Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 31 October 2020

Taj Mahal damaged in deadly Indian thunderstorm

The country’s top tourist attraction has been shut since mid-March because of the coronavirus outbreak

Workers examine the damage caused to a railing at the Taj Mahal after a heavy rainstorm in Agra on Friday. AFP
Workers examine the damage caused to a railing at the Taj Mahal after a heavy rainstorm in Agra on Friday. AFP

A deadly thunderstorm that rolled across parts of northern India damaged sections of the Taj Mahal complex, including the main gate and a railing that runs below the mausoleum’s five domes.

India’s top tourist attraction has been shut since mid-March as part of measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Images showed workers assessing the damaged railing, after the storm battered Agra in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh on Friday night.

“One sandstone railing which was a part of the original structure has been damaged,” Vasant Kumar Swarnkar, superintending archaeologist at the Archaeological Survey of India, said.

“One marble railing which was a later addition, a false ceiling in the tourist holding area and the base stone of the main gate has also been damaged.”

He said no damage was caused to the main structure of the monument, which was built under orders from Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as a tomb for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died while giving birth in 1631.

Local media reports said the storm killed at least 13 people in two Uttar Pradesh districts on Friday.

Fatal lightning strikes are relatively common during the June to October monsoon season.

Last year, at least 150 people were killed by lightning in August and September in Madhya Pradesh state in central India.

Updated: May 31, 2020 10:19 PM

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