped by the Rajputs of Agra city. For example, Professor Marvin Miller of NewYork took a few samples from the riverside doorway of the Taj. Carbon dating tests revealed that the door was 300 years older than ShahJahan. European traveler Johan Albert Mandelslo, who visited Agra in 1638(only seven years after Mumtaz’s death), describes the life of the city in his memoirs. But he makes no reference to the TajMahal being built. The writings of Peter Mundy, an English visitor to Agra within a year of Mumtaz’s death, also suggest the Taj was a noteworthy building long well before Shah Jahan’s time.

Oak points out a number of design and architectural inconsistencies that support the belief of the Taj Mahal being a typical Hindu temple rather than a mausoleum. Many rooms in the Taj Mahal have remained sealed since Shah Jahan’s time,and are still inaccessible to the public. Oak asserts they contain a headless statue of Shiva and other objects commonly used for worship rituals in Hindu temples. Fearing political backlash, Indira Gandhi’s government tried to have Oak’s book withdrawn from the bookstores, and threatened the Indian publisher of the first edition with dire consequences. There is only one way to discredit or validate Oak’s research. The current Indian government should open the sealed rooms of the Taj Mahal under UN supervision, and let international experts investigate.

The first link from the google query took me to dalitstan site, which didnt have anything but a news excerpt of a rebuttal of the claim. No analysis, no counter evidence or supporting evidence, just plain hoo haa about hindu fascism. A link from BBC contains information about both versions of the story, but I couldnt find a site which objectively analyses the issue. Have you got a clue?

21 thoughts on “Tejo Mahalaya?”

  1. dig… dig….. and dig again…… findout the “truth”…… it is not of much difficulty to get a cylindircal stone…. then we can have next agenda….

    bholo bharath matha ki jai

  2. I find it amusing that you came to the conclusion that I am waiting for someone to demolish Taj mahal just like babari masjid. I assume thats what you are pointing at, knowing you. 😉

    1. I dont agree with any justification for demolishing babari masjid, but on the other hand I can see that event as a glimpse of an unseen face of hinduism. The demolition has raised several questions which needs to be addressed. Just condemning that incident, will not ensure that such things will not happen again. Unfortunately most “secular” political parties have just condemned it, without really finding why this has happened, and why they couldnt prevent it or what they could do to prevent such things in future.

    2. The post which I made is a email forward which I have received so many times. What I am deeply concerned is that no one is countering the mentioned email (information) with the support of facts. That email that came to me has got serious implications for India. I know that you have sensed it. But the points (reference to the historical documents) which are raised, if incorrect needs to be countered soon, not just by condemnation, but with support of evidence.

    3. I am concerned for india, its pluralism, its cultural fabric. I am more concerned by the actions of the “secular” political parties/voices, which only rise for certain issues, and becomes absolutely silent for others. I am just highlighting the things that are going around, which if not dealt with will defenitely be a cause of concern for our country.

    And finally, I am ready any time, to say “Bharat mata ki Jai”. 🙂

  3. As for the Babri Masjid debate, read Koneraad Elst’s wonderful work titled, “Ayodhya and After.”

    Praveen, what worries me more than the “secular” parties is the direction Indian politics is heading towards. Criminals (thieves, goons and even direct mafia men) are occupying key positions. All of them don’t know–and don’t care–about secularism or communism or any other “ism.” Paradoxically, it is this very “secular” politics that has led to this development.

    I say this in view of elections in my erstwhile area/corporation ward. The guy who got elected–I know him, so to say–is a very (in)famous goonda with about 8 murders behind him.

    At this rate, we won’t have an government to speak of.

  4. it is easy to mark u’r “secular” parties as the GOONDA RAJ or with any other name….. but, is it possible to wash of our hands from putting our nation in this current status…. apart from casting a vote (or more than one, if u can) what else make us a responsible citizen of our beloved country. how many of the criticisers have actually worked with any political or non political organizations.. and how many of us know the condition prevailaing in rural and urban india….look around and find we are also a part of this FINE system….. when the educated and true NATIONALIST are running out of the country or simple happy with this CRITICISM who will find a solution for this ……..

  5. hai , bad news for every indians, dear brother and sisters what we looked and heard the great TAJ MAHAL is not muslims mohal, it is a true hindu temple, so every hindu should protest and make some demonstration to prove this temple as Hindu temple and the govenment also give due consideration for searching the prof which are in the Taj mahal (Tejo mahalaya).

    Bharath Mathaki Jai……………,

  6. Even if( I do not beleive it is the truth) it is true,by uncovering it,what do you propose to accomplish?Even if there was/is a Shiv ling, does only by discovering that improve your bhakti towards lord Shiva.There are so many good points about the Taj Mahal and do not forget it is one of the main tourist attractions in India. Don’t spoil it by some controversial topic which will only trigger further communalist thoughts. if anyone has strong religious sentiments, translate by following what most relisions advocate….help others,don’t cause violence.None of us are going to become more and less religiuos by realsing that a shiv ling has been discovered

  7. Ritu,

    Good question. Now try answering the same. Why do we study history? Why do we study the origins of human civilisation? What do we accomplish by these things?

    You are assuming that investigating this claim is a communalist cause? On the contrary, by verifiying if its true you can discredit this theory or on the other hand find out more about our own history.

  8. Hi Guys

    I totally agree with Praveen when he says that this issue needs an objective analysis. Regardless of other things lets talk history and facts first:

    Oaks assertion
    1. THat the tejo mahalya was taken from a Rajpoot King Refutation
    1. No such mention in the royal records

    2. That the name of taj mahal is a coruption of tejo mahalya
    2. Most sources suggest that “Taj Mahal” is a shorter variant of “Mumtaz Mahal”…the name of the woman in whose memory it was built. The name “Taj” is a Persian word (meaning “crown”) while “Mahal” is Arabic in origin (meaning “place”). Typically the building is simply and evocatively referred to as The Taj.

    Furthur “Mahal” as a royal title used for a muslim queen is not a single case in History, Begum Hazrat Mahal is another example.

    3. THat the TEjo mahalya is an ancient temple
    3. Had it been ancient, considering the rich indian tradition of literature and the beautiful practice of expressing ideas through it (Asoka the great’s major and minor edicts are a case in point) we would have found some mention somewhere.

    4. That it was modified into a rauza and the evidences of it being a temple were erased.
    4. Oh c’mon Mr. Oak, There have been cases where temples have been modified into mosques, in fact every new power has the tendency to convert established establishments into and as their own (eg in china), No one worries or cares to destroy the evidences because they dont need to. Why will Shah Jahan take extra pains to destroy all such evidences, Plz he had a life !

    5. Also The persian corpes of literature talks about many craftsmen , Hindus and Muslims involved in the creation of this monument.
    It must be emphasised that the design of the Taj Mahal cannot be ascribed to any single mastermind. The Taj is the culmination of an evolutionary process. It is the perfected stage in the development of Mughal architecture. The names of many of the builders who participated in the construction of the Taj in different capacities have come down to us through Persian sources. A project as ambitious as the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal demanded talent from many quarters.

    Isa Shirazi, has been mentioned as the supervising architect in Persian language texts (e.g. see ISBN 964-7483-39-2). From Turkey came Ismail Khan, a designer of hemispheres and a builder of domes. Qazim Khan, a native of Lahore, travelled to Agra to cast the solid gold finial that crowned the Turkish master’s dome. Chiranjilal, a local lapidary from Delhi, was chosen as the chief sculptor and mosaicist. Amanat Khan from Persian Shiraz, Iran was the chief calligrapher, and this fact is attested on the Taj gateway where his name has been inscribed at the end of the inscription. Muhammad Hanif was the Supervisor of masons, while Mir Abdul Karim and Mukkarimat Khan of Shiraz handled finances and the management of daily production. Sculptors from Bukhara, calligraphers from Syria and Persia, inlayers from southern India, stonecutters from Baluchistan, a man who specialised in building turrets, another who carved only marble flowers – thirty seven men in all formed the creative nucleus and to this core was added a labour force of twenty thousand workers recruited from across northern India.

    A closeup view showing finer details.
    The Taj Mahal was constructed using materials from all over India and Asia. Over 1,000 elephants were used to transport building materials during the construction. The white marble was brought from Rajasthan, the jasper from Punjab and the jade and crystal from China. The turquoise was from Tibet and the Lapis lazuli from Afghanistan, while the sapphire came from Sri Lanka and the carnelian from Arabia. In all, 28 types of precious and semi-precious stones were inlaid into the white marble. The total cost of construction was about 40 million rupees, at a time when 1 gram of gold was sold for about 1.3 rupees.


    6. Carbon Dating has proved that the material of the riverside doorway predates TM by 300 years
    6. Now I know that Mr Oak has written this book sitting in the kitchen, Carbon dating is used for determing the age of materials in a unit of at least a thousand years, using carbon dating to determine a gap of a mere 3oo years is a WRONG scientific procedure. Even if it was 300 years older it is quite posible that the material was old ! , If i peform carbon dating on the JMD Mall in Gurgaon (built in 2002) and find that the bricks came out of kiln in 1995, that does not mean that the JMD mall was there and it was invisible !!!!. WELL even now if I agree that the doorway material was 300 years older, that thakes us to 1300 ad, The time of Alauddin Khalji, which is still not ancient india !!

    7. The name of Taj MAhal is not in the royal records
    7.A lot of names are not in the royal records, That oes not mean that the Mughal empire was an invisible empire !!

    Likewise there are a number of holes in Oaks theory, IF we go into the details we wil, certainly find them.

  9. Hi Myth Basher,

    Indeed, Bharat mata ki jai. But I didnt get the refutation completely, and I find it a bit weak. I dont think the article I quoted contained anything about a cosmetic change, but a remodeling of the same. I am not claiming it or It affects me, but what I say is if such claims are rubbish, they should be established thus properly and binned.

  10. YO man this is really hot stuff, why does the govt have to ignore the fact that what it is what it is. U cant have a girl calling herself a boy. Everyone will know the truth once they see it.
    U just need to raise the issue and the truth will come out if its really the Shiv temple or really the Mosque….

    Look at the book on Jesus, read it or wait for the movie and u will understand it… its just f***ing polotics and the people who are into it

    If u have a doubt then u should check to see if its ture or not

  11. oh god what next !!! the eiffel tower was built by queen elizabeth!!!!!!!???? dont be ridiculous people .. u cant have doubts about one of the most famous structures ever to have been built. you think no one would have noticed if it was ‘ just’ a modification…

  12. No one can stop science even if it leads to destructive purposes. But one must know how to harness that knowledge within and use it safely and wisely. This issue is similar to that.

    How a religion should feel about building their structure on another religion’s abode? And how should the other religion feel about having their structure built-over by another religion’s bricks? Its a shame for both the religions. Should one allow their followers to still believe on the falsehood? Should the other watch this atrocity continuing even after 400 years?

    What should be done then? An archaeological team should find out whats hidden in it and let the truth come out to the world. This is 2006. 59 years since independence. It is time to move on to the ultimatum. This is our age, our era, when we should all be matured enough to take facts as they are, forgetting religions which do nothing but blind us from the most basic entity that man should never be deprived of. TRUTH.


  13. Whether the Taj Mahal is a Hindu or Muslim structure, is a criteria that should be overseen by the secular government of India (the party directly concerned is the Archeological Survey of India), But since there are such a large number of aspects shrouded in secrecy about one of the most famous structures in the world, there is no apparent reason why the Indian public, or for that matter any individual having a right to know the truth, should be kept guessing. This truth of the matter coming to light will be yet another ‘Da Vinci Code’ if the concerned authorities consent.

  14. In Bijapur (Karnataka) there is a great well called “Taj Bavadi”. It was built in 1620 under the orders of Ibrahim Adli Shah (1580-1626). Historians say that it is built in the honor of his queen Taj-Sultana.

    A narrow gallery with a low parpent wall runs inside of all the four walls covered with arch surfaces. The gallery passses through large rooms with lancet-shaped windows on all the three sides expect the front. These rooms were meant for the use of travellers; THAT IN THE SOUCH ACCOMODATES A HINDU SHRINE.

    These are the informations I collected from the books. I don’t no which God is worshipped there.

    Why a Muslim ruler built Hindu shrine inside TAJ-Bavadi?

  15. it’s not about hindu or muslim, it’s neither about Babri majid. it’s about the History and the Taj Mahal it’s self. we should not forget that no one has challenged the research of P N Oak till date.

  16. I fully agree with the nitin that no one has challenged on P N Oak about his search /truths, but we have to understand and should accept that whatever truth is there it should come out, and i have some more info, regarding that MECCA (Saudi Arabia), even now inside the CABA or KABA our hindu gods(sculptures) there inside, thats why i believe except muslims no one enter in MECCA, if people of there thinks its a GOD’s(ALLAH) place then we are all his/her children, in that case everyone should be allowed, irrespective of caste,religion,community,etc.

  17. I agree with all of you.
    we can shut everybody’s mouth by just finding out the truth.
    why dont we insist govt. to open up all the secret doors and make it clear whether it is Taj or Tejo..

    wish and hope to see the truth very soon.
    I dont understand why people are not ready to face the truth(hidden truth of 7 wonders) everyone should be educated with the facts of them….and the pain in building those.

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