A campaign may be on to list Taj Mahal in the new Seven Wonders of the World, but the monument is enveloped in a haze of dust and smog.
Environmentalists and historians, worried that the soot and fumes will eventually turn the gleaming white Taj Mahal black, have raised an alarm for saving the monument.
AdvertisementSugam Anand, a historian with Agra University, says the Taj needs corrective treatment fast."We have to take measures, which will stop that decay," Anand said.
Though, the authorities have several attempts to keep the area around the Taj Mahal pollution free, many blame the government for the current mess.
In Agra, homes, businesses and factories are left without electricity for hours every day, forcing many to depend on kerosene-operated generator sets, which number 40,000, for their power needs.
Glass and other factories in neighbouring towns are being persuaded to use gas instead of coke in their furnaces.
However, that has not diminished the enthusiasm of nearly 20,000 tourists who walk past the monument's manicured lawns every day.
Jesse Nicholas, an American tourist, said he is mesmerised by the breathtaking beauty of the Taj.
Hiroshi Nakao, a Japanese science teacher, says that the Taj Mahal and Agra city provided two striking contrasts.
"The Taj Mahal is very beautiful, but Agra city is dirty and the Yamuna is dirty also," Hiroshi said.
K.S. Rana, a leading campaigner for saving the Taj, said: "If things continue like this, the Taj Mahal's age will decrease."
Earlier this year, the Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture said airborne particles were being deposited on the monument's white marble surface, giving it a yellow tinge. (ANI)