Note: This blog was updated July 4 2018 with up-to-date information. Original article published March 2017.
Yep, it’s true. The Taj Mahal will, as of April 2018, undergo a mud mask that experts say will brighten its marble and unclog its pores for a youthful, radiant glow (…we may have made up that last bit). The mud will cover the iconic dome roof – and other canopies – and is apparently the best way to remove the yellow stains that build up on the Taj thanks to air pollution and the burning of garbage and dung in nearby Agra.
Now obviously this cleaning might put a bit of a crimp in your plans to snap the ultimate #TajMahal selfie, but in the long run, the restorative works should leave the Taj glittering like it did way back in 1643. The work is part of a larger series of restorative projects being carried out on the historic site. If you’ve visited in the last year or two, you would have noticed scaffolding on the Taj’s minarets (and no doubt grumbled a bit about the importance of Instagram symmetry…) Now it’s the dome’s turn.
We’re glad you asked. From the start of April 2018, the four small canopies around the Taj’s main dome will start being cleaned (which will take at least two months).
After this, the main dome will be cleaned. As of now, it’s unclear how long this’ll take but it will be completed in phases.
What does this mean for travellers?
Before you even *think* about putting off your travel plans to India, there are a few things to consider. During the mudpack process, one side of the monument will ALWAYS be uncovered for visitors, so you’ll still be able to marvel at the Taj in all its semi-shrouded glory (and get some pretty epic snaps while you’re there).
And while you may not get the iconic Taj Mahal selfie, there are considerably less tourists crowding the site, making this a pretty good time to go.
4 incredible alternatives to the Taj Mahal
What does this mean for travellers? Well our India trips will still be running. And you will obviously still visit the Taj itself. That won’t change. It’ll just look a little…different. Kind of like those scenes in movies where a child disturbs an adult who’s undergoing a facial.
On the other hand, there’s a whole lot more to India than a single building, no matter how good it looks through an Insta filter. Here are a few Taj Mahal alternatives in India if you want to switch up your travel plans:
1. Kerala. One of the most beautiful waterways on the planet. Spend your days cruising the rivers on a traditional houseboat, then spend the night with a local family at an Intrepid homestay.
2. Goa. Portuguese food, swaying palms and beaches for days. There’s a reason Goa attracts free spirits from all over the world.
3. Rajasthan. India’s historic northern province. You can track Bengal Tigers in Ranthambhore National Park, ride camels in Pushkar and bunk down for the night in a Bassi heritage fort.
4. Udaipur. The ‘city of lakes’, a temple town set on the shores of Lake Pichola. Jainism and Vaishnaism are dominant here, which means its a haven for vegetarian food.
Want to find out more about India? Check out our small group tours for all the info.