Lucknow: Giving a new twist to the controversy surrounding the Taj Mahal, senior BJP leader Vinay Katiyar on Wednesday said it was Lord Shiva's temple called 'Tejo Mahal' which was converted into a mausoleum by Shahjahan.
He, however, added that he does not want the monument as famous as this, which is among the wonders of the world, to be demolished.
He also has no objection to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath visiting the Taj Mahal to review tourism schemes. "It was Tejo Mahal, Lord Shiva's temple, where Shah Jahan buried his wife and turned it into a mausoleum," said, Katiyar who had been in the forefront of the Ram temple movement of Ayodhya.
"It was constructed by Hindu kings, the rooms and carvings there prove that it was a Hindu monument... it has also been termed as one by historian PN Oak," he said about the Taj. He said like a Shiva temple, water drips from the ceiling in the Taj Mahal, which is not a case in any mausoleum anywhere and is like that only on a Shivlinga.
"It was a famous monument and was grabbed by Shah Jahan," Katiyar said. "It was our temple but was made a mausoleum as they had more power.
But it is a grand monument and national heritage... people come to see it and so it should be kept safe and secure," he said.
Katiyar, who is also an accused in the Babri case, said no political meaning should be derived from today's grand Diwali celebrations in Ayodhya by the Adityanath government. "The aim is to develop Ayodhya...the effort is to recreate the scene of Lord Ram's return to Ayodhya from exile," Katiyar said, adding there is no politics behind the function as seen by the opposition.
On the issue of Ram temple construction, Katiyar hoped that the court verdict will come in a year's time as the hearing is being conducted on a day-to-day basis. "I hope some way will be found to construct Ram temple or else we can construct it on the lines of Somnath temple...We will look at the alternatives as options like dialogue or (constructing) on the lines of Somnath temple are open...but we want temple," he said.
The stone carving work for the first storey is over and that of the second storey is on, he said, adding, "As soon as we get land, we can start construction."