India’s Yamuna river laps walls of Taj Mahal after heavy rain

Agra, July 19 (BNA): A river running through the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has risen to smash the walls of the iconic Taj Mahal complex in the city of Agra, causing concern about damage to the 17th-century white marble monument.

The water level of the Yamuna River has risen over the past few days after unusually heavy rains in northern India, including Uttar Pradesh, which has received 108% of its usual rainfall since the start of the four-month monsoon season on June 1, it said. Reuters.

According to India’s Central Water Commission (CWC), the portion of the river flowing alongside the Taj Mahal rose to 152 meters (499 feet) late Tuesday, well above the potential danger warning level of 151.4 metres. The level considered dangerous is 152.4 metres.

Local media reported that the last time the river reached the walls of the cenotaph built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his queen Mumtaz Mahal, was 45 years ago, in 1978.

CWC data also indicates that its station near the monument recorded the river’s highest flood level that year at 154.76 metres.

Pictures from the area on Tuesday showed a red sandstone wall of the Taj Mahal surrounded by muddy water, with bits of rubbish floating inside, and the mausoleum itself looming over the landscape, untouched by a river.

Officials from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which oversees the Taj Mahal along with many other monuments in the country, said there was “no serious concern” about the monument at the moment.

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“If it rains more, or the water stays high for several days, we will need to assess the situation again,” said Raj Kumar Patel, ASI’s supervising archaeologist.

He said that many other monuments and gardens located near the Taj Mahal, near the banks of the Yamuna River, were “drowned” and damaged.


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