Tags: taj mahal | minarets | destroyed | storm

Taj Mahal Minarets Destroyed By Strong Winds During Storm

Taj Mahal Minarets Destroyed By Strong Winds During Storm
People gather around base of the Royal Gate entrance at the Taj Mahal complex next to a fallen pillar that collapsed during a storm in Agra on April 12, 2018. (AFP/Getty Images)

Thursday, 12 April 2018 05:58 PM

Two Taj Mahal minarets were destroyed Wednesday in a violent storm. 

The 4-meter-high sandstone minarets topped by ornate spires were left in chunks after being felled by strong winds, underscoring the fragility of the centuries-old marble monument to love, according to AFP.

"Two decorative pillars collapsed last night amid high-velocity winds. One of the pillars stood at the royal gate, and the other at the southern gate," an official from the Archaeological Survey of India told AFP.

None of the four white marble minarets surrounding the Taj -- or the spectacular shimmering mausoleum itself -- were damaged in the storm, authorities said.

Tourists often get their first glimpse of the Taj -- a UNESCO world heritage site -- through the royal gate, a grand fortress-like entrance made largely of red sandstone. It was flanked by two imposing minarets before the storm brought one crashing down.

Footage showed the stone pillars lying in large broken pieces, the distinct spire still intact but separated cleanly from the shaft. Nobody was injured by the falling steeples, authorities said.

Mughal emperor Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal as a tomb for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth in 1631.

The Taj -- one of the world's most popular tourist attractions -- is beset by problems from air pollution yellowing the marble to insects leaving green stains on its rear wall.

Efforts to restore its grandeur have dragged into a fourth year, with scaffolding marring the view for the 10,000-plus tourists that visit the 17th-century mausoleum every day.

Work is yet to begin on its main dome, with authorities concerned about how to proceed with handling the fragile centrepiece.

The Taj has attracted world leaders and royalty, including former U.S. President Bill Clinton. Diana, the late British princess, was famously photographed alone on a marble seat there in 1992.

© AFP 2018

   
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TheWire
A violent storm destroyed two Taj Mahal minarets Wednesday. The 4-meter-high sandstone minarets topped by ornate spires were left in chunks after being felled by strong winds.
taj mahal, minarets, destroyed, storm
307
2018-58-12
Thursday, 12 April 2018 05:58 PM
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