In 1830, the British Governor of India, Lord William Bentinck, in the 1830s, thought of demolishing the Taj Mahal and auction off the marble to the landed English gentry of that time.
Even the demolition crew and machinery had entered the grounds and were ready to begin work but were only stopped because Bentinck was unable to make the scheme financially viable. Earlier auctions of marbles hadn’t succeeded, so it was felt that this would be useless.
Although some discard this story, yet Archaeological Survey of India still does believe that a sale by the British East India Company was planned under Lord Bentinck, which failed as no satisfactory buyers could be found. In any case, William Bentinck did auction off marble from the Agra Fort earlier to that, which may have led to this story – or attempt as well.
Imagine if earlier marble auction had succeeded? Taj would have been gone forever.
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