AGRA: The iconic Taj Mahal was damaged due to a deadly thunderstorm that struck parts of northern India.
Officials confirmed that sections of the Taj Mahal complex, including the main gate and a railing running below its five lofty domes, were damaged in the storm on Friday evening in Agra district of Uttar Pradesh state.
India’s top tourist attraction has been shut since mid-March as part of measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Archaeologist Basant Kumar Swarnkar told an Indian daily that some trees on the premises were uprooted and one door was damaged. The false ceiling in the mausoleum was also uprooted, he said, while a tree fell in Mehtab Bagh and Mariam’s Maqbara of the tomb.
“One sandstone railing which was a part of the original structure has been damaged,” Superintending Archaeologist of the Archaeological Survey of India, Vasant Kumar Swarnkar, told an international news agency.
“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, adding there was no damage to the main structure of the monument.
Local media reported said thunderstorms and lightning on Friday killed at least 13 people in two Uttar Pradesh districts. Fatal lightning strikes are relatively common during the June-October monsoon season.
Last year, at least 150 people were killed by lightning in August and September in Madhya Pradesh state in central India.
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