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World

Taj Mahal 'not a Hindu temple'

December 1, 2015 5:37 pm

India’s government has rejected claims by a group of lawyers that the Taj Mahal monument was a Hindu temple.

Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma said the government had not found any evidence to support the claim.

The lawyers filed a petition in a court last year saying that the monument should be handed over to Hindus.

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The Taj Mahal, a 17th Century mausoleum built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, a Muslim, after his wife’s death, attracts about 12,000 visitors a day.

Six lawyers belonging to the city of Agra, where the monument is located, had told a court there was “substantial evidence” to prove that the famous monument was originally a temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva.

They had urged the court to declare the monument a Hindu temple.

The Taj Mahal was completed by Shah Jahan in 1653 as a mausoleum for his third and favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to their 14th child.

The monument’s complex structure of white marble domes and minarets inlaid with semi-precious stones and carvings is considered the finest example of Mughal art in India.

In 1983, the Taj Mahal became a Unesco World Heritage site and attracts millions of visitors each year.

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