Direct link to scholarships offered by  Govt. of India

List of Private NGOs offering scholarships

Abu Marwan Abdal Malik Ibn Zuhr: ‘Avenzoar’

Abu Marwan Abdal Malik Ibn Zuhr, known in the west as Avenzoar, was

Ummid Assistant

AMU declares entrance test dates for its UPSC coaching centre

Welcome Guest! You are here: Home » Special Reports

Taj in real danger from dry, polluted Yamuna

Saturday March 05, 2011 12:29:40 PM, Brij Khandelwal, IANS

Related Articles

Taj city hopes for cleaner, greener 2011

The city of the Taj can look forward to a whole lot of new developments in 2011, from banning of polythene bags, a much-needed war on encroachments around historical monuments, streamlining traffic and completion of the vital Yamuna   »

Agra: Till recently it was a mere conjecture, but now signs of stress and physical distortions on the marble surface are beginning to confirm what everyone has been fearing - the Taj Mahal is in real danger from the dry and polluted Yamuna.

"It's simple, plain and logical to suggest that the Taj Mahal cannot remain in good health for long if its sustaining force, the river Yamuna, is in poor condition," declares R. Nath, whose latest book on the Taj, India's iconic tourist destination and a World Heritage monument, explains the developing scenario in detail.

Experts in the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) have all along been downplaying the threats from the dry and polluted river.

Entry to the chambers in the foundation of the huge edifice has been sealed for years and no independent agency has carried out extensive surveys that could reassure and allay the fears expressed by doomsday forecasters like Nath.

ASI officials refuse to entertain questions about the state of the Taj's foundation. However, a senior ASI official, who preferred not to be named, confided that cracks in the foundation were noticed some years ago and that they had been repaired.

"The cracks were not small, they were big," he said.

Raman, a member of the Supreme Court monitoring committee, said: "I have heard reports about ant-hills and termite colonies in the basement of the Taj Mahal."

The controversial Taj Corridor project - construction of a corridor on the river bed - left the monument in the lurch and the artificially developed park in the rear has permanently distanced the Yamuna from the Taj Mahal, fundamentally altering the physical conditions of the whole complex.

This was against the categorical directive of the S. Varadarajan committee, which said there should be no tinkering with the physical conditions around the monument, an activist said.

Shravan Bharti, a conservationist, said "they (the authorities) are playing with the safety of the Taj Mahal."

R.K. Dixit, the official in charge of the Taj Mahal, confirmed that from the main gate to the central white marble dome the distance is 300 metres. Also, from Mehtab Bagh across the river to the Taj Mahal, the distance is exactly 300 metres."

This means the river was central to the overall design of the whole complex, stressed Rajan Kishore, who has been organising action programmes and fasts for the river Yamuna's protection from pollution.

"If one part of the body is sick and paralysed how can one say the monument is healthy and in good shape?" he asked.

According to Surendra Sharma, president of the Braj Mandal Heritage Conservation Society, the sand blowing in from the dry Yamuna and tonnes of desert sand coming with the westerlies have been a cause of concern for long.

Both V.K. Shukla of the Central Pollution Control Board and B.B. Awasthi of the UP State Pollution Control Board confirm that the soot and dust in the air around the Taj Mahal continues to remain alarmingly high. The dry river bed could be a contributing factor, they said.

However, "the Agra air is much cleaner and safer now with the sulphur dioxide level gone down significantly," insisted one official.

The level of finer sand particles is much higher than the normal but can be brought down if there is water in the river, scientists of the pollution board said.

Author Nath is particularly concerned about the use of Fuller's Earth to whiten the Taj's marble surface. Fuller's Earth is widely used in Europe as a bleaching agent before the shearing of sheep.

"In the beginning it was once in several years, but lately it's every now and then. They misled public opinion by calling it "Multani Mitti." Only later it was discovered that they were importing Fuller's Earth. The original "Vajra Lep," the polish on the white marble, did not require any further treatment and should have been left undisturbed," Nath told IANS on phone from Ajmer.

The extensive use of saline or brackish water from the Yamuna has also affected the monument's surface, said Vishal, an environmentalist and photographer.

The question to the ASI is simple, says Nath. "Was a dry Yamuna in the original plan of Shah Jahan (the Mughal emperor who built the monument in memory of his wife Noor Jehan). If the river was integrated in the original plan, for the Taj Mahal's safety and for the scenic ambience it provides, is the objective fulfilled by the dry and polluted river?" he asked.

(Brij Khandelwal can be contacted at




  Bookmark and Share                                          Home | Top of the Page


Note: By posting your comments here you agree to the terms and conditions of

Comments powered by DISQUS




Top Stories

Arab World Turmoil: Libya tense, sectarian clashes in Bahrain

Libya slipped further into chaos Friday with protesters fighting for the ouster of strongman Muammar Gaddafi regrouping and angry mourners gathering for funerals of the   »

Gaddafi launches air strikes, Egypt PM quits

London School of Economics chief quits over Gaddafi links


Picture of the Day

Department of Architecture, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) under the aegis of ‘Centre of Islamic Architecture’ had on February 27 organized a Workshop on “Legacy of Islamic Architecture and its impact on Contemporary World”. The workshop was sponsored by Aditya Birla Ultratech.


  Most Read

Court allows closure of Bofors case, relief for Quattrocchi

A Delhi court Friday closed the Rs.640 million kickbacks case related to the 1986 Bofors gun deal  »

Magistrate sings Hindi song before delivering Bofors verdict

Babri Masjid case: Apex court issues notice to Advani

The Supreme Court Friday issued notice to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani, Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray and others on a petition by the Central Bureau of Investigation challenging   »

BJP ideology not fit for secular India: Cong


  News Pick

Arjun Singh, former union minister, governor, and chief minister, dead

Arjun Singh, a former union minister, chief minister and governor, who made a strong bid to become prime minister in the mid   »

Arjun Singh: Crafty Congress strategist, Rajiv loyalist

Acquitted in Godhra case, he dies before meeting his family

In a tragic coincidence, Baitullah Ab Gaffar Teli, a 78-year-old bangle seller, died in Godhra a week after his acquittal in the  »

'How will they get back their 9 years', asks mother of 3 acquitted in Godhra case

NRIs want to vote, but through postal ballot

Indians in America have welcomed the Election Commission's move to permit non-resident Indians to vote back home, but feel it would be a tough call to go to India just to vote. Instead NRIs should be allowed to vote by postal ballot   »

Lecturer eligibility test qualifiers to get e-certificates

In a new e-governance initiative, the human resource development ministry Thursday announced that e-certificates will be sent to all those who qualify for the University Grants Commission National Eligibility Test (UGC-NET) test  »

PMO invites Hazare for discussions, Hazare miffed

Days after veteran activist Anna Hazare threatened to go on indefinite fast if the prime minister did not respond to his requests on the Lokpal Bill   »

Now Dandi March in US against corruption in India


Union Budget 2011

Budget promises more money for all - farmers to corporates

Promising more money in the hands of households by hiking the income tax exemption limit and lowering tax surcharge for corporates, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Monday presented the general budget for the next fiscal with a fair dose of reforms and steps to curb inflation, check »

Complete text of the budget speech

Highlights of Pranab Mukherjee's budget for 2011-12

Budget allocation for Minority Affairs raised to 2600 crore

Bouquets and brickbats for Pranab's budget

Housewives to Pranab: Thanks for sparing us more headache

Budget 2011: Education gets 24% hike; AMU, Azad foundation get funds

Pranab's budget has Rs.8,000 crore for Kashmir's development



RSS  |  Contact us

| Quick links



Subscribe to

Ummid Assistant






About us




Government Schemes











Contact us





      Disclaimer | Terms of Use | Advertise with us | Link Exchange is part of the Awaz Multimedia & Publications providing World News, News Analysis and Feature Articles on Education, Health. Politics, Technology, Sports, Entertainment, Industry etc. The articles or the views displayed on this website are for public information and in no way describe the editorial views. The users are entitled to use this site subject to the terms and conditions mentioned.

© 2010 Awaz Multimedia & Publications. All rights reserved.