Is the Taj Mahal in Danger of Collapsing?

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James Gritz / Getty Images

A group of campaigners is warning that the Taj Mahal will cave in within five years if nothing is done to save it.

The domed mausoleum built along the Yamuna River is the country’s most iconic structure, luring four million visitors each year to Agra, India.

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In the past, a grimy and corroding facade caused by factory pollution was the greatest concern surrounding the building. But there have been graver worries over the sustainability of the 358-year-old marble building, which last year began t0 show cracks. Its four minarets are also reportedly tilted.

Activists say that because the adjacent river now nearly runs dry, the building’s wooden foundation is rotting and threatens to collapse in two to five years. The river’s fallen water level — something the original designers did not factor in — is attributed to overuse by India’s dense population.

The Taj Mahal, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was built in the 1600s by an emperor who was grief stricken by the death of his wife during childbirth. The site is now considered at risk by the World Monuments Fund.

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