Taj Mahal Excluded from Known Tourism Booklet?

Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal (photo: Pixabay)
By Faith MagbanuaOctober 4th, 2017

A tourist booklet, issued by the Uttar Pradesh tourism department, is currently facing controversy despite fact it is not intended to be an actual promotional brochure.

However, its omission of one of the seven wonders of the modern world has sparked anger and bemusement of many netizens. A number of journalists, politicians and activists were among those who took to social media to criticize the 17th Century mausoleum's absence in the tourist booklet. 

The history of Taj Mahal

Built in Agra between 1631 and 1648 by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, the Taj Mahal is the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage.

Mumtaz Mahal, the Emperor's dear wife, was a Muslim Persian princess (her name Arjumand Banu Begum before marriage) and Shah Jahan was the son of the Mughal Emperor Jehangir and grandson of Akbar the Great. It was at the age of 14 that he met Mumtaz and fell in love with her. Five years later, in the year 1612, they got married.

Mumtaz Mahal, an inseparable companion of Shah Jahan, died in 1631 while giving birth to their 14th child. It was in the memory of his beloved wife that Shah Jahan built a magnificent monument as a tribute to her, which is known today as the "Taj Mahal". The construction of Taj Mahal started in the year 1631.

Masons, stonecutters, inlayers, carvers, painters, calligraphers, dome-builders and other artisans were requisitioned from the whole of the empire and also from Central Asia and Iran. It took approximately 22 years to build the magnificent structure reflecting the Emperor's love and it made use of the services of 22,000 laborers and 1,000 elephants. The monument was built entirely out of white marble, which was brought in from all over India and central Asia. After an expenditure of approximately 32 million rupees, Taj Mahal was finally completed in the year 1653.

The Taj Mahal of Agra is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, for reasons more than just looking magnificent. It's the history of Taj Mahal that adds a soul to its magnificence: a soul that is filled with love, loss, remorse, and love again. Because if it was not for love, the world would have been robbed of a fine example upon which people base their relationships.

Taj Mahal as a tourist attraction

The popular tourist attraction, located in the Agra district of Uttar Pradesh, has been mentioned on Twitter more than 12,000 times in the last 24 hours.

On the other hand, the booklet has been released six months into Hindu nationalist Yogi Adityanath's tenure as chief minister of India's most populous state.

The booklet details ongoing and future tourism projects and mentions a number of famous tourist destinations, including a temple in Gorakhpur where Adityanath is the main priest.

But Adityanath's views on the Taj Mahal have previously been questioned. In June, he reportedly said the monument "did not reflect Indian culture".

Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal


Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal


"The booklet was released only for the purposes of a press conference and is not a guide to Uttar Pradesh's tourism spots," he told NDTV. "It mentions new and upcoming projects of the Uttar Pradesh tourism department, and new focus areas."

In a series of tweets, the official Utter Pradesh government account claimed that the money has also been set aside to fund development proposals for the Taj Mahal.

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