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.
Check out the Hindu Structure Jaswant Thada, Jodhpur images and if they strike your memories on similarities to Vedic architecturalogy in accordance to the designs seen in Vedic Taj Mahal then do n’t be surprised.
- 1 Inconsistent Versions To Hide Truth – Taj Mahal’s Hindu Identity
- 2 Profanity of Contextuality – Encyclopaedic Evidence and Actual Blueprint on Taj Mahal Vedic Predating
- 3 A Recent Concoction of the Shah Jahan Legend
- 4 Another Account which Prove Historians Faked with Taj Mahal’s Hindu Architecture
- 5 The Badshah Nama on Taj Mahal’s Vedic Identity Analyzed
- 6 Renovation Period – Conversion of Hindu Temple to Taj Mahal
Inconsistent Versions To Hide Truth – Taj Mahal’s Hindu Identity
As part of such a discussion we intend giving the reader, 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.”
Profanity of Contextuality – Encyclopaedic Evidence and Actual Blueprint on Taj Mahal Vedic Predating
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.
Another Account which Prove Historians Faked with Taj Mahal’s Hindu Architecture
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 on Taj Mahal’s Vedic Identity 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. The badshah nama of looter shahjahan says it all.
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, 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.