“It was Tejo Mahal, Lord Shiva’s temple, where Shahjahan 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 Shahjahan,” 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.”
On Tuesday, Yogi Adityanath said the Taj Mahal was built by the blood and sweat of Indians. “It is not necessary to go into why Taj Mahal was built, who built it, and for what purpose… What is important is that Taj Mahal was built by the blood and sweat of India’s labourers and sons),” he said.
“Its conservation, promotion for development of tourism, and providing protection and facilities for tourists who visit the monument is the Uttar Pradesh government’s responsibility… we will fulfil our duty,” he added.
Meanwhile, Governor Ram Naik also warned not to play politics over Taj Mahal. “The Taj is one of the wonders of the world and
the pride of our country. So don’t drag it into controversies and play politics over it,” he was quoted as saying.
On Sunday, speaking at an event in Meerut, BJP MLA Sangeet Som had questioned the Taj Mahal’s place in history and said his party’s governments at the Centre and state were working to erase the “blot” (kalank katha) of Akbar, Aurangzeb and Babur from history books.
His remarks came days after the Uttar Pradesh government omitted Taj Mahal from a tourism department booklet.