Pollution means India’s most famous monument is in urgent need of a thorough clean, but tour operators fear that the work may put off visitors
The Taj Mahal, Agra’s near four-century-old monument to love, is beginning to show its age. Air pollution is turning its ivory-white surface yellow. The heavily contaminated river Yamuna, on the banks of which the Taj sits, is a breeding ground for insects that leave green patches on its marble domes.
The past two years have seen a flurry of restoration work to the monument, built in 1631 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, as a tomb for his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Scaffolding around the outer minarets was prominent in the background of photographs when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited India in April 2016. Less clear from a distance is the precise treatment being used to clean the modern wonder: mud packs, similar to those slapped on faces around the world, and in pursuit of the same youthful effect.