Conservation of Taj Mahal – How to Save?
Is it a coincidence that one of the New 7 Wonders of the World needs a “facial”? Well, not exactly. The Taj Mahal has been suffering from the effects of pollution and huge crowds for the past several decades. The various measures taken by the government in the past for the conservation of Taj Mahal have failed miserably. The booming popularity of Taj Mahal among the domestic tourists is also a serious cause of concern as the crowds of over 50,000 people per day pour in to view the monument during the holidays or weekends.
Although other surface-treatment technologies are available, restoration of the Taj Mahal is usually done using a traditional Indian method. Multani Mitti, a lime-enriched clay that is added to beauty products, is used to apply a wrap on the white marble structure of Taj Mahal. This mud treatment pulls pollutants out of the Taj Mahal’s yellowed marble and restores its face to its original, pearly white splendor.
A debate rages over preserving the awe-inspiring, 350-year-old monument that now shows signs of distress from pollution and shoddy repairs. But finally a sigh of relief came for the aging Taj Mahal.
Few days back Cash-rich Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has signed an agreement to conserve the iconic Taj Mahal. As a part of its structured initiatives, ONGC signed a tripartite MoU with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and Ministry of Tourism to conserve the historical monuments under the Clean India Campaign.
For the start, ONGC will invest Rs 20.75 crores for the conservation of the Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The conservation process included restoration, preservation, beautification and general cleanliness in and around the Taj Mahal.
The Clean India Campaign is an initiative of the Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with the ASI and is aimed at However, despite the availability of nearly unlimited funding for its conservation, the monument is slowly falling into a state of disrepair, with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) finding itself helpless in conserving this monument owing to the vast number of tourists arriving at the monument every day.
Besides, the monument is also falling prey to its age, with both the marble as well as the red sandstone slowly flaking off in layers. Also water leakage in the domes and termites attack has been reported in Taj Mahal recently.
The recent rains have also served to reveal the callousness with which the ASI is handling the monument’s repairs, with the Royal Gate, which was used by the emperor Shah Jahan to enter the Taj Mahal, leaking drops of water. Due to the corrosion caused by rainwater, both the red sandstone work and the inlay are getting damaged.
Cracks had become visible on the walls of the monument raising concerns over the structural safety. Experts said that due to the low water level in the Yamuna river the water-borne foundation of the Taj was drying up. They also said that lack of Yamuna water is leading to cracks in the stones and the pollution level in Agra affected the monument the most.
Earlier attempts to preserve Taj Mahal have done little including the Mud Facial treatment or the chemical treatment to cure the “Marble Cancer”, caused by pollution. Hope this time, ONGC does something substantial for the preservation of Taj Mahal.
Standing before the Taj Mahal, it’s comforting to know that it is not, in fact, of another world. It is very much part of this ephemeral, unpredictable one we inhabit—a singular masterpiece that will likely be around for many years or even lifetimes to come, but which, despite our best efforts, cannot last forever.
Worth Reading: How to Save the Taj Mahal? A debate rages over preserving the awe-inspiring, 350-year-old monument that now shows signs of distress from pollution and shoddy repairs. By SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE