Plea in Agra court no bar, preparations on for Shah Jahan Urs in Taj Mahal - Hindustan Times
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Plea in Agra court no bar, preparations on for Shah Jahan Urs in Taj Mahal

Feb 04, 2024 10:38 PM IST

The three day ‘Úrs’ is an annual event organised at the Taj Mahal and the Archaeological Survey of India waives off entry ticket for this event but this time, a petition was filed in the court of IV Additional Civil Judge (Junior Division) in Agra on Friday by the Agra unit of Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha.

Agra ::: Despite an Agra court being moved against organisation of Urs of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the Taj Mahal and free entry to the monument on the occasion, preparations are in full swing for the three-day event to be held from Tuesday. The actual graves of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal in the monument’s basement, which are otherwise out of bounds for the public, will be open for visits these three days.

Original graves in the basement of Taj Mahal. (HT FILE)
Original graves in the basement of Taj Mahal. (HT FILE)

The entry to Taj Mahal for visitors would be free of charge after 2 pm on Tuesday and Wednesday and for full day on Thursday, as in the past.

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The three day ‘Úrs’ is an annual event organised at the Taj Mahal and the Archaeological Survey of India waives off entry ticket for this event but this time, a petition was filed in the court of IV Additional Civil Judge (Junior Division) in Agra on Friday by the Agra unit of Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha.

The petitioner had sought prohibitory injunction to stop the organisers from holding the ‘Urs’ at Taj Mahal and had challenged free entry to Taj for ‘Urs’ .

The court fixed March 4 as the next date in the case. Summons were to be served on celebration committee through ameen (court messenger) in the case, according to counsel for petitioner Anil Kumar Tewari.

However, those involved with the Úrs’ are continuing with the preparations with petitioners yet to get stay on date of filing of petition.

“The Urs to be organised at Taj Mahal this week will be the 369th one . The petition moved in Agra court is irrelevant and filed without any basis with an aim to get publicity. As such we are preparing with all enthusiasm for the three-day event at Taj,” said Tahiruddin ‘Tahir’, leading the ‘Khuddam-e-Roza’ committee known for offering ‘satrangi’ (seven coloured) ‘çhadar’ on the grave of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan who built the Taj Mahal.

“This time, the length of ‘çhadar’ will be 1560 metres and it is in the last stage of preparation with admirers of Taj Mahal from different faiths contributing to it. This ‘çhadar’ will be offered on the third and last day of ‘Urs’ (Thursday) amidst traditional rituals,” he said .

Senior conservation assistant for Archaeological Survey of India, Prince Vajpayee confirmed the three-day ‘Urs’ at Taj Mahal from Tuesday onwards after 2 pm.

“Taj Mahal will remain free of entry charges after 2 pm on Tuesday and Wednesday and for full day on Thursday, as in the past,” confirmed Vajpayee.

Notably, on the first day, the basement of Taj Mahal having original graves of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and Empress Mumtaz Mahal will be opened and proceedings for ‘ghusl’ (bath) will follow with other traditional activities.

On the second day, sandalwood paste will be applied and ‘qawwali’ will be organised. On the final day, ‘chadar poshi’ (offering of ‘chadar’) will take place, according to the organisers.

It may be recalled that right wing organisations, including Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, have been claiming that Taj Mahal is a Shiva Temple called ‘Tejo Mahalaya’ and have been objecting to celebration of events like ‘Urs’ there.

The matter has been raised in various courts and a suit is pending in Agra court on this issue. The high court of Allahabad had refused to accept petitions with such claims by right wing organisations and individuals, in the recent past. However, the petitioner in the case filed in the Agra court on Friday last has not made any claim about the Taj being a temple and has challenged the authority of the committee organising the ‘Urs’ and free entry at Taj during the event , despite having no concern with Taj Mahal.

“The committee organising the ‘Urs’ is publicly claiming that there will be no entry fee for Taj Mahal during the event for three days. The defendant (celebrating committee) has no authority, concern nor any valid permission of competent authority,” alleged Sanjay Jat, spokesperson of ABHM in Agra.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Hemendra Chaturvedi is based in Agra serving as a Principal Correspondent, covering districts of Agra and Aligarh division of western Uttar Pradesh. He has been with HT since 1992 and has completed 25 year of association with HT.

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