A cabinet minister in Uttar Pradesh on Monday said the Taj Mahal was “rightly kept out (of a tourism booklet) and should be replaced with the Guru Gorakhnath peeth”, the Times of India reported.
The state government drew criticism last week for leaving out the 17th-century monument, which is also a World Heritage Site, from Uttar Pradesh’s official tourism booklet.
“Taj Mahal is not a symbol of any religion and is nobody’s,” Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary, the minister in charge of religious affairs and culture, said. He claimed leaving it out was necessary, as the state government was “rashtravadi” (nationalist) and ran on “dharm niti” (religious policy), the newspaper report said. The Gorakhnath peeth, on the other hand, “represents people’s faith”, Chaudhary said.
Chaudhary said those who called the Taj Mahal a wonder of the world “must have been of a similar taste (mizaz) as those who built it”.
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, like a tour of locations related to the Ramayana.
After reports of the monument being left out created a stir on October 2, the Adityanath administration issued a clarification saying its photos will be added to the booklet.