After the yellowing marble of the main dome of the Taj Mahal attracted global media attention, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has decided to apply the “mud pack therapy” on the spherical dome.
While the ASI believes the therapy would produce desired results, the local tourism industry is not at all happy as tourism is likely to be severely hit.
According to the ASI, the scaffolding around the main dome of Taj Mahal will remain in place for almost a year and with the tourism season almost round the corner, the industry majors are voicing their concerns over the negative effect of the ugly-looking scaffolding.
Vishal Sharma, Secretary of the Agra Tourist Welfare Chamber, said that the Taj Mahal is one of the most picturesque monuments in India and if the entire main dome is covered in scaffolding, the monument’s beauty will be severely tarnished.
He said it will create a negative impact on the tourists who arrive in Agra to have their pictures taken with the Taj Mahal in the background.
Sharma said if the ASI decides to go on with this mud pack therapy during peak tourism season, it could destroy this year’s tourism business and would hit the industry hard. He said thousands of families in Agra were dependent on the business generated by the tourists and all these families will be affected by this ugly spectacle.
He urged the ASI officials to reconsider their timetable for this therapy and postpone it till the end of the current tourism season.
MAIN DONE HAS BECOME YELLOW, BLACK- SCAFFOLDING NECESSARY
Bhuvan Vikram, Superintending Archaeologist of Agra Circle, told that in 1940-1941, scaffolding had been erected on the main dome of the Taj Mahal for its conservation and protection. He said this will be the second time that a project like this was being attempted by the ASI on such a large scale.
Vikram said the main dome has now become yellow and even black in some parts due to dust and rust forming on the surface and as the cleaning process of the whole of Taj Mahal is already underway, the cleaning of the main dome is only a logical step once the cleaning of the walls is completed.
He said that the main dome is 68.11 meters high from the marble platform, while from the red sandstone platform, this height is 73.69 meters.
The pinnacle of the monument was coated with gold in 1874, while the black copy of the pinnacle was prepared in 1880 by the then District Magistrate of Agra F Walker in black granite. In 1874, the then Executive Engineer of ASI Z W Alexander had spent Rs 70,926 on the conservation of the monument, which lasted three years. During this process, several broken stones were replaced and fresh engraving was done on the walls.
He said that the ASI will first investigate if the monument’s upper levels were sturdy enough to bear the load of the scaffolding for a year.
Although it is very difficult to carry steel pipes up to the pinnacle, it will be the primary concern of the ASI that no harm comes to the monument in the process.