Highlights

  • Taj Mahal in news after Allahabad HC rejected BJP leader's plea
  • Plea to reopen 20 'locked rooms' to see if they house Hindu idols
  • Historian Ebba Koch said rooms were cool, recreation place for summers

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Taj Mahal case: the Allahabad High Court rejected a BJP leader's petition to ask the Archaeological Survey of India to open over 20 locked rooms to see if they house idols of Hindu gods.

The recent short-lived court case regarding the Taj Mahal's "locked rooms" has once again highlighted the conspiracy theories surrounding the 17th century monument.

The Allahabad High Court rejected a BJP leader's petition to ask the Archaeological Survey of India to open over 20 locked rooms to see if they house idols of Hindu gods.

But what is inside these mysterious rooms? Here's what historian and Taj researcher Ebba Koch told BBC.

The rooms were part of an underground chamber for summer months. 15 rooms are situated in a line along the riverfront, and are reached by a narrow corridor. 7 larger chambers extend by niches on each side, and there are 6 square-shaped rooms, 2 octagonal rooms. These are decorated with netted patterns, circles of stars, and medallions.

Watch | Allahabad High Court schools petitioner demanding opening of Taj Mahal rooms

These probably served as a cool, recreational place for the visiting Mughal emperor, but the chamber does not receive natural light now. These underground galleries are common in Mughal architecture, as per Koch.

The BBC quoted another historian, Rana Safvi, as saying that the underground rooms were open to visitors until a flood in 1978. Water had entered the mausoleum, and some of the underground rooms were silted.

Some chambers even suffered cracks, according to Safvi. The rooms have been closed for public ever since, but are opened for restoration work, according to the report.

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