Strong storm damages minarets at gates of Taj Mahal

Tourists walk past the debris after a powerful storm Wednesday night toppled two minarets at the entry gates of the Taj Mahal monument in Agra, India, Thursday, April 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Pawan Sharma)
Tourists walk past the debris after a powerful storm Wednesday night toppled two minarets at the entry gates of the Taj Mahal monument in Agra, India, Thursday, April 12, 2018. The 17th century Taj Mahal attracts more than 7 million visitors a year. It was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. (AP Photo/Pawan Sharma)

LUCKNOW, India — A powerful storm toppled two minarets at the entry gates of the famed Taj Mahal in northern India, but no damage was done to the white marble main building, an official said Thursday.

Bhubanesh Kumar, an official of the Archaeological Survey of India, said the damage was minor and will be repaired by experts.

He said winds during the storm Wednesday night reached 130 kilometers (80 miles) per hour.

One of the damaged minarets was a 3-meter (12-foot) pillar at the main gate. The other was a smaller pillar at the southern gate used by visitors to reach the monument.

The 17th century Taj Mahal attracts between 7 million and 8 million visitors a year. It was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is in Agra, 210 kilometers (130 miles) south of New Delhi.

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