A seven-foot-long stone slab fell off from the the wall on the eastern gate of the Taj Mahal complex on Wednesday morning. The slab came off near a ticket counter before the monument was opened to visitors. No one was hurt in the incident.
Employees of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which is responsible for 17th century monument’s conservation, were restoring the slab on Thursday.
A senior ASI official, who did not want to be named, said, “The iron rod and mixture used to bind stone slabs had been damaged. This led to the incident. The slab is being replaced, using copper rods.” However, this is not the first time that slabs and other portions of the monument have come off. With the passage of time the mixture used to bind the stones are weakening, said experts.
Hafiz Ahmed — a renowned inlayer who worked with ASI experts in renovating the Taj Mahal — said it was now almost impossible to prepare the mixture used in the Mughal era. He said, “Lentils, adhesives, fruits and some other unique materials were used by those architects.”
The ASI, however, maintained there was no serious damage to the monument and said the repair work was routine.