Looking at the photographs repeatedly, Justice Lokur wondered whether the Taj Mahal in its present discoloured form would end being the "eighth wonder of the world".
The bench, while hearing another matter pertaining to pollution from buses operating to Rajasthan from Bikaner House near the India Gate here in which the issue of environment impact assessment cropped up, observed that, "Shah Jahan did not have any environment impact assessment when the Taj Mahal was built".
A bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta gave the authorities a week to come up with a clear stand on utilising the services of national or worldwide experts to deal with the ivory-white monument's changing colour.
India's top court has slammed the government for failing to protect the Taj Mahal amid warnings it is increasingly changing colour because of pollution.
While Nadkarni represented the Archaeological Survey of India, Mehta appeared for the Yogi Adityanath government. But the court said, "the photographs (of Taj) indicates that there is a lack of will".
The zone covers the districts of Agra, Firozabad, Mathura, Hathras and Etah in Uttar Pradesh and Bharatpur in Rajasthan.
The problem is due to both sewage in the nearby Yamuna river which attracts millions of insets, together with pollutants in the air.
The Supreme Court today commented on the physical condition of Taj Mahal stating, even as it was turning yellow before, the world famous monument is now turning green and brown.
Those bitten by the love bug often visit the Taj Mahal to invigorate their romance. Either it (the Taj) stays or goes.
In the last hearing on December 9 the bench had said "We want a broad and inclusive document with a futuristic vision to protect the Taj Mahal as informal and temporary measures are not enough for a few hundred years. There may be a time that there will be no judicial will to deal with this", Justice Lokur told the lawyers. You all appear to be helpless.
Giving the government seven days to respond, they added: 'We need to save it'.
According to reports the situation has become so dire that India's Supreme Court has ordered the government to seek foreign help if they are unable to figure out the solution.