Strong winds destroy Taj Mahal’s minarets as pillars topple down

Strong winds destroy Taj Mahal’s minarets as pillars topple down

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A forceful storm has smashed two ancient pillars at the entryways to the Taj Mahal, an official claimed on Thursday, underscoring the fragility of the centuries-old marble monument to love.

The four-meter high sandstone minarets topped by ornate spires were left in fragments after being felled by strong stormy winds late on Wednesday.

“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.

However, none of the four white marble minarets surrounding the Taj or the mighty glistening 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 largely comprised of red sandstone. It was flanked by two minarets before the storm resulted in the crash of one.

CCTV footage reveals stone pillars lying in huge broken fragments, the distinct spire still intact but separated cleanly from the shaft. Nevertheless, nobody was hurt by the falling steeples, authorities reported.

4B1518C600000578-5608287-image-a-1_1523542922747The Taj being one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, is beset by problems from air pollution yellowing the marble to insects leaving green stains on its rear wall.

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

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

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