12-Foot Minaret At Entry Of Taj Mahal Collapses After Heavy Rain

| April 12 , 2018 , 09:49 IST

A freak storm on Wednesday night with winds moving with a velocity of more than 130 km per hour, did lasting damage to the majestic Taj Mahal of Agra, the pride of India which has tourists coming from all corners of the world.

A 12-foot minaret which forms part of the main gate to the Taj Mahal was blown away by winds and fell crashing down, while one of the small white domes of the monument was damaged as well.

The minaret has a metal finial and is a part of the main gate known as the 'Darwaza-e-rauza' which is built primarily of marble and gives the first glimpse of the Taj Mahal to tourists.

Previously in 2016, another one of the minarets of the Taj Mahal was reportedly damaged. While some reports claimed that the minarets were likely affected during cleaning work that was underway, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) then blamed monkeys for weakening it.

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In order to protect the Taj Mahal which has been showing signs of ageing and deterioration, the ASI has announced a cap on the amount of tourists visiting the monument to 40,000 daily, in comparison to the 60,000 -70,000 that visit during peak tourist season. The entry to Taj Mahal has also been restricted to 3 hours, so as to protect the heritage site from heavy human load.

The construction of the Taj Mahal was reportedly completed in 1643, and was commissioned by Mughal Shah Jahan as a tomb for his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for being "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage".