Despite crores being spent on its upkeep, air and water pollution continue to threaten the Taj Mahal
A mausoleum known as the monument of love, the Taj Mahal, has had different meanings for different people ever since it was constructed by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in 1632 AD (Photos by Vikas Choudhary)
The most serious threat to the Taj today is from environmental pollution—both in the air and water surrounding it. Though much of the air pollution has been caused in the past by the Mathura Oil Refinery, pollution from burning trash like this also poses significant threat to the mausoleum
Another threat to the Taj is the yellowing of the marble. To tackle this, the authorities apply a mudpack to the building at regular intervals (once in every 2-3 years)
The mupack application does have its benefits. In this picture, the lower half of the monument appears pure white after it was given a mudpack, while the upper half is still yellow
Scientists have fitted the monument with all sorts of modern appliances which gauge pollution levels inside and outside it. In this picture, the reading on the meter shows the level of air pollution inside the arched doorway of the building
The Yamuna river, on whose banks the Taj is located, is equally polluted. In recent years, the wooden foundation on which the Taj is built has started rotting because of decreasing ground water levels
A goatherd bringing back his flocks after a day out in Gajpura village near the Taj. The village is said to be at least a 100 years older than the monument
A farmer tends to his fields in the shadow of the Taj in Gajpura village
According to legend, the Tajganj village near the monument was built by the Mughal administration to house artisans who would maintain the Taj after it had been built
Goats graze and children play in the shadow of the Taj
The Taj attracts an estimated 3 million visitors in a year according to UNESCO figures
Despite at least Rs 222.21 crore being spent by the government to improve air, water and land quality in Agra, the Taj Mahal continues to face environmental threats to its beauty and majesty
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