Completed back in 1648, the world’s most iconic monument ever built in the name of love is over 360 years old and, unsurprisingly, in need of a little TLC. Over the last few years mud-pack therapy has been carried out on the marble facade and interiors to restore whiteness and gleam to the marble. The four minarets have undergone this treatment and for the first time in the building’s history, this cleaning process will be applied to the main dome.
What is mud-pack therapy?
During mud-pack therapy, a clay substance known as Fuller’s earth is applied to the marble and left to dry over the course of a few days. As it dries, the clay absorbs dirt and grease from the marble surface with plastic sheets applied on top to aid drying. Once the thin layer of clay is completely dried, it falls off and the surface is then cleaned with distilled water to remove any last traces of dirt and deposits. It’s one of the safest cleaning methods available for such monuments as it’s non-abrasive and non-corrosive.
What does this mean for travellers visiting Agra?
The local authorities will be working on small sections at a time. During the cleaning process portions of the white marble dome will be covered in mud and plastic sheets for two to three days at a time with scaffolding likely to obscure larger areas. Work on the dome is expected to last over a year when it finally begins. There have been substantial delays since news of the restoration was announced. Presently it is unclear when work will start.
This is good news for travellers visiting the Taj over the next few months. It’s currently clear of scaffolding and mudpacks, and will stay that way until the local authorities have sufficient funding to continue with the restoration project. There’s no indication of when that might be.
With its ruby, emerald and sapphire encrusted interiors and beautiful gardens, there is more to the Taj Mahal than its dome. Regardless of what work is being carried out on the Taj, you’ll still be able to appreciate the splendour of the world’s favourite mausoleum regardless.
Latest Update – July 2019
Restoration work has begun on the northwest minaret of the Taj Mahal, with scaffolding up around this part of the mausoleum. The Archaeological Society of India (ASI) has confirmed that this is not mud-pack therapy cleaning work, as all four minarets were cleaned last year, but repair work where rainwater has caused damage to the stairs inside this 40-metre-high minaret.
It is unclear when this work will be finished, but it’s estimated that the scaffolding will be down in September 2019. Mudpack therapy is still to be completed on the dome of the Taj Mahal and the ASI are yet to confirm a start date for this work.