Taj is fighting for survival

Agra, May 18, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / Kreation Guru) The eternal ode to love and one of the seven wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal is fighting a grim battle for its survival. It seems nature and the careless act of men has joined hands to destroy the eternal monument of love, the one of its kind in the world. The blast of sand from the dried up bed of Yamuna river beside the Taj and the dusty winds from the deserts of Rajasthan are playing havoc with the health of the structure.

However, it is not only nature, the ever increasing number of visitors to the shrine and the phenomenal increase in number of cars over the year are to be blamed in equal measures. The number of visitors is ever increasing in Taj Mahal and the tourism campaigns by the government promises to increase the numbers in the coming days. The corrosive gases exhaled during breathing and the fingerprints on the white shrine are serious challenge for the maintenance of the Taj. During the annual Urs of Emperor Shah Jahan the entry is made free and the site registers an incredible 50, 000 visitors every day for the 3 days. The entry is also kept free every Friday for the Muslim faithfuls to offer prayers. In fact, children visiting the mausoleum below 15 years of age are given free entry. Taj Mahal was originally built to accommodate 100 visitors every day but not this deluge of tourists.

President of the organization ‘Wake up Agra’; Shishir Bhagat states that the number of vehicles running on the roads of Agra district is a whooping 800,000 now from the modest number of 40,000 in the year 1985. The phenomenal increase in the number of cars on the roads has ensured higher volume of pollutants in the air. The Taj was once known as ‘Bagh e Baahist’ or Heavenly Garden. It is impossible to understand the significance of the naming while standing in the premises of the monument in the present days.

Fixing the maximum number of visitors inside the Taj Mahal and fixing the period of their visit might be a workable solution to reduce the stress of high volume of visitors to the Taj. Online reservation facility for the Taj Mahal visit will help to spread out the crowd and the entry will be orderly. Recently the Archeological Society of India has extensively worked on the rear area of the shrine to reestablish the Mehtab Garden. The state forest department has created the lush green forest on the bank of Yamuna. Environmentalists feel that these green belts will be able to protect the Taj effectively from the pollutants.

The drying up of the Yamuna river is another major concern for the Taj Mahal protection activists as the absence of shock absorbing buffer for the Taj Mahal foundation may make it prone to seismic activities.
All the possible steps to save the Taj are under consideration and awareness is the greatest tool in this battle for survival.