The Uttar Pradesh government on Monday drew criticism for leaving out the Taj Mahal from the state’s official tourism booklet. Reports say the Adityanath administration has issued a clarification, saying photos of the Unesco World Heritage Site will be added to the booklet.
The brochure – released by state Tourism Minister Rita Bahuguna to mark six months of the Bharatiya Janata Party government in Uttar Pradesh – lists destinations such as the temple in Gorakhpur where Chief Minister Adityanath is the main priest. It also includes plans for new attractions, such as a tour of locations related to the Ramayana.
The Tourism Department of Uttar Pradesh said the Taj Mahal was not being neglected or marginalised. “The booklet was released only for the purposes of a press conference and is not a guide to UP’s tourism spots,” the department’s Avanish Awasthi said, according to NDTV. “It mentions new and upcoming projects of the UP Tourism Department and new focus areas.”
In July, the state government had left out the Taj Mahal from its Budget’s plans to “maintain of places of cultural and historical importance to promote tourism”. The Mughal era structure – one of the seven Wonders of the World – had no mention in the Uttar Pradesh Budget’s “Hamari Sanskritik Virasat” (Our Cultural Heritage) section and was also left out from a number of other schemes launched to develop infrastructure.
Critics called the Budget a Hindutva one, though the government’s move did not surprise many. In June, Chief Minister Adiyanath had made it clear that he did not believe that the Taj Mahal “reflected Indian culture”.