According to ASI officials, the scaffoldings were put for cleaning the dome but work was not initiated due to lockdown. “Damage to the 9 feet marble and six feet of two panels of red sand stone railings caused by scrapping of iron pipes, which fell from the top due to heavy winds,” said an official.
Archeological survey of India (ASI) director general V Vidyavathi, who recently took charge, visited the monument today to asses the damage caused to the monument last night. She surveyed the site and discussed about it in detail with local officials.
Nearly a dozen trees were also uprooted in the premises. “The wooden main gate of West side entry had also tilted a bit because of the thrust of high speed wind, which was assessed at 124 kilometres per hour. The strong winds also uprooted the false ceiling and damaged a turnstile gate,” said an ASI official, adding that door frame metal detectors (DFMD) at entry of west gate was also uprooted due to strong winds.
When contacted, ASI’s Superintending Archeologist (Agra circle) Vasant Kumar Swarnkar, said that as per preliminary estimates, Rs 20 lakh will be spent on the repairs of the railings, false ceiling, wooden gate etc”. He added that marble and red sand stones will be brought from Rajasthan after the lockdown is lifted and work will be finished within a month.
It is not the first time when Taj has been damages due to thunderstorms. On April 11 and May 2, 2018, minarets on the royal and south gates of Taj Mahal and the finial of the Shahi mosque were damaged during the storm.