India: Recently, the Daily Mail, a British tabloid, reported that the Taj Mahal is in danger of collapsing. Following the report, a twin bench of Supreme Court justices D.K. Jain and A.R. Dave issued notices to the Uttar Pradesh State Government, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the Ministry of Environment, ordering probes. The results of the probes are slated to be examined by the Supreme Court on November 15, 2011. Amid this panic situation, Krupali Krusche and her team completed a research using photogrammetry, 3D scanning, GigaPan Systems and hand-measuring. She claimed that it is absurd to conclude that the Taj Mahal will collapse in next three to five years.
Krusche is Indian chairwoman of the International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture and Urbanism, as well as an archeology professor at the University of Notre Dame in the US. She agreed that the water level of the Yamuna River is receding but she disagreed with the conclusion that the memorial might collapse altogether. My conclusion is based on two major stands. First, recent claims of the mausoleum’s minarets tilting are untrue. Architects of the Taj Mahal deliberately instituted the four minarets at an outward angle. In modern architecture, such a technique is called an optical illusion. If the minarets were to tilt slightly more than intended, mammoth cracks would immediately surface on the memorial’s base and surrounding walls.
Second, the pier-shaped foundation of the Taj Mahal is similar to that of a skyscraper. The foundations of the mausoleum are buried deep in the earth’s crust. If its base were to shift or decay, a substantial section of the tomb would sink inside the earth or bear evident signs of erosion.