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The Taj Mahal Under Camouflage

The Taj Mahal Under Camouflage
The Taj Mahal at sunet, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

How did the British hide the gleaming beauty of the Taj from their enemies during WWII?

Sharmistha Chaudhuri
April 21 , 2019
01 Min Read

How would you mislead enemy bombers during a time when there was no GPS or satellite imaging? Well, apparently, bamboo works wonders. During WWII, the British felt that the Taj Mahal was extremely vulnerable to bombing by the Japanese and the Germans. In an effort to mislead the Luftwaffe bombers, the British placed bamboo scaffolding over the dome of the Taj in 1942. From high above, enemy pilots would think of it only as a big ol‘ pile of bamboo and thus, in turn, not bomb the monument. Some say the entire gleaming white marble structure was covered, but then again, it is hearsay. Photographs of the Taj’s bamboo scaffolding are rare and the one here shows Private First Class John C. Byron Jr. trying to fish in the pond outside of the monument while Corporal Anthony J. Scopelliti and Private First Class Ray Cherry observe his efforts. Did you know that Bryon Jr. and Scopelliti’s initials are on top of the Taj dome? They had placed their initials while they were repairing the scaffolding during the 1940s as another old photograph suggests. However, the bamboo cover wasn’t a one-off thing during the decade. It was done twice again when India fought wars against Pakistan in 1965 and 1971. Today the Taj stands in all its glory and is probably the country’s biggest tourist attraction. Had the ingenious bamboo scaffolding not been placed during those turbulent times, would we still be staring at the monument today? Who knows?

The Taj camouflaged


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