A Japanese tourist has died in what appears to be a tragic accident while taking a selfie at the Taj Mahal’s Royal Gate in India.
Police said the 66-year-old tourist lost consciousness immediately after the fall and succumbed to head injuries in hospital.
The Taj Mahal, a 17th Century mausoleum built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan after his wife’s death, attracts about 12,000 visitors a day.
According to local reports, the Japanese tourist had been with three other people when the incident occurred.
One of his colleagues fractured his leg, after both fell from the staircase of the monument in the afternoon, police said.
The Japanese embassy has been informed about the death, and an investigation is being conducted into the incident.
There have been several deaths linked to selfies in recent years.
Earlier this year, the Russian government reportedly launched a campaign to make young people think twice before snapping selfies in risky situations.
In May, a 21-year-old woman survived accidentally shooting herself in the head while posing for a selfie with a gun in Moscow. There have also been several cases of children being electrocuted while taking selfies on top of railway carriages in Russia.
In August, a man in Spain was gored to death by a bull while taking a selfie at the annual bull running festival in the town of Villaseca de la Sagra.
According to Indian media, President Barack Obama has cancelled plans to visit the Taj Mahal during his upcoming visit to India.
Barack Obama was scheduled to go to India’s famed monument to love with First Lady Michelle Obama on January 27, at the end of a three-day visit to India.
Hundreds of cleaners had been hired to spruce up the white marbled mausoleum in preparation for their arrival.
The Hindustan Times website cited unnamed Indian officials as saying Barack Obama was cutting his India visit short to fly to Saudi Arabia following the death of King Abdullah.
The Hindu website carried a similar report, quoting a government source as saying: “It’s possible that he might leave India earlier.”
The White House did not comment on the reports.
Barack Obama will hold talks with Indian PM Narendra Modi and become the first serving US president to be guest of honor at the Republic Day parade during his second visit to India since taking office.
Analysts say the invitation to attend India’s Republic Day celebrations on January 26 emphasizes a new closeness between the world’s two largest democracies.
The cancellation of the Taj Mahal visit would deprive India’s top tourist attraction of publicity at a time when the government is trying to boost visitor numbers.
Twitter users rushed to thank Barack Obama for orchestrating a clean-up of the mausoleum in the town of Agra, built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved empress who died during childbirth in 1631.
A $1 billion project to build a replica of the Taj Mahal has been unveiled in the Gulf emirate of Dubai.
The Taj Arabia complex would be much bigger than the original monument to love and include a 300-room hotel, shops and commercial buildings, developer Arun Mehra said.
It would be ready by 2014 and be known as the “New City of Love”, he said.
The complex will also house other structures such as the Eiffel Tower, Pyramids and the Great Wall of China.
The Taj Mahal, which is situated in the northern Indian town of Agra, is a Unesco World Heritage site.
It was completed more than 350 years ago by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as a shrine for his wife Mumtaz and took more than 20 years to build.
The white marble mausoleum, situated on the banks of the river Yamuna, is sometimes known as a teardrop on the cheek of time.
The Taj Arabia complex will be built around the Taj Mahal which is a “symbol of love and will include various facilities to encapsulate the beauty of life, love and romance mixed with the long established Mughal architecture”, Arun Mehra, who is the chairman of Link Global Group, told the Press Trust of India.
The developers say they hope that the Taj Arabia will become a new wedding destination and attract couples to it.
An earlier plan to build the complex was shelved when the company was hit by the global economic downturn.
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