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Today, the same claims have been taken up by some members of the ruling BJP, the Hindu nationalist party led by prime minister Narenda Modi.

Lakshmikant Bajpayee, the BJP president of Uttar Pradesh state, where the monument is located, said in December that the Taj Mahal was an ancient temple that was sold by Hindu king Jai Singh to Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor widely believed to have built it.

That, though, has not stopped his writings being widely circulated online.

As British historian William Dalrymple noted, Hindu supremacists "have found it hard to believe that such a masterpiece was built by the same Muslims they despised”.

While government ministers have now been forced to pour cold water on the claims, some in the tourism industry surrounding the Taj Mahal believe the damage is already being done.