As one of the most famous destinations for Asia travel trips, the Taj Mahal has seen its share of visitors over time. It has also stood through changing climatic conditions, as industrialization literally reshaped the world around it. All the footsteps and pollution have taken their toll, leaving the 17th-century monument a little faded. Fortunately, the Archaelogical Survey of India, which oversees the site, knows the solution, and it's not too different from what you might do to restore the luster to your skin.
Monumental mud pack
According to India RealTime, the Taj Mahal is due for a mud bath. Specifically, the building will be treated with fuller's earth, a clay which is also used in mud packs for facial cleansing. Of course, it will be a much more powerful version of the mixture, enhanced with components to scrub the building of tobacco stains and hand prints from its visitors.
To make sure that new visitors aren't disrupted, the cleaning will take place in several phases. First, the mausoleum's inside passages will be cleaned, then the building's minarets, followed by the exterior walls and dome. Each coat of mud will be allowed to dry overnight before being cleaned off with distilled water and brushes.
The Daily Mail reported that the iconic structure has undergone the procedure three times in the past. Its first bath took place in 1994, then again in 2001 and 2008. Pollution in the area has increased in recent years, making the cleanings more necessary, and likely to become more frequent, than they were before.
The price of popularity
Despite the boon that tourism has provided to the local economy, the ASI is also taking measures to make sure that visitors don't overwhelm the landmark in the future, the Times of India reported. The state tourism department had plans to build a museum in the vicinity celebrating the culture of the Mughal Empire, which ruled when the Taj Mahal was built. However, ASI felt that building it so close to the already-popular attraction would lead to too much congestion both at the site and in the surrounding area.
Every day, around 15,000 people visit the monument, putting stress on the centuries-old structure. According to Asian Age, foot traffic increases 10 to 15 percent every year. To help alleviate the strain, the country's Supreme Court has asked that the Taj Mahal be closed to visitors every Friday to allow for maintenance.