UPDATED WEDNESDAY 21ST MARCH 2018
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. Three of the four minarets have undergone this treatment with the fourth expected to be completed within the next few months. In 2017, 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 and after a few delays will begin in June 2017. It’s expected that the cleaning will be finished by November 2018.
The beginning of the process coincides with India’s low season when monsoon rains put many travellers off visiting. Though as one of the world’s New Seven Wonders, the Taj Mahal does attract visitors throughout the year. No doubt those who have already planned their trip will be disappointed to find this stunning monument in less than perfect condition. But with its ruby, emerald and sapphire encrusted interiors and beautiful gardens, there is more to the Taj Mahal than its dome and you’ll still be able to appreciate the splendour of the world’s favourite mausoleum regardless.
Timeline for Scheduled Work
If you’re planning a visit to the Taj this year, here’s an update of the ongoing restoration work:
- Work on the northern Arch of the Taj Mahal has been completed.
- Work on the portion of the Western façade has also been completed and dismantling of scaffolding is in process.
- Work on the four minarets and roof top is likely to be completed by end March 2018.
- Work on the periphery of the main mausoleum is expected to be undertaken from February to April 2018.
- Work on the main dome will be undertaken from April to November 2018.
The Archaeological Survey of India is planning to start cleaning of the four small Chhatri canopies (Cupolas) around the main Dome of the Taj Mahal from the first week of April 2018. Officials have said that the cleaning of the four Chhatri canopies will take at least two months, while main Dome work will be completed in phases. No definitive dates have been announced yet.