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THE TAJ MAHAL


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Bianca
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« Reply #45 on: February 25, 2008, 08:50:46 pm »









Tourists stand in front of the historic Taj Mahal in the
northern Indian city of Agra.
 
February 25, 2008.

Indian archaeologists have started giving a face-lift to
the centuries-old Taj Mahal by applying a mud pack to
the marble exteriors of the country's most famous monument.

REUTERS/Brijesh Singh (INDIA)
« Last Edit: February 25, 2008, 08:53:51 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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Bianca
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« Reply #46 on: February 25, 2008, 08:55:28 pm »

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« Reply #47 on: February 25, 2008, 08:57:21 pm »









Labourers work on the exterior of the Taj Mahal in the
northern Indian city of Agra February 23, 2008.
Indian archaeologists have started giving a face-lift to
the centuries-old Taj Mahal by applying a mud pack to
the marble exteriors of the country's most famous
monument.

REUTERS/Pawan Kumar (INDIA)
« Last Edit: February 25, 2008, 08:59:12 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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Bianca
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« Reply #48 on: February 25, 2008, 09:00:38 pm »









A labourer carries a bucket of white mud to work on
the exteriors of the Taj Mahal in the northern Indian
city of Agra February 23, 2008.

Indian archaeologists have started giving a face-lift
to the centuries-old Taj Mahal by applying a mud
pack to the marble exteriors of the country's most
famous monument.

REUTERS/Pawan Kumar (INDIA)
« Last Edit: February 25, 2008, 09:02:14 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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Bianca
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« Reply #49 on: November 29, 2008, 01:43:26 pm »










                             'Restoring Taj hotel's glory may cost Rs.5 bn, take 12 months'






New Delhi (IANS):
Nov. 29, 2008

The restoration of the century-old Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel in downtown Mumbai that was considerably damaged during the terror siege could take as much as 12 months and cost about Rs.5 billion (Rs.500 crore/$100 million), experts on structural engineering and architecture say.

A sea-facing landmark of India's commercial capital, offering a panoramic view of the Arabian Sea and the majestic Gateway of India, the hotel was built in 1903, with its architecture blending Moorish, Oriental and Florentine styles.

Thus, the restoration, will take that much more time and cost more than conventional restorations, the experts said, adding the services of professional institutions like the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) may also be required.

"The Taj is one of our oldest hotels and a heritage structure. So, any restoration work would take a minimum of a year. It is my estimate that it could cost somewhere around Rs.500 crore," said Pandurang Potnis, vice president of the Indian Institute of Architecture.

"You must understand that restoration work for such structures is a cumbersome process. It involves a detailed assessment of the damage with blueprints. Only then can the damaged structure be strengthened," he added.

"In India, this kind of technology is available with only a handful of institutions like the Archaeological Survey of India," Potnis, who also runs Bangalore-based architecture consultancy firm under his name, told IANS.

Visitors to the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel have come away in awe of its Indian influences, vaulted alabaster ceilings, onyx columns, archways, carpets and chandeliers, as also its collection of art and antique furniture.

Jamsetji N. Tata, the legendary founder of India's largest industrial house, built the 565-room hotel much before the Gateway of India was completed in 1928 to commemorate the visit of Britain's King George V and Queen Mary.

The grand property, which will also require some experienced artisans and workers to refurbish and restore, has hosted royalty, heads of states, corporate honchos and celebrities, among other guests in the past.

A.K. Nagpal, the head of the civil engineering department at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) here, also said that structural engineering was the trickiest part in restoration of damaged properties.

"We have undertaken such consulting projects in the past and provide advice to even private companies," added Nagpal, who specialises in areas like structural engineering and tall buildings.

Rajesh Thambi, who runs an architectural design firm Saving Catalyst here, said that if it takes a skilled person around five minutes to construct one sq ft of carpeted area, restoration would take anywhere between 45-50 minutes.

"I would say that the cost of restoration - it will take a lot of care while doing so - will be around Rs.1,500-Rs.2,000 per square feet."

The owners of the property, Indian Hotels Ltd., have said that they would take all measures to restore the Mumbai landmark and had an insurance policy against terror attacks.

"We are not just determined, but completely committed, to rebuilding the institution. We will restore it to its fullest glory," said company vice chairman R.K. Krishna Kumar.

"The loss of life is extremely distressing, as is seeing a building as unique as this destroyed. The entire top floor has gone up in flames, but as soon as the dust settles we will go out there and begin the rebuilding," Krishna Kumar added.

Armed terrorists who had seized the hotel for four days earlier this week had set deliberate parts of it on fire in a bid to damage it. The hotel suffered further damage when commandos had moved against the terrorists Friday-Saturday to wrest it back from them.

Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata visited the property Saturday with his management team to inspect the damage and discuss measures for the hotel's restoration.
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« Reply #50 on: May 26, 2009, 09:20:41 am »









                                             Facelift fiasco? Taj now blotchy






26 May 2009,
Manjari Mishra, TNN
The Times Of India
AGRA:

The legendary lovers, Shahjahan and Mumtaz Mahal, would be spinning in their graves. The main dome of Taj Mahal, housing marble sarcophagus of the Mughal emperor and his consort, no more matches the monument after Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) tried its hand at giving it a facial last year.

The obvious discolouration of the 17th century world heritage monument is causing consternation among tourists, while officials responsible for its maintenance have turned ‘‘colour blind’’.

Prof R Nath, a noted historian and conservationist, is livid. The professor had spearheaded a public movement in Agra against the move when ASI went public with its plan to play ‘‘beautician’’ in November last. ‘‘The so-called non-corrosive and non-abrasive pack to restore its original shade would only deface the monument,’’ Nath had said. His worst fears, he now says, have come true. ‘‘The Taj looks leukodermic and no one is bothered,’’ he said.

He has good reasons to worry. The ‘multani mitti’ (Fuller’s earth) pack, applied to a portion of the Taj after the proposal originally mooted by Air Pollution Monitoring Laboratory (APML), Agra, and cleared by parliament in May 2007, has yielded unusual results. The monument, once pearl white, now looks patchy. The dome, which was excluded, is sepia yellow; the lower carvings and filigree work are a mismatched, bleached white. The sight has begun to disturb visitors.

‘‘We’ve taken up the matter with ASI,’’ says Mohammad Shamsuddin, president, Agra Guide Association, after tourists began to point out what they thought was a discolouration process. ‘‘Foreign tourists keep asking what’s going on but ASI isn’t taking note,’’ he said.

ASI is ready with its answers. Superintendent archaeologist D N Dhimri says the double colour is temporary. The face pack, he explained, has been ‘‘used on the sheltered, unexposed areas not directly open to the elements’’. The dome, he conceded, wasn’t part of the treatment. What’s giving it a yellow tint is suspended particulate matter (SPM) that tend to stick on, particularly in this season. But with the onset of the monsoon, the discrepancy will be over, he told TOI. So why was the dome — obviously the most visible part of the Taj — not treated? ‘‘It was a policy decision of which I was not a part,’’ said Dhimri.

Interestingly, the second phase of cleaning to begin shortly, too, leaves out the dome. This was confirmed by M K Samadhiya, head of ASI’s chemical division. This has angered the activists and preservationists further. ‘‘Imagine leaving out a customer’s forehead during facial,’’ says an incredulous Shamsuddin. ‘‘It’s time ASI stopped taking the Taj only as a golden goose and gave its preservation serious thought,’’ he said. 
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« Reply #51 on: August 10, 2009, 06:05:36 pm »










                                                 Taj Mahal 'doesn't need a theme park'



         Michael Kerr reflects on plans for a Ferris wheel and cable cars at the Taj Mahal mausoleum in India.
 






By Michael Kerr
Published
05 Aug 2009


 Nearly three million people a year are drawn to visit the Taj Mahal

Edwin Arnold, who was both a poet and an editor of The Daily Telegraph, said that the Taj Mahal was "not a piece of architecture…but the proud passions of an emperor’s love wrought in living stones”. The description has rarely been bettered, and the building itself is unimprovable. Everyone agrees on that.

New Delhi, India: My kind of town Everyone except the Agra Development Authority. As we reported earlier, the authority believes it can enhance “the visitor experience” at the Taj Mahal by surrounding the great mausoleum with “ropewalks, a suspension bridge, cable cars and a Ferris wheel”.

It’ll never happen. Or won’t it? Not so long ago, we were saying that a proposal for a glass walkway projecting from the lip of the Grand Canyon would never be given the go-ahead. But now it’s there, 4,000ft above the Colorado River, a cantilever bridge built, as the website tellingly puts it, to “withstand an excess of 71 million pounds in weight”. It comes, of course, with a café, serving burgers, chicken and barbecued pork – all in the interests of “improving the visitor experience”.

Similar schemes have been mooted, rejected or realised at tourist sights all around the world. Ruins that were already evocative have been tidied up to make them more fitting for camera and for advertising campaign. As the British Arabist Robert Irwin put it, of the Madinat al-Zahra, an Arabian Nights fantasy on the outskirts of Cordoba, "some of the walls are still standing (and such is the progress of archaeology that more walls seem to be still standing each time one visits the place)".

‘Tourist trap’ threat to Taj Mahal, our headline said this morning. The Taj Mahal, has, of course, long been a tourist trap, one of those sights that we can take in only as part of a swarm of camera-clicking visitors. Nearly three million people a year are drawn to visit it. Somehow, 360 years on, it is still surviving the swarm. The threat to it now has less to do with improvement than with greed, a greed that infantilises rather than enhances experience.

OP Jain, the mild-mannered spokesman of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, has commented that “the people who come to see the Taj are not the kind of people who like to go by ropeway or see it in front of a Ferris wheel”.

That reminded me of a visit I made some years ago to a game lodge in Tsavo West National Park in Kenya. The man behind the inquiries desk told me confidently that I could expect to see a leopard in a tree very close to where he sat pretty well every evening between six and nine. Not just any old tree, but one particular tree – the one to which the staff climbed by ladder at three in the afternoon with a juicy joint of meat to lash to a high fork. It was my first time on safari. I was hoping to see big game, but I also expected to have to work at it a little, to squint and strain for a glimpse of the shyer inhabitants of the bush. And here I was being presented with a big cat drawn by Disney. This wasn’t a leopard that went hunting; it was one that set its watch.

No one goes to Agra for the diversions of an amusement park. People go to see the Taj Mahal. That’s an experience that needs no enhancing.




http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/asia/india/5976407/Taj-Mahal-doesnt-need-a-theme-park-India.html
« Last Edit: August 10, 2009, 06:08:32 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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