New structure near Taj Mahal unearthed

AGRA: Archaeologists have found a new structure adjoining the Taj Mahal, which according to preliminary investigations, served as a rest house for travellers. The discovery was made during excavations to determine original water levels surrounding the Taj Mahal.

``Excavations were being conducted to study original water levels here. We have found one tank in the centre of the hall, and a whole water channel system. We are making further excavations to enable us to review the entire system and find out the actual purpose of the place,'' said D. Dabhalan, chief archaeologist of the Archaeological Survey of India.

Excavations are being done since April this year.

Shyam Singh, who retired as an archaeologist with the ASI, said there was a likelihood of finding more such structures.

Black Taj Mahal

``There is a possibility that we find more structures on the eastern side and on the other bank of the Yamuna. While there has been talk of the Black Taj Mahal, we have actually found evidence of the pleasure gardens and several other elements like the central tanks. These have been developed after 1996. It is possible that we may find more structures on both sides,'' he said.

Many people believe that corresponding to the sparkling white Taj, Shah Jahan had planned to build another Taj Mahal in black marble, which was to be his own tomb on the opposite bank of the Yamuna.

The irregular position of the cenotaph of Shah Jahan as compared to that of Mumtaz Mahal is said to be proof of this assumption. — ANI

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