Yamuna waters reach Taj Mahal, no threat to monument, says ASI
Agra (UP), July 18 (PTI) The swollen Yamuna river has reached the walls of the Taj Mahal here, a development only witnessed in 1978 and 2010, even as the Archaeological Survey of India said the increased water levels pose no threat to the iconic monument. According to officials, the water level crossed the 'medium flood level' of 499 feet. It reached 499.97 feet here on Tuesday due to which the water touched the walls of the Taj Mahal and submerged a garden behind it.
An official of the ASI's Agra Circle said the main mausoleum is designed on a raised structure which stands on 'Chameli farsh' and is built on a foundation of 42 wells supported by a structure of sal woods. "The Yamuna waters touched the walls of the Taj Mahal in 2010 and prior to that in the year 1978. In the 1978 flood, water had entered rooms in the monument's basement," Prince Vajpayee, conservation assistant at Taj Mahal, told PTI. "This year as well, the water has reached the Taj Mahal, but it is not a threat to the monument. The main mausoleum is standing on a raised platform. It is standing on the Chameli farsh, and in the foundation it has 42 wells and a structure of sal woods over the wells," he said. Chameli farsh is made up of red sandstone and white marble, the official said. Recalling the 1978 floods, Raj Kishore Raje, a historian of the Agra city, said, "That year, the Yamuna crossed 'high flood level' of 508 feet in Agra following which the floodwaters entered rooms of the basement (of Taj Mahal) under the Chameli farsh. The rooms were filled with silt." Munawwar, an ASI staff, said the water reached till Sandali Masjid on the East Gate of the Taj Mahal in 1978 and on the West Gate, it reached till Khan-e-alam nursery. Two temporary walls were also created to protect the monument from the flood water. One wall was created at Basai Ghat and the other at Dussehra ghat, he said. Harshvardhan Srivastav, ADM, Finance and Revenue, said the Yamuna reached 499.2 feet by 6 pm on Tuesday. He said the water also entered the premises of Kailash Temple and low-lying houses nearby the temple. People living in these areas have moved to safer places, he said. "The situation is under control. The PAC, NDRF and the SDRF are on alert. Divers and boatmen are on alert to keep an eye on the situation. However, now the water level is stable," he added. Meanwhile, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has closed Mehtab Bagh for tourists as the river water entered the garden premises. Entry of locals at ghats of the river has also been banned. In Bah block in Agra rural, three men were rescued after they were caught in the river current. PTI CORR