Agra : Claiming that the Taj Mahal, the 16th century ‘monument of love’ built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, was actually a Shiva temple, activists of the rightwing Shiv Sena have announced plans to hold Hindu ceremonies there.
“The urs of Shah Jahan is being organised from Aug 9 in the Taj Mahal. If they can be allowed to perform religious rites, why can’t we also be permitted to conduct puja during the holy month of Sawan,” Veenu Lavania, Shiv Sena chief in Agra, told reporters here Saturday.
Shiv Sena members had last year performed a symbolic arti outside the Taj after security forces prevented them from entering the site that is protected as an ancient monument by the Archaeological Survey of India.
“There are sufficient proofs to establish that the Taj Mahal was originally a Shiva temple. The land for the Taj belonged to the royal family of Jaipur and later it was in the possession of the Rangji temple of Vrindavan,” Lavania said.
Shiv Sainiks said they would launch a worldwide signature campaign to press their demand to rename Taj Mahal as Tejolaya, a temple of Lord Shiva – one of the gods in the Hindu trinity.
Lavania warned authorities not to prevent or interfere with their programme. There was no immediate official reaction to the announcement.