gay taj mahal

The Taj Mahal’s Gay Cousin: India’s Queerest Monument 

You might not be aware, but India has a somewhat wild queer history. We’re not just talking about modern India, but the entire region that used to encompass Bangladesh, Pakistan, Burma, Nepal, and Afghanistan. This location was once a melting pot of various cultures and religions, including Mughals, Sufis, Hindus, Buddhists, and, subsequently, Sikhs. And, guess what? They were all quite open about their gender and sexuality.

This openness wasn’t just in everyday life – it was a big part of their stories, art, and even religious beliefs. Let’s dive into some examples that show just how queer ancient India really was.  

The “Gay Taj Mahal”  

Heard of the Taj Mahal? What if we told you there’s another cool monument some people call the “Gay Taj Mahal”? The place is actually named Jamali-Kamali, and it’s in Delhi. They buried two men together here like a married couple about 500 years ago, making it pretty special! 

Who Were Jamali and Kamali? 

  • Jamali was a famous poet and Sufi saint 
  • Kamali… well, we’re not 100% sure, but he was probably Jamali’s close friend or lover 
  • They lived during the Lodi and Mughal periods in India 

What’s Special About It? 

  • The tomb looks like ones usually made for married couples 
  • It has a flat roof, which was typically used for women’s tombs back then 
  • Just like husbands and wives, the tomb builders placed these two men side by side. 

Why Is It Important?  

The burial of these two men together in such an important way demonstrates that society accepted same-sex relationships to a significant degree. It’s like a time capsule showing how attitudes used to be different. 

Jamali Kamali Mosque and Tomb | Delhi | Tourism | Bharat Directory

Where Can You See It? 

  • It’s in the Mehrauli Archaeological Park in Delhi 
  • The tomb is part of a bigger mosque complex 
  • You can still visit it today! 

What Does It Look Like? 

  • It’s made of red sandstone 
  • There are beautiful carvings and designs inside 
  • The architecture is a mix of Hindu and Islamic styles 

Gods and Heroes Who Broke the Rules 

In Hindu stories, gods often switch genders or have same-sex relationships. Take Krishna, for example. He’s sometimes shown as a woman flirting with other women. There’s even a painting of this from hundreds of years ago! And then there’s Bhagiratha, a famous king who was supposedly born to two moms. How cool is that? 

The OG Sex Guide  

You’ve probably heard of the Kama Sutra, right? It’s like the ultimate ancient sex manual. But did you know it talks about all kinds of relationships, including same-sex ones? It doesn’t make a big deal out of it either – it’s just part of life. 

Holding Hands and More  

Even today in India, it’s totally normal for people of the same gender to hold hands or share a bed. Society doesn’t see it as a big deal. In fact, families and communities control straight relationships more strictly, especially for women before marriage. So a lot of people end up exploring with friends of the same gender, and nobody really talks about it. 

Why Don’t We Know More?  

Well, a lot of it has to do with colonialism. When the British came to India, they brought their own strict ideas about sex and relationships. They made laws against same-sex love, which only changed in 2018! Can you believe it? 

Lost in Translation  

Indians pass down much of their culture through oral stories rather than written texts. This storytelling tradition has caused some aspects of history to get lost or change over time. Plus, some people have tried to hide or destroy art that shows same-sex love. 

Minimal Representation of “Lesbian”:

In India, there are over 100 languages, but weirdly, there’s no word for “lesbian” in any of them. This doesn’t mean these relationships didn’t exist – it’s just that people didn’t always feel the need to label everything. 

Why It Matters  

Learning about this history is super important, especially for young people figuring out their identities. It’s like finding out you have a really cool family tree full of interesting ancestors. For queer desi kids, it can be comforting to know that their culture has always included people like them. 

This is just a quick trip through India’s queer past. From gender-bending gods to the Gay Taj Mahal, our history is full of examples of diverse genders and sexualities. People often overlook this part of the culture, but it’s definitely worth knowing about. Next time someone says being queer is a “western influencer,” you can hit them with some of these facts!  

Next Read: Delhi’s Secret Queer History: A Walking Tour That’s Kinda Lit 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post The Rainbow Washing Trap: How to Spot Authentic Pride Support 
Ancient LGBTQIA+ Acceptance Tales Next post 10 Unbelievable Ancient LGBTQIA+ Acceptance Tales