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The Taj Mahal

The Taj Conspiracy
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The Taj Mahal stills stands as immaculately today as it did when it was first constructed. So the story goes, it was built by the Mogul Emperor Shah-Jahan between 1631 and 1645 in memory of his favourite wife. The mausoleum, it is said, still contains the crypt where she was eventually laid to rest. The emperor had made plans to build a black marble replica for his own mausoleum on the opposite bank of the Yamuna River, but only the foundations were laid before he was imprisoned at Agra Fort, in full view of the Taj Mahal, by his son. He stayed imprisoned for the remainder of his life, where he eventually died 1666.

Recently it has been suggested that the Taj Mahal was not built specifically as a mausoleum, but is in fact an ancient Hindu temple that had been 'captured' and converted by the Emperor. In fact, there is extremely strong evidence to suggest that the building actually predates the Emperor's era by some 300 years!! There are many rooms and compartments that have apparently remained sealed from the day of the Emperor and it is believed that these contain many artefacts and objects of worship that prove the Taj Mahal was indeed a temple.

Unfortunately, the Indian Government are reluctant to have these opened and investigated by independent international experts as the more 'romantic' story of a monument built for the love of a wife suits the tourist industry and the political and religious climate. In fact, a book written by Professor P. N. Oak that detailed these claims was banished from Indian bookstores by the Government as they feared a political and religious backlash.

Whatever the story, it is still an impressive building and it is almost impossible to believe that the marble blocks that make up this monument are held together by nothing more than a sticky resin. The four columns on each corner actually lean away from the monument, to prevent any damage to the main building should they fall.

Built in pure white marble, the exterior is inlaid with semi-precious stones that are arranged in various designs; from floral to Arabic inscriptions. The dome of the Taj Mahal itself is some 80 feet high and 50 feet wide. Inside, the tomb itself is octagonal in shape and contains two crypts, that are in fact empty. The Emperor and his wife are actually buried in an underground tomb.

You really cannot appreciate the size and scale of the monument without standing there for yourself and, should you get the opportunity to visit, I recommend that you arrive there early in the morning and avoid the massive crowds that accumulate later in the day. I visited twice in the same day; early morning, arriving before sunrise and again later in the afternoon. Without a doubt, the best time (for me) was at around 7am at sunrise. As the sun rises over the monument, it causes the dome to appear to change colours and light up in an iridescent glow. Obviously, you will have to take account of the time of year. I visited in November when the sun rise is later than in earlier months of the year.

Article taken from A Way Away with permission.  Written and researched by Bruce. L. Chant.

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