Last updated at 14:28 BST, Monday, 09 June 2014

Mud-pack for the Taj Mahal

Summary

9 June 2014

The Taj Mahal, India's most famous monument, is to be given a mud-pack treatment to clean its white marble walls of yellow stains caused by pollution. It'll be the fourth time this method has been used to clean the seventeenth-century tomb.

Reporter:
Joanna Jolly

The Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal was constructed as a monument to love by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan

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Report

The white marble domes and minarets of the Taj Mahal were constructed as a monument to love by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan on the death of his favourite wife, nearly four hundred years ago.

In recent years, pollution from factories and a nearby oil refinery have turned its pristine walls yellow. The Archaeological Survey of India began applying mud-packs to clean the monument in the mid-1990s.

It says continuing high levels of pollution means the treatment needs to be applied again soon. The lime-rich clay mask is believed to be based on a recipe used by Indian women to restore the natural glow to their faces.

A thin layer of mud is painted on the marble and left overnight before being brushed off in the morning. The surfaces are then washed down with distilled water to remove polluting chemicals drawn from the stone and the dirt and grease left behind by millions of visitors.

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Vocabulary

constructed

built

monument

building or structure that is built to remember a special person or event

pristine

very clean; in excellent condition

treatment

(here) a process where chemicals are used to clean or
improve something

recipe

list of items and instructions on how to use them to make something

glow

(here) healthy shine

distilled

made pure

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