Which parts of the Taj are being cleaned in 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.
Update: Cleaning of the chhatri’s was completed in mid-September 2018 and work has stopped. The current rumour is that work to clean the dome will start in April 2019 however, there has been no official announcement from the ASI. See below for more details.
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 on roof of main mausoleum||January 2018 to April 2018|
Started in May 2018
Completed 18th September 2018
|8||Pinnacle and Dome||May 2018 to November 2018|
Currently no work is being underway. There has been no official announcement but it is rumoured work will not recommend till April 2019.
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.
Update 9th January 2018
Cleaning on the Peripheral Wall has been completed and scaffolding is being removed.
Update 14th March 2018
The next stage of work is now scheduled to start at the end of April.
Update 23 March 2018
Work to clean the four chhatri’s on the roof of the Taj is now scheduled to start from the first week of April and is expected to take 2 months to complete.
Update 05 May 2018
The ASI indicated work would begin the first week of April on the four chhatri’s on the roof of the Taj, but work got underway today (5th May) with the first of the scaffolding going up. A reminder that the work on the main dome will not start until the four chhatri’s have been cleaned.
Update 10th May 2018 – Scaffolding is still being erected, cleaning hasn’t started yet. There is also scaffolding on the Royal Gate at the moment to repair the storm damage to the minarets.
Update 11th June 2018: Scaffolding is erected around one of the small chhatri’s (small dome) on the roof. This will give you a bit of an idea of what scaffolding is likely to look like when they eventually move on to the main dome.
Update: 09 August 2018
We were advised via one source overnight that the work on cleaning the 4 chhatris (small domes on the roof) should be complete by the end of August and all scaffolding will then be removed in time for the start of the main tourist season. Currently, pressure is being put on the ASI by the Tourism Industry to delay the start of the work to clean the main dome till April 2019 so that this major work can be completed during the off season.
However, word from our man on the ground in Agra today is that no work is currently going due to the rain. Both the front small domes and one on the river side are covered by scaffolding. In his last conversation with the ASI, staff they indicated that they will cover front part (south side) of the main big dome first so that by October they can move towards cleaning the river side (north side).
He has reiterated that the finishing time given by ASI is the end of November 2018, so we have to wait till that time.
Below is the latest photo (taken on a mobile phone with an effect to squash everything into the frame).
Update 03 September 2018:
The scaffolding is starting to be removed from around all the small chhatri’s. There has been no words as yet as to weather they will move on to the main dome or cleaning will be delayed until the off-season in 2019.
Update 14 September 2018
In the coming week, cleaning will be complete on all the four small domes (chhatris) and all the scaffolding will be taken down. The ASI is still advising that deadline to have the main dome cleaned will be the end of November 2018, so we expect scaffolding to start being erected on the main dome soon.
Update: 18th September 2018
There is still no official word if the timeline of the end of November 2018 for the cleaning to be finished is going to be shifted or if work will cease and then start again in April 2019. However, the scaffolding is down off the four chhatri’s on the roof. This video is from today. Thank you to our local Agra friend Gary Singh-Julka for the video.
Update: 26 September 2018
We haven’t had an official update and there seems to be no move to erect any scaffolding yet on the dome.
Update 07 November 2018
The is no work is going on and no further information is available from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) at the moment.
Update: 25 January 2019
On Wednesday the ASI stated cleaning in small patches of the lower walls of the main mausoleum and will be doing this over the next couple of months so that visitors photos are not affected
We will be visiting the Taj Mahal on our Women’s Only India Tour: Fabric Food & Fabulous +Holi in March 2019. In Agra we will also celebrate Holi – The Festival of Colours >> Read More