Pollution Turning Taj Mahal Yellow, Parliament Recommends Facial

It took 17 years and an estimated 20,000 laborers to build the Taj Mahal. Conceptualized by Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj was bleached-bone white upon completion. It has remained a shimmering white since 1648. Now, however, this unparalleled monument to love is beginning to yellow, thanks to pollution.

In a report to parliament this week, the standing committee on transport, tourism and culture said airborne particles were giving the monument’s white marble a yellow tinge. Though the government has forced industry to relocate away from the landmark and vehicles are not allowed to pass within 1½ miles of it, “suspended particulate matter” has nevertheless been recorded at high levels.

To that end, the committee suggested giving the Taj a “clay pack treatment that is non-corrosive and non-abrasive” to remove deposits on the marble. In other words, the Taj is going to get a spa day. This is one expensive facial: Experts estimate the two-month-long restoration will run in the neighborhood of a quarter million dollars.

More Taj-y goodness: