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India Taj Mahal minarets damaged in storm

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    The royal gate of the Taj Mahal with the pillar on the right hand side damagedImage copyright Raju Tomar/HT PHOTO
    Image caption One of the destroyed minarets was located at the royal gate to the Taj Mahal

    A storm has damaged two minarets located at different entry gates of the iconic Taj Mahal in the northern Indian city of Agra.

    Officials told the BBC that winds blowing at 130kmh (80mph) caused the 12ft (4m) pillars to collapse.

    The four longer minarets that surround the main structure remain intact.

    The 17th Century mausoleum attracts about 12,000 visitors a day and is one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions.

    One of the destroyed minarets was located at the royal gate where tourists often get their first glimpse of the monument.

    The other was located at the southern gate.

    Authorities said that work had begun to restore the damaged structures.

    Image copyright Aqeel Siddiqui
    Image caption One of the minarets damaged in the storm
    Image copyright Aqeel Siddiqui
    Image caption No one was injured by the falling pillars

    India’s official recorded history says that Mughal ruler Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal in memory of his queen, Mumtaj Mahal.

    The monument’s complex structure of white marble domes and minarets inlaid with semi-precious stones and carvings is considered the finest example of Mughal art in India

    But it has suffered damage due to pollution and construction activity in recent years.

    The Archaeological Survey of India, the custodian of the country’s monuments, said in January that the Taj Mahal was at risk of losing its sheen and structure due to increased pollution levels in Agra.

    Image copyright Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images
    Image caption The Taj Mahal was built by the Muslim emperor Shah Jahan in 1643
    View the original article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-43735757

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-43735757

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