March 19th, 2012
One of India's most iconic sites, the Taj Mahal, is reportedly sinking as a result of damage to its supporting structure
According to architects, the monument is tilting and slowly sinking. The Yumuna River, which supplies the monument's foundations with moisture to retain its strength, is becoming increasingly dry. Cracks have also begun to appear in the building's structure.
While under construction, architects took all the possible measures to make sure that the Taj Mahal was completely stable; its weight was distributed evenly and strong bonding materials were used. In spite of these precautions, one of the slender minarets has titled 3.5cm over the last 30 years.
Experts have suggested reservoirs should be built to ensure the river doesn't dry up and the foundations remain stable.
Over time, dams and canals have restricted the water flow of the Yumuna River, while deforestation has led to soil erosion and blockages. However, the main damage is caused by the drawing of water for industrial purposes and use by the growing populations of Haryana, New Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.
India's most iconic monument was built over 350 years ago by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a symbol of love for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It attracts more than three million visitors to Agra every year.