Is Taj Mahal dying a slow death?

The Taj Mahal has been losing its charm. In the last 30 years the Taj Mahal has become darker. The cracks, and decaying marble are becoming more visible.

The guides working in Agra are facing tough questions from foreign tourists on maintenance of the Taj.

It’s foundations are weakening and cracks are becoming larger, and deeper in the marble dome and the monument. The upper parts of the minarets are on the verge of collapse. In high winds earlier this year, two pillars on an outer building fell to the ground.

Environmentalist approached the Supreme Court of India and put to spot the agencies involved with maintaining and restoring the Taj Mahal.

Oil refineries operating close to the Taj Mahal for over 50 years now. The Sulphur dioxide (SO2) emitted from these refineries has deteriorated the color of the Taj Mahal. The Government has banned use of coal and diesel in the entire city of Agra.

Not only air but the stretch of the Yamuna river which passes through Agra is one of the most polluted waterways in the world. Industries along the river from Delhi to Agra have been draining their chemical and other waste directly into the river. The insects breed in such dirty waters, their droppings also discolour the monument.

The Taj Mahal’s foundations is laid on 180 wells and wooden bases, which require water all year round. If the foundation isn’t watered all year round, the wood below will eventually dry up, break and rot.

Dams and barrages along the Yamuna has reduced the river flow. For the Taj to be saved the Yamuna needs to be restored.

This time around the Supreme Court will conduct regular hearing on the Taj Mahal. It has taken cognizance of the apathy of the civic agencies towards the 7th Wonder of the World. It questioned the agencies and asked if it could not maintain the monument, demolish it. The commissioner of the Agra is responsible for the restoration of the Taj Mahal.

The authorities have capped the number of visitors visiting the Taj Mahal and would cover the the Taj with a herbal pack (mud pack) to maintain the mega monument.

However experts believe this is too little.

(With some inputs from the bbc)