Taj Mahal could collapse within five years

The Taj Mahal was built on mahogany posts sunk into wells fed by the Yamuna river, but the river's water levels are dropping by several feet a year, leaving the wood brittle and falling to bits. Photo / Thinkstock
The Taj Mahal was built on mahogany posts sunk into wells fed by the Yamuna river, but the river's water levels are dropping by several feet a year, leaving the wood brittle and falling to bits. Photo / Thinkstock

The Taj Mahal will collapse within five years unless urgent action is taken to shore up its foundations, campaigners warn.

The 358-year-old marble mausoleum is India's most famous tourist attraction, bringing four million visitors a year to the northern city of Agra.

But the river crucial to its survival is being blighted by pollution, industry and deforestation.

The Taj was built on mahogany posts sunk into wells fed by the Yamuna river but its water levels are dropping by several feet a year, leaving the wood brittle and falling to bits.

Last year cracks appeared in parts of the tomb and its four 40ft (12.1m) minarets are starting to tilt.

Agra MP Ramshankar Katheria, who is leading a campaign to save the treasure, said: "If the crisis is not tackled, the Taj will cave in between two and five years."

Professor Ram Nath, a world authority on the monument, said: "The river is a constituent of its design and if it dies, the Taj cannot survive."

- DAILY MAIL

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