The Taj Mahal, the white marble tomb built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in 1648 for his third wife Mumtaz Mahal, could soon sink into the sand. The mausoleum's mahogany post foundations which are sunk into wells fed by the Yamuna River are reportedly rotting and brittle because the river is drying up due to pollution and deforestation. The main structure showed cracks last year and the four minarets around the monument are tilting due to the weakening of the foundation.
Ramshankar Katheria, a member of parliament from the northern city of Agra where the iconic monument is located, is leading the movement to save it. He warns that “if the crisis is is not tackled on a war-footing, the Taj Mahal will cave in between two and five years.” He has proposed a $110m dam to maintain the water levels necessary to preserve the foundations, saying, “the river is a constituent of its architectural design and if the river dies, the Taj cannot survive.”