DU Wiki > Ämnen - Subjects > Tourism studies > KG3012 > Seminar 1 Cultural and natural World Heritage sites > India's World Heritage Sites by Stefanie Tobeländer > Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

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       Taj Mahal is a large mausoleum located in Agra, in the North of India. Built between 1631 and 1648, Taj Mahal has been ordered by the emperor Shah Jahan to perpetuate the memory of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal (tajmahal, n.d.). On the bank of the Yamuna, Taj Mahal is on a garden large of 17 hectares and organized with alleys and basins of water. Octagonal and perfectly symmetric, the mausoleum is mainly made of white marble. The monument is considered as the greatest architectural monument ever built in the range of Indo-Islamic architecture (UNESCO, 1992-2014). Appreciated for its beauty, purity but also for its romantic story, Taj Mahal has an average of 2 million visitors annually (Lopez, 2003)


       Taj Mahal is one of the most famous monuments around the World and is a World Heritage site since 1983. It has been chosen as a protected World Heritage for its unique architecture considered as the finest and purest monument built during Indo-Islamic era (UNESCO, 1982). It is a "masterpiece of architectural style in conception, treatment and execution" (UNESCO, 1992-2014)



    Managerial challenges

    The fund, in this case, is not a problem since the government covers conservation, renovations and maintenance of the complex. The main issue regarding the Taj Mahal's management is the pollution of the area (UNESCO, 1992-2014). Indeed, the white of the monument is what makes it so special to visitors. Unfortunately, the white marble is turning yellow due to the pollution in the air but also of the pollution present in the river beside it (Figure2). Agra became an important industrial region which is still increasing. The pollution of the water is coming from the industries between Delhi and the monument, which affect the wood foundations of this one. (Chakrabarti and Mitra, 2014).

    The problem making in danger Taj Mahal, a buffer zone has been created around it as well as the other side of the river, in order to avoid hurting the mausoleum (Figure1, Lopez, 2003). Several expensive restorations have been leaded by the government of India without noticeable improvement on the color of the monument (Lopez, 2003). In additional, the cars traffic, also being a cause of the degradation of the site, has been banned 2 km around the site.  (Chakrabarti and Mitra, 2014)

    According to Chakrabarti and Mitra (2014), several studies stated that the TajMahal were victim of a “Stone cancer”. Leaded by the government of India, a Green buffer zone has been created. Different species of plants capable to absorb heavy metals in the air have been planted to protect the stones of the monument. This Green buffer Zone is effectively making the degradation slowly but does not stop it. No other solution has been found yet to reduce the huge pollution the whole area of Agra and Delhi suffers of (Lopez, 2003)




    UNESCO (1992-2014) Taj Mahal. [Online]. Available in:  [Accessed 18.11.2014]

    UNESCO (1982) Advisory Body Evaluation. [Online]. Available in: [ Accessed 18.11.2014]

    TajMahal (n.d.) Official Website of Taj Mahal. [Online] Available in: [ Accessed 18.11.2014]

    LOPEZ, A. (2003) Site Management Plan. [Online] Available in: [Accessed 18.11.2014]

    Chakrabarti, N., Mitra, A. K. (2014) Possible Pollution Threat to the Green Buffer Zone around. IOSR Journal of Environmental Science, Toxicology and Food TechnologyVol. 8: 4.



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    Thank you for the creative choice of the site to talk about. It is always interesting to read about who is standing behind the creative solution? Who is threatening the heritage too? There is not so much information about it in your very modest text about the managerial issues, are you able to expand it a bit further addressing my questions? Best, Albina
    Posted 22:50, 21 Nov 2014
    Albina, I could not find a lot more information about the Green Buffer zone but still completed my work to make it better.
    Thank you for you remarks,
    Posted 00:03, 12 Dec 2014
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