For close to 400 years Taj Mahal has been the symbol of love. Over the past many decades it has been the magnet for lovers of beauty world over. The numbers say it all: On high surge days nearly 70,000 tourists visit the ivory-white mausoleum. It is estimated that annually 80 lakh people come to see the monument. Of the close to Rs 100 crore the government earned from centrally protected monuments (in 2014-15), nearly 25 per cent came from Taj.
But alas Taj Mahal may soon be history. No wonder earlier this month the Supreme Court asked the government to demolish the Taj Mahal if it couldn’t protect and restore it. Years of general apathy has taken its toll on the monument. Pollution has yellowed its exterior walls. The 1,000-plus factories operating in the area are is the primary cause of worry.
Thanks to the thousands visiting the mausoleum there is immense pressure on the sandstone. There have been instances of flaking, slabs cracking. Add to this our tendency to scribble graffiti and touch the marble leaving greasy marks; these need strong agents to clean leading to slow chemical decay.
A polluted Yamuna hasn’t helped matters. Sewers carrying effluents from the factories flow into the river. Dumping of garbage and smoke from cremations have added to the woes of Taj.
Successive governments have failed in taking steps to save India’s most famous monument. A lack of political will and general bureaucratic apathy have led to the slow decay of an architectural marvel.
The Archaeological Survey of India, mandated with taking care of India’s monuments, has taken sporadic restoration steps. These have included mud packs and use of chemicals to stop the decay. But the results have not been totally successful.
It’s here that India Today Group has decided to step in. One of India’s premier media organisation has decided to step up to save the Unesco heritage site and India’s only wonder of the world.
Starting today (Tuesday, July 17) India Today TV will broadcast a seven-part series on how to save the Taj. The 30-minute programme will be aired at 6 pm.
India Today Group’s flagship magazine India Today will start a 12-part campaign with its issue dating July 30.
India Today Group’s fight to save the Taj is not just about protecting a medieval tomb from decay but restoring our cultural heritage for future generations. For many foreigners Taj Mahal is synonymous with India. The monument is an important marker in our development as a civilisation and India Today Group is stepping up to find innovative ways to save the monument of love for posterity.
courtesy: india today