A VISIT TO A HISTORICAL MONUMENT THE TAJ
One has to a tune one’s mind while passing from spiritual faith to mortal love. Holy Haridwar and Rhishikesh, the abodes of Saints were left miles and miles behind. I was sailing on the clouds of fancy. My soul was pining to see the monument that has immortalized the love between Shahjahan and Mumtaz Begum. My impatience changed into curiosity when I came across the board ‘Taj View’. On the other side of the Jumna the ‘Dream in Marble’ appeared at a distance and was gone in a minute. An hour – and we would be face to face with this seventeenth century monument. Entering the huge red stone gate you reach a platform, and the whole panorama of Taj complex is before you. A few stairs down – the canal leads you to the glamorous building. It is flanked by Cyprus trees. There are fountains in the middle. But they do not sprout as those of the Vrindavan Gardens do. They are the serene symbols of a tomb.
The Taj stands on a raised platform. The octagonal shining white building has a perfect symmetry. In the big hall Shahjahan enjoys eternal sleep with his wife Mumtaz. The two graves are surrounded with a beautiful marble lattice. There is a corridor of rooms around the hall. Everything is superb and graceful. On the four corners of the platform are four minarets standing like four sentries in sparkling white robes. River Yamuna washes its feet on the other side.
The majesty stuck me. It was a dream realized. But dreams are dreams after all. I was lost in the beauty and height of the dome when someone put his hand on my shoulders. ‘Isn’t it beautiful?’ the man asked. ‘Oh! It’s marvelous’ I replied.
“But its marvel lies not in being a tomb but a temple,” he said taking me to another side. There was a full length copy of the shining metal structure above the dome. It comprised of a trident (Trishul), a sacred coco-nut, two mango leaves, a ‘Kalash’ and the moon as on the forehead of Lord Shiva.
He took me to other buildings. All the borders were cut or engraved with the figures of ‘Trishul’ and snakes, the symbols of Lord Shiva. The middle aged man told me that two American Archaeologists took two pieces of marble from the main building. After latest chemical process they have proved that the Taj was built in the 12th century and not the seventeenth. It is the fifth Shiva temple of Agra built by King Parmardi Dev. He gave me a pamphlet having 42 reasons, and left.
I was rather stunned. The dream was lost in confusion. I just thought the Government does not explode the myth only because the Taj is the source of one third of the total tourist income of the country. A temple won’t attract these crowds and we do not want to displease a community.