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ASI stops Taj Mahal restoration work, to seek IIT help

The ASI is of the view that iron pipe scaffolding could damage the dome of the 17th century marble mausoleum

india Updated: Oct 13, 2017 09:25 IST
Sanjeev K Ahuja
Sanjeev K Ahuja
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
ASI,Taj Mahal,IIT
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has put on hold restoration of the Taj Mahal using mud packs to take expert advice.(HT File Photo )

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has postponed restoration of the Taj Mahal using mud packs to take expert advice from professional institutions like the Indian Institute of Technology.

Having completed restoration of three of the four minarets and a few vertical patches of the 17th century marble mausoleum to reverse the yellowing effect and restore it to its ivory-white splendour by sporting scaffolding and applying Multani mitti or fuller’s earth, the ASI is now of the view that iron pipe scaffolding weighs huge and could damage the dome. Hence, it has taken a decision to seek expert’s advice.

Culture ministry’s ASI is responsible for the maintenance and restoration of the protected monuments of the historical importance in India

“As one of the phases of mud pack process is completed, the dome will be done in the last phase. For scaffolding design for the dome which is very technical work, we will have to take help of some professional agencies such as the IIT,” said Jhanvi Sharma, the spokesperson for the ASI.

He said that the first restoration work of the dome commissioned about 50 years back was done with the bamboo scaffolding.

“But now since iron scaffolding is used, we need to consult agencies like the IIT for its design and technology. We have to first assess the dome’s bearing capacity-- how much weight of metal it can take. We don’t want to erect anything to damage the structure,” Sharma said.

The ongoing restoration work of the Taj Mahal built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as a tomb for his wife Mumtaz Mahal in Agra started in September 2015.

The dome is 240-feet-tall with a diameter of 58 feet and is built on a 17-acre plot. Originally ivory-white in colour, the 1651-constructed tomb alongside the Yamuna river has been losing sheen due to increasing industrialisation in the region.

Britain’s Prince William and Duchess Kate Middleton on their maiden visit to India in April last year, had posed for a picture in front of the Taj with scaffoldings prominent in the background.

First Published: Oct 13, 2017 09:10 IST