"Either we shut down the Taj or demolish it or you restore it", the two-judge bench told the authorities.
"You (government) can shut down the Taj. Either you demolish it or you restore it".
The Uttar Pradesh government had earlier told the court that it would place before it a draft of the vision document on protection and preservation of the Taj Mahal. There is no action plan or vision document. Constructed on the orders of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved wife, Mumtaz Begum, the Taj Mahal is considered to be one of the most unique and attractive buildings in the entire world, and attracts visitors from all the cultures who want to see it closely.
The court said both the federal and state government had shown "lethargy" in taking steps to tackle the monument's deteriorating condition.
The judges drew a comparison with the Eiffel Tower, which it said looks like a "TV Tower", saying: "Our Taj is more handsome". Our Taj is more attractive.
Justice Lokur had wondered whether the Taj Mahal in its present discoloured form would end up being the "eighth wonder of the world".
While expressing its strongest displeasure, the Apex Court observed, "Taj, more handsome than the Eiffel Tower" and could have solved the country's foreign exchange problem.
In May, the Supreme Court ordered the government to seek foreign assistance to fix the UNESCO World Heritage site's changing color, which is thought to be the result of pollution, construction work, and insects which excrete on the walls. "Our Taj is more lovely".
The 16th-century marble mausoleum is regarded as one of the seven wonders of the world and draws thousands of tourists from India and overseas each year.
The government informed the court that a special committee has been made to propose measures for pollution management in the area.
The TTZ Authority looks after an area of about 10,400 sq kms spread over the districts of Agra, Firozabad, Mathura, Hathras and Etah in Uttar Pradesh and Bharatpur district of Rajasthan.
The Supreme Court bench said it will hear the matter on day-to-day basis from 31 July.