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REPORTED TILT OF MINARET ON TAJ MAHAL IS PROBED

An Indian state government ordered an urgent investigation Wednesday after reports that one of the four minarets of the 17th century Taj Mahal -- the country's fabled monument to love -- has tilted slightly.

Mohammed Azam Khan, urban development minister of northern Uttar Pradesh state, told the Associated Press that a panel of government experts has been asked to report within a week on whether a tower had leaned outward by 8.5 inches.

India is celebrating the 350th anniversary of the Taj Mahal this year. Yearlong celebrations started Sept. 27 in Agra, the city where it is located.

Khan said Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav had ordered the inquiry.

It was not immediately clear whether the investigation would affect the government's decision to open the monument next month for night viewing after a 20-year ban.

The Taj Mahal was built from 1632 to about 1654 by Mugal Emperor Shah Jehan as a mausoleum for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.

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