Urgent steps are being taken to preserve India’s Taj Mahal after the Supreme Court slammed the government for the lack of care it has shown to the famous monument.
The massive ivory marble mausoleum, commissioned in the 17th century by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, has started turning dirty over the years from exposure to air pollution, changing colour to yellow or even brown.
“Either we will shut down the Taj or you demolish or restore it,” the court threatened earlier this month.
As a result, the Uttar Pradesh government submitted a draft of its ‘vision document’, detailing some of the steps it plans to take for the upkeep of the Taj Mahal. Among them are banning plastic water bottles in the area, closing nearby polluting industries and preventing pollution of the nearby Yamuna floodplains. The goal is to turn the precinct into a plastic-free zone, and control vehicle traffic to encourage pedestrian movement.
The Taj Mahal draws million of tourists every year. Here’s hoping the preservation efforts will allow it to last for centuries more – it’s too extraordinary to let it fall into ruin. If you’re visiting soon, do your part: don’t litter and don’t vandalise (the same goes for anywhere you are, really).