Art & Culture

Just a myth – Shah Jahan chopped off the hands of Taj Mahal workers.

Taj Mahal is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and also one of the best architecture built in India during the Mughal rule by Shah Jahan in the 17th Century. It took almost 20 years to complete this mausoleum which was built for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. 20,000 artisans who worked under the court architect to the Emperor, Ustad Ahmad Lahauri. Mumtaz Mahal who died in 1631, Taj Mahal was commissioned by the Emperor in 1632 to house the tomb of his wife, it also houses the tomb of Shah Jahan.

There are many myths when it comes to this beautiful monument. One of the most popular urban myth is that Shah Jahan had ordered the hands of the 20,000 artisans to be chopped off so that another similar monument shall not be built by them. The historians say that there is no evidence to this claim, nor any scripture of that time say anything about it or historian or a foreign visitor of that time have seen anything of such sort happening or any skeleton remain of so many hands was found anywhere.

Online websites related to Taj Mahal does not talk about the myth anywhere, but the official website of Taj tour makes only one clarification that Shah Jahan had made an obligation to the workers that they will not be working for any other Emperor other than himself. He was known for building one of the best monuments during Mughal rule in India and it would be impractical if the Emperor had made such an order.

The myth is also contradicting to the fact of existence of Taj Ganj, built by Shah Jahan for his artisans who from all over the empire came to stay there and nurtured their artistic skills. The descendants of those workers still live there and practise the skills of their forefathers. Hence the order of Shah Jahan to chop off the hands of his workers remains a myth.

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