Busi­ness as usual at Taj

Bear­ing the brunt of neg­a­tive pub­lic­ity, the Taj Ma­hal has been listed as a no-go desti­na­tion in 2018 by for­eign me­dia. Amidst con­fu­sion, if one should visit the Taj this year as the mon­u­ment is un­der­go­ing ‘mud ther­apy’, TRAVTALK speaks to in­dus­try player

TravTalk - India - - NEWS -

One of the Seven Won­ders of the World – the Taj Ma­hal re­mains at the top of the bucket list of dis­cern­ing trav­ellers. How­ever, for the Taj Ma­hal to con­tinue to charm vis­i­tors with its beauty and ar­chi­tec­ture, the mon­u­ment needs to un­dergo timely con­ser­va­tion process. Un­der­taken by the Min­istry of Cul­ture and Arche­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey of In­dia, the Taj Ma­hal is to be re­stored by way of a ‘mud ther­apy’. For­eign tourists have re­port­edly taken a back­seat in vis­it­ing the mon­u­ment this year, ow­ing to a false no­tion that a per­fect pho­to­graphic view of the Taj will be ru­ined due to the on­go­ing con­ser­va­tion process.

Clar­i­fy­ing the process, KJ Alphons, Min­is­ter of State (IC) for Tourism, Gov­ern­ment of In­dia, says, “I vis­ited the Taj Ma­hal two weeks ago along with my fam­ily and only a small por­tion of the Taj Ma­hal was be­ing ren­o­vated. The Taj is made to look more beau­ti­ful with the mud treat­ment. They are try­ing to re­move all the pollution and re­store the mar­ble to its orig­i­nal glory. The ren­o­va­tions are be­ing done in dif­fer­ent phases and the fi­nal process will be un­der­taken in Novem­ber. But, it’s planned in a way that it does not di­min­ish the ex­pe­ri­ence of the visit.”

Dr MK Bhat­na­gar, Su­per­in­tend­ing Arche­o­log­i­cal Chemist, North­ern Zone— ASI, Agra, who is spear­head­ing the con­ser­va­tion process, points out the bizarre na­ture of this ad­vi­sory in for­eign me­dia as the ren­o­va­tion work has been in process for over two years. “All mon­u­ments un­dergo con­ser­va­tion process and I don’t see why the Taj has be­come such a con­tro­versy.” De­tail­ing the process of the ther­apy, Bhat­na­gar clar­i­fies it for all to know. “Just like we use fuller’s earth for daily cleans­ing pur­poses on our faces, sim­i­larly, a mix­ture of it is spread on parts of the mon­u­ment and al­lowed to dry for a few days. Once the mud dries, the treated area is washed off with dis­tilled water. This ther­apy is very use­ful in clean­ing the mar­ble of dust and cur­ing the yel­low­ing of the mar­ble,” he says.

Bhat­na­gar fur­ther in­forms that till date, work on four minarets, the mar­ble pedestal walls and eight oc­tag­o­nal shaped fa­cades has al­ready been com­pleted. Now, the four chat­tris at the roof top and the main dome is yet to be treated. “Though lo­calised treat­ments have been un­der­taken from time to time, till date no full-fledged con­ser­va­tion process had taken place at the Taj. In fact, many tourists have vis­ited the Taj to wit­ness this treat­ment. Be­fore the mud-ther­apy, there is a need to con­duct a load bear­ing test to de­ter­mine how much weight of the scaf­fold­ings the dome can take. It is only af­ter that we will be­gin the work.”

Given the sched­ule of the process, Bhat­na­gar be­lieves that the con­ser­va­tion work will be com­pleted be­fore the peak sea­son at Taj Ma­hal. “An of­fi­cial sched­ule of work in progress was re­leased to clar­ify all mis­con­cep­tions. Also, the process is done in phases and at no stage will the en­tire dome be cov­ered with mud.” The Taj Ma­hal is not go­ing to be closed ex­pect on Fri­days, a sim­i­lar ad­vi­sory has been dis­played on the web­site of the mon­u­ment.

Pronab Sarkar, Pres­i­dent, IATO, adds, “On IATO’s re­quest to MOT, the min­istry has taken out a let­ter which says that the main­te­nance work which is go­ing on at the Taj Ma­hal will not ham­per any vis­its to the mon­u­ment and the tourists can visit it with­out any prob­lem. They have even given a sched­ule in what phases the main­te­nance will be done. No tourist move­ment will be af­fected ow­ing to the same.”

Pronab Sarkar Pres­i­dent IATO

Dr MK Bhat­na­gar Su­per­in­tend­ing Arche­o­log­i­cal Chemist, North­ern Zone—ASI, Agra

KJ Alphons Min­is­ter of State (IC) for Tourism, Gov­ern­ment of In­dia

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.