Thursday, September 13, 2007

Cleaning the Taj Mahal

The newspaper today has an article about the Taj Mahal. Apparently, they're going to clean it - and they're planning to use multani mitti to transform the marble from yellow to gleaming white.

Have you seen multani mitti? It is a sort of fine clay that I've used as a face-pack. You mix it with water, leave it on for 10 minutes and wash your face, and it acts like a cleanser.

"Mitti" means mud, and "Multani" refers to a place called Multan, in the Punjab (now in Pakistan), where this clay occurs naturally. If you draw a straight line from Agra to Multan, it's around 700 kilometers.

They're going to use this face-pack technique on the Taj sometime this year, although dates haven't been announced yet. I hope they won't do it slap-bang in the middle of the tourist season.

It's not the first time this sort of cleaning has been tried. The last time they did it was in 2001, and it was very successful.

Apparently, the Ain-e-Akbari, a 16th century manuscript already contains a reference to this simple method of cleaning marble. Apply multani mitti, layer upon layer, let it dry. Keep doing it until you have a layer of mud that is about an inch thick. Wait for 24 hours. Wash off with water. Voila! All the impurities come off, and the marble is a gleaming white!

Very cool, huh? They're trying this out in Italy now, I hear.


AaaDee said...

kya baat hai !! bahut that strengthens my believe in Multani Mitti face packs :)

Deepa said...

I just read another article about how this mud-pack is actually bad for the marble. According to that guy, the pack opens the pores of the marble and makes it rough.

Deepa said...

Update from my July 08 visit to the Taj - there's no scaffolding!