Agra: The stone minarets on the south and royal gates of the Taj Mahal collapsed after heavy rain and thunderstorm in Agra on Wednesday.
A north-west 12 feet metal pillar at the entry gate which is known as Darwaza-e-Rauza and a flower vase in stone and a brass filial was brought down as winds with velocity of over 130 km per hour swept the city.
Similar loss happened at the southern gate too, said Ankit Namdev, conservation assistant of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) at Taj Mahal, reported HT.
Taj Mahal, a Mughal-era monument has been declared as one of the Seven Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Darwaza-i-rauza is one of the components of the monument complex, which includes the mausoleum, the mosque and the guest pavilion. The first sight of the Taj Mahal is seen from this gate only. Being called as the ‘Great Gate’, it is also the gateway to the gardens which, symbolically, represents Paradise.
No damage has been assessed yet on the main monument made of white marble.
Rains have been reported in many areas of Uttar Pradesh including Lucknow, Kanpur, Mathura, Kannauj, Farukkhabad, Etawah and Mainpuri. A large amount of crop is wasted when the harvest is dampened by the rain, IANS quoted an official as saying. The potato harvest, which is already hit by poor marketing and bad pricing, is also set to take a beating by the rain, he added.
The heavy rainfall and thunderstorm which started around 7 pm caused eight deaths in Agra, four in Mathura and two in Firozabad — all fall under Braj region.
Power outages have also been reported owing to the strong winds blowing across many areas. This is the second time a thunderstorm has struck in a week, the last one being on Friday.