Was Taj Mahal a Vedic Temple?

by Philip Varghese

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Author Stephen Knapp, in his website claims that he has photographic evidence to prove that the Taj Mahal was a vedic temple.

We have all heard how the Taj Mahal, which is considered one of the great seven wonders of the world was built as the preeminent expression of a man’s love for a wife. That it was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in commemoration of his wife Mumtaz. However, in his continuous effort to get to the truth, author Stephen Knapp has recently acquired some very important documents and information on Taj Mahal which has been listed on his website -- www.stephen-knapp.com.

Stephen studied with Swami Prabhupada and was given the name Nandanandana dasa. He became initiated into the spiritual line of Brahma-madhava-gaudiya sampradaya. He is also the president of the Vedic Friends Association.

In his website, Stephen presents photographs that show Vedic influence found in the Taj Mahal. It also presents photos of drawings and art that have been discovered from other parts of the world, such as Arabia, Egypt, Greece and Italy, which show a definite Vedic influence.

Accord to Stephen-Knapp, there is evidence that the Taj Mahal was never built by Shah Jahan. “Some say the Taj Mahal pre-dates Shah Jahan by several centuries and was originally built as a Hindu or vedic temple or palace complex. Shah Jahan merely acquired it from its previous owner, the Hindu King Jai Singh. This controversy is something I have explained more thoroughly in my book, “Proof of Vedic Culture’s Global Existence.” So, for those who want to know the details of this issue, you can find it there.

And here is the photographic evidence that will provide greater insights into this. The point to consider is how much more of India’s history has been distorted if the background of such a grand building is so inaccurate,” says stephen-knapp in website.

According to the website, the rare photographs are taken from an album that was found and then smuggled out of India. On the back of each photo there is a stamp mark that says, “Archaeology Survey of India.” This signifies their authenticity and that they were the property of that institution. “This means a number of things: That the Archaeology Survey of India (ASI) has been researching the evidence that proves the Taj Mahal and many other buildings were not of Muslim origin, and that they know this information but still remain silent about it. It also shows that in spite of this evidence they refuse to open up further research that would reveal the true nature and originality of the buildings, and lead to understanding another part of the real history and glory of India,” the website says.

These photos are black and white and were found in a simple photo album in India. Except for old age and some water damage on some of them (creating white spots in areas), most are still in relatively good condition.

The Letter of Aurangzeb

This is supposed to be a copy of the original letter from Aurangzeb himself written in 1652, complaining of the extensive repairs that are in need of being done on the Taj Mahal. He says that several rooms on the second storey, the secret rooms and tops of the seven storey ceilings have all absorbed water through seepage and are so old that they were all leaking, and the dome had developed a crack on the northern side. This was in spite of the fact that the rumour is that the Taj was built in 1653. The logic of this is that Mumtaz was supposed to have died around 1631, and it is said that it took 22 years to build the Taj. However, in the letter herein Aurangzeb ordered immediate repairs at his expense while recommending to the emperor that more elaborate repairs such as the roof be opened up and redone with mortar, bricks and stone.

Aurangzeb’s letter is recorded in at least three chronicles titled ‘Aadaab-e-alamgiri ‘, ‘Yaadgaarnama ‘and the ‘ Muraaqqa-I-Akbarabadi ‘ (edited by Said Ahmad, Agra, 1931, page 43, footnotes 2).

In any case, if the Taj was a new building, there would no doubt not be any need for such extensive repairs.

Locked Rooms in Taj Mahal

Such are the rooms on the 1st floor of the marble structure of the Taj Mahal. The two staircases leading to this upper floor are kept locked and barred since Shahjahan’s time. The floor and the marble walls of such upper floor rooms can be seen in the picture to have been stripped of its marble panels. Shahjahan used that uprooted marble from the upper floor for constructing graves and engraving the Koran because he did not know wherefrom to procure marble matching the splendour of the rest of the Taj Mahal. He was also so stingy as not to want to spend much even on converting a robbed Hindu temple into an Islamic mausoleum.

The Badshahnama

Here is a copy of a page of the Badshahnama, the history of Shah Jahan, the so-called builder of the Taj Mahal. This is from the Government of India’s National Archives, and available from the instituional libraries dealing with the medieval history of India. This is supposed to have been written by the emperor’s chronicler, the Mullah Abdul Hamid Lahori. It describes the site of the Taj Mahal as being full of majestic and lush gardens just south of the city (Agra). It goes on to say that the palace of Raja Mansingh, which was owned by his grandson Raja Jaisingh, was selected as the place for the burial of the queen Mumtaz. This means, of course, that Shah Jahan never built the Taj Mahal but only acquired it from the previous owner, who was Jaisingh.

Bricked Doorways of Chambers

Many such doorways of chambers in secret stories underneath the Taj Mahal have been sealed with brick and lime. Concealed inside could be valuable evidence such as Sanskrit inscriptions, Hindu idols, the original Hindu model of the Taj, the desecrated Shiva Linga, Hindu scriptures and temple equipment. Besides such sealed chambers there are many which are kept locked by the Government. The Public must raise its voice to have these opened or it should institute legal proceedings. Shree P. N. Sharma of Green Park, New Delhi who peeped through an aperture in these chambers in 1934 A.D. saw a pillared hall with images carved on the pillars.

‘OM’ in the flowers on the walls

This is the Dhatura flower essential for Hindu Shiva worship. The flower is depicted in the shape of the sacred, esoteric Hindu incantation ‘OM.’ Embossed designs of this blooming ‘OM’ are drawn over the exterior of the octagonal central sanctorum of Shiva where now a fake grave in Mumtaz’s has been planted. While perambulating around the central chamber one may see such ‘OM’ designs.

Mumtaz’s Grave

Mumtaz is supposed to be buried in this garden pavilion of the ancient Hindu palace (Ahu Mahal) 600 miles from Agra, in Burhanpur. Another version says that Mumtaz’s corpse was kept here exposed to sun, rain, and wild beasts for six months. The date of her death, the date of her removal from Burhanpur to Agra, and the date of her assumed burial in the Taj Mahal are all unknown because the entire Taj Mahal-Mumtaz legend is a concoction from the beginning to end.

The entrance of Taj Mahal

The apex of the lofty entrance arch on all four sides of the Taj Mahal bears this red lotus and white trident-indicating that the building originated as a Hindu temple. The Koranic lettering forming the middle strip was grafted after Shahjahan seized the building from Jaipur state’s Hindu ruler.

The Pinnacles of Taj Mahal

The full scale figure of the pinnacle on the dome has been inlaid on the red stone courtyard of the Taj Mahal. One may see it to the east at the foot of the riverside arch of the flanking building wrongly dubbed as Jamiat Khana (community hall) by Muslim usurpers. Such floor sketches in courtyards are a common Hindu trait. In Fatehpur Sikri it is the backgammon board which is sketched on a central courtyard. The coconut top and the bent mango leaves underneath, resting on a kalash (i.e. a water pot) is a sacred Hindu motif. Hindu shrines in the Himalayan foothills have identical pinnacles [especially noticed at Kedarnath, a prominent Shiva temple. The eastern location of the sketch is also typically Hindu. The length measures almost 32 ft.

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