Earlier this year, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath allegedly claimed that the Taj Mahal did not reflect the Indian culture. The controversial statement triggered criticism when the Taj Mahal was not featured in the tourism booklet of Uttar Pradesh. The brochure released by the state predominantly portrays the cultural significance of the places closely associated with the Hindu religion. Being considered as one of the seven wonders of the world, Taj Mahal fails to appear in the latest brochure titled Apaar Sambhavnaye which means “Boundless Possibilities”. The booklet was released to commemorate the World Tourism Day.
The cover page highlighted the Ganga Aarthi in Varanasi while promoting other destinations of religious significance. Adityanath apparently states that the Indian heritage and culture is rightly represented by the Ramayana and the Bhagavad Gita. The chief minister of Uttar Pradesh condemned the practice of gifting foreign dignitaries with the replica of the Taj Mahal. He denounced the monument’s association with the Indian culture.
Taj Mahal Omitted from Budget Plans
Additionally, the State omitted the Taj Mahal from its budget plans in the context of “maintaining places of cultural and historical importance to promote tourism”. The monument did not appear in in the special section of Hamari Sanskritik Virasat which refers to “Our Cultural Heritage”. The relevance of the Mughal structure was not considered in several developmental schemes. In fact, the schemes were implemented to ensure infrastructural development in the State. The booklet was released to indicate the sixth month of the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh. The brochure predominantly features Yogi Adityanath, tourism minister Rita Bahuguna and religious tourism attractions.
Government Claims to Focus on Development of Upcoming Projects
The government claims that it deliberately excluded the Taj Mahal from the booklet. According to the state, the booklet is meant to feature projects currently undertaken by the government. This initiative is taken to increase the tourist attractions of the state. Director General of Uttar Pradesh stated that the booklet was a representation of the upcoming projects and not a collection of major attractions. Tourism minister Rita Bahuguna supported claims that also suggested the efforts taken to focus on the developmental progress of the state. She claimed that the development of the Taj Mahal is indeed the state’s priority.