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Black Taj Mahal: Real story of second Taj

  • Dailybhaskar.com
  • Dec 12, 2013, 12:42 PM IST
Black Taj Mahal: Real story of second Taj
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Taj Mahal is a monument built for the symbol of true love. Taj Mahal was hailed as the ‘Epitome of Love and Beauty’; the great monument was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, after the death of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, as a memorial. However, there is a myth that surrounds Taj Mahal. Today we will tell you about it. Click this slide show for more….

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    Black Taj Mahal: Real story of second Taj

    It is said that after building the Taj Mahal, Shah Jahan had decided to build another monument in black marbles that would be exactly be identical to the Taj Mahal. This was to act as his burial place, as his own mausoleum. He decided to construct it opposite to the bank of the River Yamuna and connect the two monuments by a beautiful decorated bridge. Shah Jahan began to build the tomb, but the war with Aurangzeb (his son) interrupted his plan. 

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    Black Taj Mahal: Real story of second Taj

    Aurangzeb was not too keen on completing it afterwards. Shah Jahan spent the remaining eight years of his life under imprisonment looking at the Taj Mahal. Black Taj Mahal- the other half of the wonder became only a dream of Shah Jahan.
     

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    Black Taj Mahal: Real story of second Taj

    According to the Black Taj myth, Shah Jahan had planned to build mirror image of the Taj Mahal he built for Mumtaz, albeit in black, on the other side of the river and connect the two by a bridge. This Black Taj was to be dedicated to Shah Jahan himself. A European traveler by the name of Jean Baptiste Tavernier who visited Agra in 1665 first mentioned the idea of Black Taj in his fanciful writings. More credibility to the story is added by an observation made by archeologists in 2006, when they reconstructed part of the pool in the moonlit garden and it reflected a dark reflection of the white mausoleum. The writings of Tavernier mention that Shah Jahan began to build his own tomb on the other side of the river, but could not complete it as he was deposed by his own son Aurangzeb.

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    Black Taj Mahal: Real story of second Taj

    Fuel to the fire is further added as some scholar suggests that the blackened marbles in Mehtab Bagh that lie on the other side of the river are actually grim remains and foundations of an abandoned plan. On the other hand, other section of scholars totally dismiss the theory of Black Taj as it was discovered that the black marble remains in the Mehtab Bagh are not natural black, but have become black over the course of time due to staining and wear and tear. Also, Mehtab Bagh was built by the first Mughal Emperor Babur, years before construction of Taj Mahal even started. 

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    Black Taj Mahal: Real story of second Taj

    The theory is once again dismissed by some scholars who believe that if Shah Jahan wanted to build a Black Taj Mahal, he would have started working on it immediately after completion of the first Taj Mahal in 1653, after which he had 5 years before he got arrested. While historians continue to argue over it, the idea of a Black Taj standing in front of the White Taj certainly keeps the anticipations and imaginations on a high.
     

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    Black Taj Mahal: Real story of second Taj

    Many scholars, however, believe that this is a myth and has no relation to truth. The traces, which are identified as the foundations of the second Taj, are actually the enclosing wall of a garden founded by Babur. The irregular position of Shah Jahan's cenotaph in comparison to Mumtaz Mahal's, is similar to that at the Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah, and thus should not be of any striking significance. Besides, according to Islamic law, bodies are buried with their faces towards Mecca and legs towards the south, and the husband is placed on the right hand side of his wife. 

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    Black Taj Mahal: Real story of second Taj

    The interpretation that the cenotaph of Shah Jahan was not meant to be placed here appears to be superfluous many scholars, however, believe that this is a myth and has no relation to truth. The traces, which are identified as the foundations of the second Taj, are actually the enclosing wall of a garden founded by Babur. The irregular position of Shah Jahan's cenotaph in comparison to Mumtaz Mahal's, is similar to that at the Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah, and thus should not be of any striking significance. Besides, according to Islamic law, bodies are buried with their faces towards Mecca and legs towards the south, and the husband is placed on the right hand side of his wife. The interpretation that the cenotaph of Shah Jahan was not meant to be placed here appears to be superfluous.

     

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