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12 Sep 2007 12:57
India’s most famous monument, the Taj Mahal, is turning yellow, and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has decided to give it a mud-pack beauty treatment to restore its pristine white beauty, news reports said on Wednesday.
In a couple of months, a sterilised version of multani mitti (mud from Multan), named after the region in Pakistan where this fine lime-rich clay is found, will be applied to the marble mausoleum to cleanse it of pollutants that have left it yellow, the Times of India newspaper reported, quoting ASI officials.
The mud packs will be left to dry for a couple of days and then be washed off with salt-free water in a method traditionally used by Indian women for facials over the ages. They, however, leave the pack on for only a few hours.
“It’s a non-abrasive formula that won’t do any damage to the monument and will remove accretionary deposits,” a senior ASI official was quoted as saying.
The move comes after a parliamentary committee reported in May that deposits of suspended particulate matter on the shimmering white marble of the Taj Mahal was imparting a yellow tinge to its surface.
The Taj Mahal was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the northern Indian city of Agra as a tribute to his queen Mumtaz Mahal and is seen as a symbol of eternal love.
The monument, which is more than 350 years old, took more than 20 years to build and attracts thousands of visitors every day.
More than 2,5-million tourists visited the Taj in 2006, according to the ASI.—Sapa-dpa
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