The Taj Mahal is an architectural marvel, a wonder of the world and, for the Samajwadi Party, also a much visited monument that generates employment for a large number of people, says party president Akhilesh Yadav.
Yadav visited the Taj Mahal with his wife and children to see the white marble mausoleum on the full moon night of Sharad Poornima yesterday, when the moon is believed to be especially luminous.
Yadav was eloquent in his praise of the 17th century monument built by Mughal emperor Shahjahan to honour the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal.
"Undoubtedly, Taj Mahal is an architectural beauty for all of us. But along with that, I think there will not be any monument in the world that will have a story about a person building a monument in memory of his beloved. Hence, it occupies a space in the wonders of the world."
He said the Taj Mahal reminds us of our history. "However, it depends on which side of history you position yourself. If I presume that the entire world will be in darkness, since there is night in Agra, it will be wrong. If there is night here, then there will be morning or afternoon in another part of the world. It depends what you want to see," the Samajwadi Party chief said.
Yadav had earlier in the day been unanimously re-elected Samajwadi Party's national president for a five-year term, further consolidating his grip over the party after sidelining his father Mulayam Singh Yadav and uncle Shivpal Yadav.
His comments come soon after reports in a section of the media that a booklet brought out by the tourism department of the Uttar Pradesh government left out the Taj Mahal from its list of major tourist destinations.
Following the reports, the state government issued a press release stating, "Tourism projects worth Rs 370 crore are proposed, under which schemes worth Rs 156 crore are meant for the Taj Mahal and its surrounding areas in Agra."
Yadav also recalled his first trip to see the Taj Mahal by night.
"Netaji (Mulayam Singh Yadav) was the UP Chief Minister, and after a lot of efforts, the Supreme Court had allowed night viewing of Taj Mahal for tourists... Today, when the children are here with me, they are more excited than me," he said.
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