The story as most of us know it suggests that Moghul Emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his wife Mumtaz 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.
No one has ever challenged this story except Professor P.N. Oak, who believes the whole world has been duped. He states this Mahal is 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 Jaipur, Jai Singh. Shah Jahan 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. Firstly, her name was never Mumtaz Mahal but Mumtaz-ul-Zamani," he writes. "Secondly, 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
Oak also says the love story of Mumtaz and Shah Jahan is a fairy tale created by court sycophants, blundering historians and sloppy archaeologists. Not a single royal chronicle of Shah Jahan'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 New York took a few samples from the riverside doorway of the Taj. Carbon dating tests revealed that the door was 300 years older than Shah Jahan.
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 Taj Mahal 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.
Sent by Mr. Aditya Jeurkar. For more detials in this regard, visit http://www.hindunet.org/hindu_history/modern/taj_oak.html and http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0961161442/qid%3D958140972/103-9701