Yogi Adityanath takes a tour of Keetham Lake bird sanctuary
Yogi Adityanath's visit to Taj Mahal was a journey of repentance, says CPI leader Atul Anjan
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath's visit to the Taj Mahal was a journey of repentance, Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Atul Anjan said on Thursday.
The chief minister, who visited the Taj Mahal on Thursday, had gained atonement, Anjan said, recalling provocative statements on the 17th-century Mughal era monument made by Adityanath and other BJP leaders. Read more here.
'We have started cleanliness drive in Agra and this will help us in beautifying the city'
Adityanath promises new strategy to provide security to tourists
Yogi Adityanath said the Uttar Pradesh government will formulate a new police strategy to provide security to tourists. The brutal attack on the young Swiss couple has caused a stir and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj has also demanded a report from the state government.
'We believe in Athithi Devo Bhava for both Indian and foreign tourists'
"We are trying to improve connectivity in Agra and Uttar Pradesh. Indian and foreign tourists are all equal to us as 'atithis', we believe in atithi devo bhava. So we have to take strict action in the Fatehpur Sikri case," says Adityanath.
It's our job to safeguard tourism in Agra, says Adityanath
The inner ring road will be ready soon. First, we are trying to complete the schemes left pending by previous govt, says Yogi Adityanath
The onus of security and preservation of Taj Mahal lies on our shoulders, says Adityanath
'If the Supreme Court allows construction, then we plan to build a rubber dam, with a budget of around Rs 350 crore, across Yamuna'
Taj Mahal is a wonder built from blood and sweat of Indians, says Yogi Adityanath
Yogi Adityanath says, "Why go into who built Taj Mahal, rather remember that Indian labourers' blood and sweat contributed in constructing this wonder."
Tourism can be given a boost by giving more amenities and improving security, says Yogi Adityanath
Everyday 40,000-50,000 tourists come to Agra, if we can provide them adequate security, the number will rise to 2.5 Lakh - 3 Lakh: UP CM pic.twitter.com/QyvcG5YtNS— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) October 26, 2017
Adityanath says, "We are trying to complete the schemes which were left pending by the previous government"
'The number of tourists in UP has increased after we improved safety and security measures in state'
There are 5 heritage sites in Agra. We must safeguard Agra Tourism, says Yogi Adityanath
'Those who practise corruption, communal divide objected to my Taj Mahal visit'
"A lot of people objected to my visiting the Taj Mahal. These are people who practise corruption and communal divide," says Yogi Adityanath
Yogi Adityanath to start addressing jan sabha soon
Instead of sweeping the Taj Mahal, UP CM must clean people's mind in his party and Cabinet, says Asaduddin Owaisi
BJP MLA kicks up a storm, says monument built after demolishing Shiva temple
The Taj Mahal was built by demolishing a Shiva temple, a legislator from Uttar Pradesh's ruling BJP said as Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath visited the 17th century monument.
The Mughals first demolished the temple and then built the Taj Mahal, Agra North MLA Jagan Prasad Garg told reporters at the complex. Read more here.
Akhilesh Yadav calls Yogi Adityanath's visit to Taj as Lord Rama's 'kamaal'
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday made light of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath's visit to the Taj Mahal, saying it is Lord Rama's "kamaal" (wonder).
"See how time changes...BJP did not consider it as heritage...and now the CM is cleaning West Gate of Taj Mahal with a 'jhadu' (broom)," Yadav told reporters.
"It's good that SP workers from Agra have come here, otherwise they would have used broom at West Gate of Taj. He (CM) is wielding broom there. We have nothing to do with it. It is Lord Rama's 'kamaal'," he said. PTI
Manjul points out the irony of it all
Speaking in June 2017, Adityanath had said that the UNESCO world heritage site in Agra isn't Indian enough. The context of his comments was regarding gifts and souvenirs given to foreign dignitaries visiting the nations. "Foreign dignitaries visiting the country used to be gifted replicas of the Taj Mahal and other minarets which did not reflect Indian culture... This is the first time this has happened that when India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi goes abroad, or any foreign president visits India, he is gifted the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita or the Ramayan," Adityanath said, reported The Telegraph. He also said, "Whenever Ramayan is gifted to any foreign president, that exhibits the history of Bihar."
The Taj has been India’s perennial cash cow for tourism. Almost 70 percent of visitors to India and domestic tourists have the monument on their must-see list. In fact, say tour operators, visitors choosing the most popular Golden Triangle, the Delhi-Agra-Jaipur route, often skip Jaipur but rarely has there been any one who wanted to skip Agra and consequently the Taj Mahal.
"We have had foreign tourists who have booked the Golden Triangle and then skipped Jaipur and its palaces and forts and extended their time at Agra to see the Taj Mahal,” said Dipak Deva, Managing Director, TCI SITA, Thomas Cook India Group.
Yogi to address a jana sabha after his visit
As part of his schedule for today, Yogi will also address a jana sabha (public meeting) after he finishes his Taj Mahal visit.
Yogi accompanied by dozens of officials and police commandos wore yellow gloves, a white cap and an anti- pollution mask to sweep litter at the west gate of the Taj Mahal along with 500 BJP members.
Over 14,000 policemen have been deployed across the city for the Adityanath's security, who arrived in Agra early Thursday morning.
Yogi reaches Taj Mahal
The UP chief minister is inside the Taj Mahal complex. He is now near the eastern gate, according to CNN-News18.
Yogi laid the foundation stone for the renovation of Shahjahan park and the building of Agra Fort-Taj Mahal walkway under the World Bank-suported pro-poor development project
शाहजहां पार्क के पुनर्जीविकरण व आगरा किला- ताज महल के मध्य पैदल पथ के विकास योजना का शिलान्यास किया। 2/2 pic.twitter.com/mTAU102DJE— CM Office, GoUP (@CMOfficeUP) October 26, 2017
Yogi Adityanath has also been pushing to develop Ayodhya as a site of religious tourism. While declaring that a grand Diwali event is being organised in Ayodhya, he said that he wants to recreate it to match its past.
After Sangeet Som declared that the Taj Mahal was a "blot on India culture", Adityanath distanced himself from the remark saying that it does not matter who built it and for what reason. "It was built by blood and sweat of Indian labourers." Adityanath had said that his visit to Agra was pre-planned and has nothing to do with Som's comments.
He has said it is part of the government's efforts to develop religious tourism circuit that would include other major centres like Vrindavan, Varasani, Mathura. The Taj Mahal has been mired in controversies and he wants to stop that because it is the most important tourist places, he had added.
The Taj Mahal's metamorphosis into a punching bag is complete. Political leaders across the spectrum seem to have participated in a competition to determine who can make the most disparaging comments about the 16th century mausoleum.
With so many comments and so many conspiracy theories about how exactly the Taj Mahal came into being, it's almost impossible to know the actual version of things. But if the Archaeological Survey of India's (ASI) version is to be believed — and it should be, for it is the definitive word on historical monuments in the country — the Taj Mahal is most definitely a tomb and not a temple.
Amid several controversial remarks made by BJP leaders and ministers regarding the status of the 17th century monument in India's culture, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath reached Agra on Thursday morning.
Adityanath is the first BJP chief minister of Uttar Pradesh to visit the Taj Mahal.
Adityanath wields broom
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) October 26, 2017
Yogi Adityanath, along with BJP workers and social activists, took part in a cleanliness drive outside the western gate of Taj Mahal.
Adityanath's schedule today
According to his schedule, Adityanath will stay for half an hour at the graves of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal and visit the Shah Jahan park nearby. The chief minister will inspect various places along the way, inside and outside the monument.
He will also lay foundation for the development of a tourist pathway from Taj Mahal to Agra Fort. He will also run a mega cleanliness campaign along with 500 BJP activisits and social workers around the west gate of Taj Mahal.
The chief minister has already declared that the state government will spend Rs 370 crore on development plans aimed at promoting tourism in the city of Taj. Along with the visit to Taj Mahal, Adityanath will inaugurate various development projects in Agra, an official spokesman said.
"During his tour of Agra.., the chief minister will be visiting all the places inside Taj Mahal," principal secretary, tourism, Awanish Awasthi said.
Who said what
Adityanath's visit to the Taj comes after series of controversies which erupted beginning with the Uttar Pradesh tourism department booklet not mentioning the monument in its list of development projects in the state. Soon after, BJP leader Sangeet Som called the Taj Mahal "a blot on Indian history" and the makers of the monument "traitors." That was just the start.
Reacting to Sangeet Som’s remarks, Yogi Adityanath said it doesn’t matter who built Taj Mahal, but added it built by the "blood and sweat of Indians".
However, addressing a rally in Gorakhpur recently, Yogi Adityanath called Taj Mahal the “pride of India” and referred to it as a “world class monument”. This was a significant departure from his remarks at a rally in Bihar last year, when he had said that the Taj does not represent Indian culture and that visiting foreign dignitaries should be presented with the Gita rather than replicas of Taj Mahal.
BJP leaders, including Vinay Katiyar, Subramanian Swamy and Anil Vij, have weighed in on the matter.
Swamy said Shah Jahan "stole" the Taj Mahal from the king of Jaipur. "There is evidence on record that Shah Jahan forced the Raja-Maharajas of Jaipur to sell the land on which Taj Mahal is standing, and he gave them a compensation of forty villages, which is nothing compared to the property's value," Swamy was quoted as saying by The Times of India.
Katiyar said that Taj Mahal used to be a temple of Lord Shiva before it was captured by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, according to media reports.
In an interview with CNN-News18, when asked about Yogi Adityanath's scheduled visit to the Taj Mahal in Agra, Katiyar refused to call the monument by its name and said, "It is Tejo Mahal. Taj Mahal used to be a temple of Shankar. Shah Jahan then buried his wife there." He added: "Hindu kings had built the Tejo Mahal. It was so famous that Shah Jahan later captured it."
A minister said it could be replaced by the Guru Gorakhnath peeth instead. The minister in charge of religious affairs and culture, Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary, said that keeping out the Taj Mahal was necessary because the current government in Uttar Pradesh is "rashtravadi (nationalist)" and runs 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... On the other hand, Gorakhnath peeth represents people's faith," Chaudhary had further added.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Oct 26, 2017 19:05:12 IST
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