Supreme Court gives U.P. govt. 4 weeks for Taj protection plan

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The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Uttar Pradesh government to place before it a vision document on protection and preservation of the Taj Mahal and asked why there was a “sudden flurry of activity” in the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ).

Highlights

• The TTZ is an area of about 10,400 sq. km spread over the districts of Agra, Firozabad, Mathura, Hathras and Etah in U.P. and Rajasthan.
• A Bench of justices Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta questioned Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the U.P. government, on why leather industries and hotels were coming up in the TTZ when such activities were stopped earlier.
• “There is a sudden flurry of activity in the TTZ. Is there any particular reason for that? Leather industries and hotels are coming up there. Why? It should remain stopped. Why this activity is there in the TTZ?” it asked.
• The Bench also asked the State government to file within four week a vision document on protection and preservation of the 17th century mausoleum.
• The court had in December last year said that a detailed and comprehensive vision document and plan with a futuristic perspective that could protect and preserve the iconic monument, its environs and the TTZ for at least a few hundred years, should be prepared.
• The court asked the State government to inform it within four weeks on where land to plant trees was available in the area and also give details about the number of trees planted there.
• The TTZ had earlier told the court that a “no construction zone” was declared within a-500 metre radius of the Taj and the State government had envisaged a comprehensive plan to ensure balance between environment and development.

Taj mahal

• Taj Mahal was built in Agra by Shah Jahan as a mausoleum (a kind of large tomb) for his deceased wife Mumtaz Mahal.
• It was commissioned in the year of 1632 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
• Taj Mahal was the apogee of the evolutionary architectural process in medieval India.
• The Taj complex is entered through a monumental red sandstone gateway, the opening arch of which beautifully frames the mausoleum.
• The tomb is laid out in a Chahar Bagh (garden), crisscrossed with paths and water courses, interspersed with pools and fountains.
• The structure is placed on the northern extremity of the bagh instead of the middle to take the advantage of the river bank (Yamuna).
• The straight path through the bagh reaches the plinth of the tomb.
• At the corners of the terrace stand four tall minarets, one hundred and thirty two feet high.
• The main body of the building is topped with a drum and a dome and four cupolas forming a beautiful skyline.
• Towards the west of the white marble faced tomb lies a red sandstone mosque and a similar construction in the east to maintain balance.
• The marbles for the building was quarried from the Makrana Mines, Rajasthan.
• The inner arrangement of the mausoleum consists of a crypt below and a vaulted, octagonal tomb chamber, with a room at each angle, all connected by corridors.
• Light to every part of the building is obtained by means of carved and perforated Jalis, set in the arched recesses of the interior.

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