Lal has no sympathy for such opinions: "The Marxist historians..is their faith to oppose anything about ancient Hindu culture," he says dismissively.
"I strayed into archaeology," says Lal, narrating the fascinating story of how he, academically bright and coming from middle-class, government servant stock, relied on scholarships and took tuitions to fund his higher education.
Considered one of the marvels in world architecture, it comes as no surprise that Taj Mahal also features on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites.
It was included in the list in 1983 for being "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage".
“The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity” –according to the UNESCO website.
In this context, the organisation identifies areas, monuments or landmarks which have special cultural, scientific, physical significance and are protected by international treaties.