The iconic Taj Mahal was damaged due to thunderstorm on in Uttar Pradesh's Agra district, officials said. The marble railing of the main mausoleum and red sandstone railings suffered damage due to thunderstorm.
Gusty wind with heavy showers that lashed Agra left behind a trail of destruction in the city. Some minor structures in the Taj Mahal were also damaged.
According to reliable sources, a part of the iron scaffolding that was being used for the mud pack treatment of the 17th-century monument of love came crashing down. Red sand stoned "jaalidaar" boundary was also damaged at the rear, overlooking the Yamuna river. It fell on the Chameli Farsh down below.
At the main western gate entrance, a stone supporting the arch was loosened but was restored by on Saturday. The visitors' gallery at the eastern gate also suffered some damage, particularly the artificial ceiling in the security area. The 124 km per hour velocity storm-ravaged several structures in the city and caused extensive damage to the greenery in the monument's complex.
'A tree fell in Mehtab Bagh and Mariam's Maqbara'
ASI Superintending Archaeologist Basant Kumar Swarnkar said some trees on the premises were uprooted and one door was damaged. The false ceiling in the mausoleum was also uprooted, he said. Besides, a tree fell in Mehtab Bagh and Mariam's Maqbara, officials said.
The Taj Mahal is closed for visitors due to the lockdown. Conservationists of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) could not be contacted for an official version on the extent of the damage.
In a statement issued in Lucknow on Saturday, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath expressed grief over the loss of lives due to lightning and thunderstorm in Mainpuri, Agra, Lakhimpur Khiri and Muzaffarnagar districts.
Officials have been directed to provide Rs 4 lakh to the kin of each of the deceased and adequate medical treatment for the injured, the statement said. The Weather department has warned of thunderstorm accompanied by lightning and squall at isolated places over the state in the next few days.