Which parts of the Taj are being cleaned in 2017 & 2018?
The scaffolding went up in 2016 and even a British Royal visit could not stop the drive to restore the marble of the Taj Mahal to it persil whiteness.
After a long silence, the Architectural Survey of India (ASI) has now released the planned program for the rest of the work to clean the Taj Mahal.
What does this mean for travellers?
For the rest of 2017 you will be able to take photos of at least one or more sides of the Taj Mahal without any scaffolding on it. However from January 2018 the scaffolding moves to the roof with the four chhatris’s and finally the dome to be covered and cleaned. Cleaning of the dome is scheduled to be completed in November 2018. This means for the majority of 2018 you won’t be able to get a ‘scaffold free’ photo of the Taj Mahal.
Why is it taking so long?
The Taj is being cleaned using a mud pack called “Fullers Earth”. The clay is applied to the marble to lift the staining left by air pollution and bird droppings before it is washed off with distilled water. This method is very effective in cleaning marble but it is a slow process. The total time to complete the cleaning has been made even made even slower by the ASI decision to clean the monument in small sections so that the Taj Mahal is not closed.
The Cleaning Program
|Reference No.||Work Zone – Taj Mahal||Work Timeline|
|1||Southern Façade||June to August 2017|
|2||South East Minaret||June to August 2017|
|3||South- West Façade||June to August 2017|
|4||Northern Façade||August to October 2017|
|5||Western Façade||October to December 2017|
|6||Peripheral Wall||November 2017 to January 2018|
|7||Four Chhatri’s at roof of main mausoleum||January 2018 to April 2018|
|8||Pinnacle and Dome||May 2018 to November 2018|
While these are the timelines released by the ASI, they may not be definitive and some work may finish earlier and others longer.
Update 05 August 2017:
Cleaning work on the front (southern facade) and the south-east minaret is now completed and all the scaffolding has been removed. Thank you to my friend Jai Sehgal in Agra for sending through this photo.