Government archaeologists reject claim the structure was built by Hindus and that they should be allowed to worship there.
A court in India has heard testimony from government archaeologists that the Taj Mahal is a Muslim mausoleum built by a Mughal emperor to honour his dead wife – delivering an official riposte to claims it is a Hindu temple.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which protects monuments of national importance, had been ordered to give its view in response to a petition filed by six lawyers stating that the Unesco world heritage site in the city of Agra had originally been a temple called Tejo Mahalaya dedicated to the Hindu deity Shiva.
The petition also demanded that Hindus be allowed to worship in it. Only Muslims are permitted to offer prayers at the 17th-century monument.