India’s iconic Taj Mahal is in danger of collapsing within five years if the issue of its rotting wooden foundation isn’t addressed.
The 358-year-old-structure is located in the city of Agra, and serves as a mausoleum in memory of the wife of an emperor. As the most famous of India’s tourist attractions, it draws four million visitors annually.
Campaigners exist to protect the Taj Mahal, and according to the Daily Mail, they believe its foundations are compromised, having become brittle over the centuries. Evidence of structural problems include cracks that appeared in the structure last year, and signs that its four minarets are tilting.
Apparently the Taj Mahal stands on the edge of a highly-polluted river, and the foundations are rotting due to lack of water.
“This was never anticipated by its builders,” Professor Ram Nath, a historian and leading Taj Mahal authority told the Daily Mail. “The river is a constituent of its architectural design and if the river dies, the Taj cannot survive.”
The Indian government has set up a body to deal with the preservation of this UNESCO World Heritage site.
To learn more about touring India, see “Destin-Nation India: Off The Rails On The Subcontinent.” Or check out Bangladesh’s knock-off Taj Mahal here.
The Taj Mahal is just one of hundreds of monuments on the World Monuments Fund’s Watch List, which has been drawing attention to cultural-heritage sites in need of some tender loving care since 1996. The 2012 list, consisting of 67 sites in 41 countries and territories, was announced Tuesday.