Taj Mahal is Muslim tomb not Hindu temple, Indian court told

Source: BBC News

BY  in Delhi

Government archaeologists reject claim the structure was built by Hindus and that they should be allowed to worship there

The Taj Mahal
 Claims that the Taj Mahal is a Hindu temple have been made since a 1989 book insisted it was built before Muslim invaders came to India. Photograph: twinsterphoto/Getty/iStockphoto

A court in India has heard testimony from government archaeologists that the Taj Mahal is a Muslim mausoleum built by a Mughal emperor to honour his dead wife – delivering an official riposte to claims it is a Hindu temple.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which protects monuments of national importance, had been ordered to give its view in response to a petition filed by six lawyers stating that the Unesco world heritage site in the city of Agra had originally been a temple called Tejo Mahalaya dedicated to the Hindu deity Shiva.

The petition also demanded that Hindus be allowed to worship in it. Only Muslims are permitted to offer prayers at the 17th-century monument.

Dr Bhuvan Vikrama, the ASI’s superintending archaeologist in Agra, said he rejected the claims: “Our written statement called the claims concocted and we asked the court to dismiss the petition. It’s up to the judge to decide what happens.”

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