Alexa Myths and controversies of Taj Mahal

Dhaka, Wednesday   23 October 2019


Myths and controversies of Taj Mahal

 Abdur Rahman Rahad

 Published: 08:19 PM, 12 September 2019  

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal is considered one of the finest buildings in the world. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and also listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. It is located on the southern bank of the Jamuna River near Agra in India.

It was built by Mughul Emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. She died in 1632 while bearing their fourteenth child and Shah Jahan never really recovered from the loss. He decided to make a monument for his beloved wife as a symbol of love. It took almost 22 years and finally completed in 1653.

But there are many stories and myths about the Taj Mahal. Though most of them did not have any proper evidence, the myths have been discussed by various people over the years. Today, we will talk about some strong myths regarding the Taj Mahal over the years.

Amputation of workers

One of the most believed and most popular myths about the Taj Mahal is that Shah Jahan ordered to cut-off the hands of the artisans to make sure that no such monument was ever built again. As the Taj Mahal is one of the most beautiful buildings in the world, they want this as the only building having such beauty over the world. For this reason, they cut off the hands of the workers after finishing the construction of the Taj Mahal.

Though a large number of the population believes the story, it seems like a myth.  There is no other evidence to support the story. Thus, the story about amputation is a myth.

Black Taj Mahal

It is believed that Shah Jahan had a plan to build another mahal lie the Taj Mahal for his own monument. He never thought of having his memorial as a part of the existing Taj Mahal. He dreamt of having a stunning back Taj Mahal dedicated to himself. It was planned to build in the other bank of Jamuna River. And both monuments were connected through a bridge.

The story of the black Taj Mahal is indecisive yet. After completing the construction of the Taj Mahal Shah Jahan was dethroned by his son, it cannot be said with certainty what was Shah Jahan’s wish. But the black marbles in the Garden raised questions.

Taj Mahal once a Shiva Temple!

The Taj Mahal was actually a Hindu temple; a Shiva Temple named Tejo Mahalaya. The claim was first made by a person named P.N. Oak through ‘Taj Mahal: The True Story’. In that report, he tried to prove that it was not the building of the Mughul regime. A carbon test indicates that the Taj Mahal was 300 years older than the reign of Emperor Shah Jahan. That Mahal was used as a temple and it was not made by Shah Jahan.

But according to the ASI, there is no proof that a Hindu temple ever existed in the place where the Taj Mahal now stands and that the Hindu Temple was converted into the Taj Mahal.
A hole in ceiling

We considered the Taj Mahal a perfect wonder, but it probably isn’t. The ceiling of the main hall of the Taj contains a small hole. It is said that one of the artisans left the hole so as to create a fault and destroy the dream of Shah Jahan to make it perfect.

The artisan used to do this when he came to know about Shah Jahan’s plan of amputating all the artisans after completion of the construction.

Taj Mahal can change colors!

The Taj Mahal is indeed a wonder in many senses. There exists a popular myth that the color of the Taj varies as per the time of the day and the condition of the sky. It gives out a pinkish hue during the early morning hours and it looks milky white during the evening. The Taj Mahal gives out a light blue hue on a moonlight night. This is indeed a fascinating view.

This wasn’t the first grave of Mumtaz

After the death of Mumtaz Mahal, her body was buried at two different places before it was finally placed in the Taj Mahal. Initially, right after her death, she was buried in Burhanpur. After that, her body was shifted to Agra and was buried in the complex of the Taj Mahal for 12 years. It was finally moved to the basement of the Taj Mahal where it found its final resting place.

Apart from these myths about the Taj Mahal, there are some controversial issues also regarding the construction of the Taj Mahal at that time. Many questioned the capabilities of the Mughal Empire to effort such a megaproject like the Taj Mahal. And many can’t find out the logic behind the necessity of the Taj Mahal to be built at that time.

The Taj Mahal was undoubtedly the largest project of that era and Mughal was one of the most prosperous empires of the world at that time. Nevertheless, it is a matter of great controversy whether the Shah Jahan Empire had the power to carry such expenses of this mega project. The Mughal treasury had become quite empty at the end of Shah Jahan’s reign with the acquisition of the Taj Mahal and other expensive projects. 

Not only that, artificial famine was created in some places of the Mughal Empire to ensure the supply of food to the workers of the Taj Mahal. If the general people had to pay so badly for the tariffs of a ruler’s personal love, then the question raised about the necessity of the construction of that architecture inevitably. It is a clear indication of how fragile the people were in front of the personal happiness of an emperor.