HERITAGE experts have raised objections to the illumination of the Taj Mahal in India, saying it’s ‘not a monument to experiment with’. Officials at the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) believe illuminating the 17th century mausoleum jeopardizes its marble surface.
Sources at the ASI said that there was ‘pressure’ from the tourism ministry to install the lights, even though previous studies have argued against it.
Low-level security lighting posts have been installed at the World Heritage Site, says the ASI, with the aim of lighting it up at night and making it more attractive for tourists.
‘However, the direct illumination of the marble monument has brought with it a big problem – insects,’ says archaeologist M. K. Bhatnagar. ‘These are grass-sapping insects sit on the floors and walls of the illuminated part and discharge their excreta on the surface, leaving a coloured pigment on it, thus spoiling the flawless beauty of the architectural icon.’
Says a former ASI director-general, Mr B. R. Mani: ‘The Taj Mahal does not need lighting at all. It is a marble structure and can be seen in all its glory in natural light. On full moon night, one can see it in all of its splendor.’
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