One of seven wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal is an hypnotic mixture of pure love with divine architecture. People who have had the luck to see the Taj even once have simply been mesmerized by just a single glimpse of it. Perhaps, the word ‘majestic’ falls short to describe this man built wonder.
The mausoleum was constructed in 1631 by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved third wife ‘Mumtaz Mahal’ who died while giving birth to their 14th child. It took more than 20 years, 1000 elephants and over 20,000 men to build this monument, which is now hailed as an epitome of true and eternal love.
Like every historical monument and fort, the Taj Mahal, too was holds many tales of love, anger, rage, hatred, friendship and wars sealed in its edifice. In fact, there are hundreds of rooms within the monument that have were sealed and lie closed since the times of Shah Jahan. The Taj Mahal is not without its share of mysteries, just like many other forts and historical tombs across our country.
Here are some interesting facts that are hidden behind the closed doors of The Taj:
1. Foundations that bear witness to Mughal vandalism.
Just beneath the marble structure, there is a sealed, crudely walled-up doorway with un-plastered bricks. This doorway is considered as one of Shah Jahan’s attempt to hide the imperial vandalism that the Mughal dynasty indulged in. It is also regarded as a cover-up of an original Hindu temple that was ravaged by the Mughals to construct the tomb. It also questions the Archaeological Survey of India role in suppressing the temple remains noticed in the structure.
2. A secret row of rooms below the 1089 rooms.
Note these arches. The style of these arches along the eastern side of the plinth are an indication that another row of rooms lie hidden below the 1089 rooms. If you closely scrutinize how the arches and the rectangular ventilators above have been sealed with marble slabs of different sizes and tints, you would naturally suspect the presence of a different set of rooms just below these. Furthermore, the seven arches enclose stairs which lead to the top of the marble plinth, symmetrically from right to left, as well as to the hundreds of rooms enclosed behind the sealed arches.
3. The rooms on the first floor are kept locked.
If you have been to the Taj Mahal, you would know that the staircases leading to the first floor are sealed. It is believed that it has been so the time Emperor Shah Jahan was alive. In the photograph given below, you can see that marbles have been stripped down from this room. It is believed that Shah Jahan himself ordered the marbles to be taken out from the first floor for constructing graves and engraving the Koran because he did not know where from to procure marble matching the splendor of the rest of the Taj Mahal.
4. The riverside view of Mumtaz’s grave gives a better perspective of what the actual building of Taj Mahal was!
While most of the tourists love to see the grave of Mumtaz Mahal from inside, there is also a riverside view of it, which is equally spectacular. However, if one inspects the entire Taj properly from there, you will notice that the four-storied marble structure has two more stories, and they are made of red sandstone. Proper examining the architecture (even by a layman) will reveal that there are hidden rooms that have been kept away from the public glare for centuries.
5. There are rooms inside the Taj with Hindu paintings frescos laid out on the walls.
A corner of one of the secret rooms just below the marble platform can be seen in this picture. Shah Jahan had even sealed the ventilators of the room but did not bother to plaster them. Had Shah Jahan made this monument as a tomb, one wonders about the purposes of having so many rooms? And even if so may rooms were constructed, why have they then been kept out off the public eye for so long?
6. The ceilings of the rooms have been painted in Hindu style.
On a closer examination of some rooms, one can see esoteric Hindu designs painted on the ceilings. Had Shah Jahan actually built these parts of the Taj Mahal, why have Hindu esoteric symbols on them? Does that mean this portion was built way before Shah Jahan erected the Taj Mahal? In fact, even now one can enter these rooms only if one can influence the archaeology department to remove the locks. Answers to this will, perhaps be kept as a secret forever!
7. Even the corridor to these secret rooms boast of Hindu wall paintings and architecture.
On the inner flank of the 22 locked rooms, there is this corridor about 12 ft broad and 300 ft long. If you carefully note the scallop design at the base of the plinth supporting the arches, you will find them to be intrinsically Hindu designs. Again, the corridor is absolutely pitch dark because there is no electricity and the ventilators were sealed hundreds of years ago on Shah Jahan’s orders.
After reading this article, do you think that the Taj Mahal hides many dark secrets that ASI should have pondered about years ago? Do you not wonder whether the ASI is hiding something from the public or is this story just based on people’s assumptions? Do let us know your views in the comments section below.