Taj Mahal is getting its first bath since it was built about 370 years ago. In mid-2015 cleaning of Taj Mahal started and since then workers have scaled the monuments minarets and walls to correct discoloration and remove layers of grime from the structure which was built in 17th-century. After finishing that work, now the cleaning has reached its climax – now the workers have an uphill task of cleaning monuments dome.
The metal scaffolds that workers used to apply mud paste to the minarets are too heavy and rigid to assemble around the dome and therefore, they may have to use lighter scaffolding material to clean the dome. In the 1940s bamboo scaffolding was used to do conservation work of the monument and similar scaffolding material may be used this time too. It is believed that dome cleaning may take at least ten months for completion.
Cleaning is done by using natural materials and no chemicals are used for the purpose. Workers have been using a natural mud paste to remove yellow discoloration and return the marble to its original white. Caking the structure with fuller’s earth, a sort of clay that some people smother on their skin as a beauty treatment, and cleaning it with water is a time consuming process and that’s why work is still in progress. Fuller’s earth mud paste absorbs dirt, grease and animal excrement in a natural way without damaging the marble.
In the meantime, tourists may have a reason to complain as they don’t get a clear picture of the monument due to installation of scaffoldings all around. No wonder, number of visitors has seen a small dip in last two years.