Taj Mahal discoloration due to human activity, according to study

By on December 22, 2014
Taj Mahal world heritage site in Agra, India. (Credit: David Castor)

Scientists have recently discovered that the Taj Mahal is turning brownish due to carbon particles from cooking, brick-making, trash burning, car exhaust and other human activity, The Times of India reported.

The scientists used pristine pieces of marble placed around the Taj to trap airborne contaminant particles. An electron microscope told them the size, number and chemical element type of all particles trapped. Computer modeling compared the expected reflectance of certain carbon type pollutants with the actual reflectance changes on the Taj, helping the scientists determine which particle types were the likely culprits of discoloration.

The Taj Mahal discoloration could be worse, however. The Taj is routinely and thoroughly cleaned with clay, which traps some discoloring chemicals in the air of Agra.

Top image: Taj Mahal world heritage site in Agra, India. (Credit: David Castor)


  1. deepika sharma

    March 26, 2015 at 6:33 am

    proper steps have to be taken by the government to save taj mahal from pollution before it becomes too late.

    • Lori Balster

      April 8, 2015 at 5:17 pm

      I agree! I have seen the Taj Mahal in person. It is magnificent! Much bigger than I realized, and such beautiful semi-precious stone details. It would be such a shame if pollution took away any more of its beauty. Unfortunately the Indian government does not tend to react swiftly to such things.

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