Agra: Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary, a cabinet-ranked minister in the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh on Monday said the 17th-century monument was included in the list of world wonders because United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Mughals shared same taste and mentality.
“Those who included the monument in that list must have been of similar taste (Mejaz) as those who built it", the minister said in reply to a question.
As reported by the Times of India, Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary , the minister in charge of religious affairs and culture, also said that Taj Mahal was “rightly kept out of the state's tourism booklet and it should instead be replaced with the Guru Gorakhnath peeth“.
He claimed the move was necessary as the present UP government was “rashtravadi (nationalist)“ and run on “dharm niti (religious policy)“.
“Taj Mahal is not the symbol of any religion and (it is) nobody's. It does not represent any religion,“ Chaudhary said at an event in Hathras organised by Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
The absence of the Taj Mahal from the UP government's booklet on ongoing and future tourism projects had triggered a massive outcry last week.
The 32-page glossy booklet titled 'Uttar Pradesh Paryatan-Apaar Sambhavanaayein' UP Tourism-Unlimited Possibilities, which has the iconic Ganga Aarti of Varanasi as its cover image, but Taj Mahal, the most prominent and popular one, could not find a place.
Interestingly, one page of the booklet has also been dedicated to the Gorakhnath temple, of which UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath is the presiding priest.
Yogi Adityanath had recently criticized the custom of gifting Taj Mahal to foreign dignitaries saying the monument doesn't represent Indian culture.