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This report has been prepared by


MARCH 2003


This document has been compiled by ANNABEL LOPEZ
The Site Management Plan has been prepared by TA] M A H A L CONSERVATION
Our grateful thanks are due to:

Secretary Culture Chairman, Project lmplementation Committee Mrs Komal Anand Additional
Secretary Culture Mr Navneet Soni Member secretary

Sir Bernard Feilden ProfJames Westcoat Prof. Ebba Koch Dr Milo C. Beach
Ms. Marukh Tarapore Prof Senake Bandaranayake Mr Martand Singh Getty
Conservation lnstitute World Monuments Fund

Mr. Krishna Kumar Chairman and Managing Director Mr Ravi Dubey Senior Vice President
Corporate Communications Mr. Ashish Seth Area Financial Controller

W e especially acknowledge:
MS Kasturi G. Menon Director Generai Dr R. Grover Jt.Director General D r K. N.
Poonacha Director Monuments Dr R.K. Sharma Director Science M r Shyam Singh Chief
Horticulturist Dr K.K. Muhammad Superintending Archaeologist, Agra Circle Mr K. C.
Nauriyal Dy. Superintending Archaeologist, Agra Circle Mr Vikrama Bhuvan Assistant
Archaeologist, Agra Circle Mr M.C. Sharma Sr. Conservation Assistant, Taj Mahal Mr Tapan
Bhattacharya Sr, Conservation Assistant, Agra Circle


Ms. Amita Baig Heritage Management consultant Ms. Annabel Lopez Conservation consultant
Rahul Mehrotra Associates Conservation consultant Mr. Navin Piplani Conservation architect
Mr. Arup Sarbhadhikary structurai consukant Ms. Tara Sharma Research consultant
Dr. Priyaleen Singh Landscape architect, Conservation architect
Page Nos.
Introduction .................................................................. I
Mission statement ............................................................ 5

Chapter 1: THE SITE

Regional Context ............................................................ 7
Site Description............................................................. II
Cultural Significance........................................................ 15
Evaluation of Key Issues.................................................... 18

Introduction .................................................................. 23
Principles for Conservation ................................................ 25
Documentation and Research............................................. 27
Planning and Implementation.............................................. 34
Maintenance and Management............................................. 36

Chapter 3: LANDSCAPE
Introduction................................................................... 37
Principles of Historic Garden Conservation ............................. 41
Documentation and Research.............................................. 44
Planning and lmplementation............................................... 47
Maintenance and Management............................................. 48
Introduction .................................................................. 49
Principles of Visitor Management and Facilitation...................... 51
Documentation and Research............................................. 53
Visitor Management and Facilitation Objectives ........................ 61
Planning and Implementation ............................................... 63
Maintenance and Management............................................. 68


Site Security .................................................................. 69
Risk Preparedness.......................................................... 71


Introduction.................................................................. 73
Research and Documentation ............................................. 74
Planning........................................................................ 76
Implementation ............................................................... 80


Introduction.................................................................. 81
Existing legal and administrative framework............................ 83
Guiding Principles for a Management Policy.............................. 85
Proposed Management Structure ........................................... 86

Plan of Action .................................................................. 88

Photo Credits ................................................................. 89

Bibliography................................................................... 93
List of Illustrations ........................................................... 95


1. The Taj Mahal, wiih the crowded ciiy of Agra as a backdrop.

The Taj Mahal is undoubtedly amongst the most important

monumental sites in the world. This, dong with many others,
constitutes a common world heritage, to be treasured as unique
testimonies to an enduring past. Their disappearance would be
an irreparable loss for humanity - the preservation of this
common heritage concems us all.

The recognition of the Taj Mahal as a World Heritage Site in It is clear that a
1982 has resulted in increased national and international
awareness and concern about the monument and its
environment. The Taj Mahal particularly has been the focus of understanding of the regional
world attention because pollution was seen to be damaging the issues are necessary if a long
marble faade and while measures instituted for the term strategy for the
amelioration of this condition have already commenced, it is preservation of the Taj Mahal
clear that a holistic approach for the restoration of the entire
and its environs is to be
complex is required to preserve the monument.
The need for a Site Management Plan for the Taj Mahal, a
World Heritage Site, and indeed all sites, is today a recogmed
necessity for effective conservation and protection. The
accolade of World Heritage Site status has brought to many of
the world's most significant monuments, enormous pressure
from visitors who are aware of the value of these sites.




LEGEND Core Zone

O Buffer i ,ne
ure 1. Satellite image of Taj Mahal indicatingareas of inteivention in the core zone and the bufier zone.

According to the World Tourism Organisation " from a

consewationistpoint of view, m weii as f i m the p~bkcsectorperqective,
the main value of tourism at hetitage sites eSs in that if serves as an
intmd~ctionto the histotical and cultural background ofa countty orphe
wbicbpeopie may never appmach otbede. "

Tourism growth internationally in the last twenty or thirty years

has necessitated conservationists to take a far more holistic view
of the protection of a site. Where previously adequate and timely
conservation measures were deemed sufficient for the protection
of a site, today these sites face-overwhelming pressures linked to
rapid urbanisation, tourism growth, as well as heightened



Equally, conservation itself has become highly specialized and it

is crucial therefore that a Site Management Plan for the Taj
Mahal complex and its environs, brings the cadre of
conservation practitioners in different fields of specialization
together under a single umbrella. Such a Site Management Plan
will ensure that the manner in which the Taj Mahal site is
managed and the different forces influencing the site are
integrated so that it ensures the cooperation of a much larger
constituency of stakeholders. This is based on not just a World 2. The Taj Mahal, Tomb of the Emperor
Heritage mandate, but also an acknowledged need that Shah Jahan and His Queen, England,
1824, Charles Ramus Forrest.
conservation and preservation of historic sites is oniy possible
when it is hmily rooted in processes of consultation and
participation at the local level.

While it is recognized that the future of any monument can oniy

be secured within the context in which it is situated, and thus
linked to development strategies; the Site Management Plan for
the Taj Mahal complex and its environs, seeks to bring together
in a single document the institutional and legal frarnework,
conservation perspectives and practices, horticultural and water
management concerns, and visitor management and facilitation
of the Taj Mahal.

The Site Management Plan wdi in due course, address regional The Site Management Plan
concerns linking basic city centric i'ssues such as the availabihty will be continuously updated
of drinking water or electricity, which directly affect the and its success will be
management and maintenance of the Taj Mahal site itself. It will
also address the details of buffer zone planning and measured by its capacity to
management, taktng into its purview through cooperation with keep abreast of emerging
the multiple concerned agencies, other concerns related to the challenges without ever
city and its future development. For the sake of clarity and as an compromising on the
irnplementation tool, the Taj Mahal Site Management Plan fundamental principles of the
wiii in the first phase address the core monumental area
and in the second phase the buffer zone.
authenticity and integrity of
the site.
The Taj Mahal is a particularly large site; it is a complex of
several buildings and gardens all of whch are an integral part of
the whole. The Site Management Plan d bring all these areas
together so that composite planning will be possible for the
entire site. It is based on an understanding of the systems and
procedures currently operational and has made every effort to
augment and enhance rather than introduce new procedures,
which become cumbersome.

The management challenges of the Taj Mahal as a World

Heritage Site today cannot be over-stated. ICOMOS in 1982,
while endorsing the nomination recornmended that a Site
Management Plan be prepared; this is the frst attempt to
integrate the planning, conservation and management challenges
as an ongoing partnership of the AS1 and the private sector.


This preliminary document has been developed on a
relationship of trust and cooperation developed over the last
year since the National Culture Fund, the Atchaeological
Survey of India, and the Indian Hotels Company Ltd.,
signed a Memorandurn of Understanding, on the 20' of
June, 2001, for the "comemation, restoration and @gradation and
beaahzcatwn of The Tq-Mabal and smandng mm': The Site
Management Plan for the Taj Mahal is intended to be the
3. Mr. Ratan Tata at the signing of the guiding principles and strategies based on a successful public
MOU between the National Culture
Fund, the Archaeoiogical Survey of private partnership.
lndia and lndian Hdels Company Ltd.
The Taj Mahal Conservation Coilaborative (TMCC) came
into existence in July 2001 as consultants to IHCL to advise
on the development of the projects and schemes envisaged as
part of this MOU. This last year has been an intensive
learning process to understand the range of issues, which
impact the site. These will be examined in greater depth in the
main report and as the project develops over the next few
years. The TMCC has worked in close partnership with the
AS1 to develop t h s Site Management Plan and it has been
drafted foliowing intensive interaction with officiais of the
AS1 in Delhi and Agra.


In recognition of the international significance of the Taj Mahal. a holistic approach t o the
conservation of the Agra Heritage region is imperative. By conceptualising an overall regional
vision, appropriate prominence can be given t o the Taj Mahal. This is the long-term objective.

Authenticity and integrity of the entire complex, the monument, the gardens and the environs
must be restored as far as it is possible. There must be a clearly articulated vision for the whole
and a strategic plan t o achieve these goals.

There must be a commiunent t o include the stakeholders of Agra in the decision-making process
especially relating t o issues, which direaly impact them. The role of the citizens as stated in the
42nd amendment t o the Constitution of lndia " the fundamental dug and responsibilhy of every
citizen of lnaa value andpreserve the rich heritage of our composite culture'' could only be
reinforced in a spirit of mutual trust

Human Resource Development wiII be a key component in the Site Management Plan enhancing
the range of skills both technical and managerial, but most of al1 the development of master
craftsmen whose futures can be secure in the preservation opportunities of the Taj Mahal.

Creation of mechanisms t o sustain in the long-term CO-operationof the multiple stakeholders as

well as professional and technical expertise necessary for different aspects of the site.

There is an imperative need t o continuously improve the visitor experience. The facilities must
provide maximum information through multiple media while ensuring the spirit of sanaity and
serenity, as the guiding principle of iu development.

Enhance the visitor's perception of the monument and its surroundings and weave these
presently disparate parts into a seamless fabric of experience.




At the end ofthejrst Advisors meeting, on the Consemation of the Taj Mahal heldjrom 25fh-28fh September 200 1, we asked
Prof: Ebba Koch to wnte about the project, itsprospects andperspectives. She responded substantiveb.

"Dear friends,

1 feel much honored that 1 was asked to make these concluding remarks to Our meeting.

We have been experiencing in the past days somehng which in Mughal terms could be described as a
confluence of two oceans, a Majma'-ul- Bahrain, to borrow the title of the famous work on Vedanta and
Sufism (1655) of Shah Jahan's son Dara Shkoh. In our meeting, one of the "oceans" was the Indian
government, the Archaeologcal Survey of India, represented by its Director General, Kasturi Gupta Menon;
the other was the pnvate sector, the Indian Hotels Co. Ltd, represented by its Senior Vice President Ravi
Dubey; the National Culture Fund mediating between the two. But it was also a confluence of a group of
individuals, the expert advisors and the Taj Mahal Conservation Collaborative team, brought together on the
basis of their specific expertise by the convenors of this meeting Rahul Mehrotra and Amta Baig.

In t h s unique constellation, a group of experts was gven an officia1 platform to exchange information and
ideas with the ASI. Tnis interaction, whch took place in a highly positive spirit, has made the visit to the Taj
Mahal and the meetings at Agra so spedal and important. On the site and in the meetings we were busy to
discuss specific areas and problems; therefore 1 would like to draw your attention again to the whole
monument, so that we can see out respective concems in its overall context. My thoughts are based on a
long association with the Taj Mahal; 1 have been working on Mughal art and architecture since 1976, and
since 1994, specifically on the Taj Mahal and its urban context.

The success of the Taj Mahal, 1 believe, lies not only in its aesthetic, romantic and symbolic appeal but also in
the fact that it expresses in a canonical form the architectural principles of the Mughals. The Taj Mahal is the
Moghuls' great contribution to world architecture, and, it is important to note, that from the very begnning
it was conceived as such. In the words of Shah Tahan's historian it was to be "the masterpiece of the days to
come whch adds to the astonishment of humaAty at large." The monument was thus not only planned as a
rnagmficent burial place for Mumtaz Mahal but "uniil the Day of Judgement" it was to testify to the power
and glory of Shah Jahan and Mughal rule. The Taj Mahal was built for us, the viewer.

The Taj Mahal complex is laid out on strict principles, which can be derived from the architecture itself. They
may also guide us in our concems of conservation and represent themselves as follows:

1. Consistent symmetrical planning with emphasis on bilateral symmetry on both sides of a central axis.
The emphasis is on the features in the center, the tomb and the gateways, on both sides are arranged
structures mirroring each other. Every component is thus indispensable for the whole of the
balanced composition. Each and every structure of the Taj complex is of equal importance and
deserves the same kLid of attention.

2. Hierarchy, expressed in a carefd grading of material, forms, and color down to the most minute
omamental detail. That means, every omament plays its role in the overall concept, down to the
smallest dasa mouldmg. The mausoleum itself is clad in white marble and the subsidiary structures
are faced with red sandstone, special features such as domes may be clad in whte marble. This
hierarchcally graded colour dualism -generally characteristic of irnperial Mughal architecture but
here explored with unparalleled sophistication -connects the monument to ancient Indian shastric
traditions where white-coloured stones are assigned to Brahmuls and red ones to kshatriyas, the
wamor caste. In h s way the Mughals related themselves archtecturally to the hghest levels of the
Indian caste system. The surface of the Taj Mahal is thus not only of aesthetic relevance but, beyond
that, cames hghly significant hstorical and sociological associations. The conservation and
treatment of the differentiated surfaces of the Taj is a key agenda and featured large in our



discussions with Dr. R. K Sharma, Director of Science of the Archaeologcal Survey. It is hoped
that the expertise of the Getty Conservation Institute represented by Franois LeBlanc wdl
contribute to find the best solutions for ths sensitive issue.

3. A sophtsticated symbolism in the architectural programme. Here the archttecturaiiy plamed garden
emerges as a dominant feature. The concept of the garden of the Tai Mahal goes beyond its
plantation part, the reconstruction of whtch was, in our discussions, the spedal concem of Shyam
Singh Yadav, Chef of Horticulture of the Archaeologcal Survey, and of James Wescoat of the
University of Colorado at Boulder. The garden form of the Taj Mahal represents, as 1 believe, the
monumental and idealised expression of the nverfront or water front garden, a specific Mughal
version of the Persianate chaharbagh. Senake Bandaranayke has shown in hts analysis of the gardens
of S i p y a at Sn Lanka, whtch date from the fifth century A. D., that the chaharbagh made its
appearance in South Asia long before the Gst Mughal ernperor Babur claimed to have it brought to
Hindustan (1526). It goes, however, to the credit of the Mughals to have developed the spedfic
variant of the water front garden, whtch takes advantage of the main water supply of the Indian
plains, a large, slow flowing river. In the water front garden, the main bddings are set on a terrace
overlooking the nverfront and the four-part chaharbagh element is placed on the land ward side.

In the Taj Mahal, the characteristic configuration of the water front garden was not only used for the
funerary garden but also for the arrangement of the subsidiary structures, the forecourt and the
bazaar and caravanserai complex. The latter, in its ongmal form, was cross axiaiiy arranged and
echoed the layout of the tomb garden; it formed an integral part of the Taj Mahal complex.
However, it has been b d t over by the city quarter caiied Taj Ganj and represents an area of concem
for possible restoration, at least in form of an architectural model or a computerised reconstruction,
a taik that 1 would like to take on. A place to show t h s would be the reorganised museum or visitor
center, about whch Martand Singh has presented hts ideas.

The garden informs also the symbolism of the Taj, it is a leitmotif of its decoration with flowering
plants in stone relief and in the famous pietra dura inlay technique. The flowers on the waiis of the
Taj Mahal might not smeU, as the court poet of Shah Jahan tells us, but they do not fade or whtther,
and thus express etemal bloom and never endmg spring in the garden palace of Mumtaz,
representing a model here on earth of the paradisiacal gardens.

The garden links the Taj Mahal to the city of Agra, to its urban context. In the seventeenth century
Mughal Agra was formed by bands of gardens lining the river Yamuna on both sides. Agra was a
river front garden city, like Pans or London, described by the poets as "a sweet smehng garden with
new blossoms".

Some of this past utopia, at least in the immediate surroundings of the Taj Mahal, can be recreated. The
water works of the Taj Mahal, the adjoinkg garden of Khan e Alam and the Mehtab Bagh on the opposite
side of the Yamuna could form an ensemble with the Taj Mahal. Our concems go beyond the Taj Mahal to
its environment, the dty of Agra and we all work for the reahsation of these ideas. Thank you."

Professor Ebba Koch,

Institute of History of Art,

University of Vienna, Austria




Taj Mahal, the pinnacle of Mughal architectural glory remains

unsurpassed as a jewel in the World's Heritage. Today however
it is a victim of its celebration; overburdened with the influx of I
tourists and vulnerable in its environment, presenting
challenges and opportunities for its conservation, preservation
and its presentation.
Historically at the crossroads of civilkation, the Emperor
Akbar described Agra, 'Yhe eqon'pcm of the trajc of the world':
when he established the capital of the Mughal Empire here. His
grandson the Emperor Shah Jahan crowned two generations of
di- '
architecturai and certainly- sepulchrai,
- grandeur in A g a with this
entraordinary monument, in the &si half of the ieventeenth
century. L

The city of Agra remains at the heart of India with the

country's major arterial highways transiting the city and carrying
most of the countrv's 4. Extreme'ydensecityofAgra
, Ioroduction and s u ~L ~ l i eTraditionai
trade in indigo, grain and salt has given way to leather, iron
foundries and glassworks. The city of Agra has always had a
bustling economy although in recent times with the ad hoc
development of small and medium scale industries and with
infrastructure unable to keep pace, there is extensive decay
evident in the hstoric city fabric.

Even so it is a situation not dissirnilar to the seventeenth

century when Emperor Jehangir wrote "In the nmber ofbuildigs
(inAgra) it is eqzlal to several dies ofIrq, Kburman and Trans Omana
put together. M a y persons have erected buihngs of3 or 4 storeys in it.
The man ofpeople is so great that moving about in the lanes and ba7aars
are dz@caIt':

The Taj Mahal is the culmination of extensive architectural

ambitions in Agra. The tradition of a grand mausoleurn follows
Sikandra, the tomb of the Emperor Akbar and the tomb of
Itrnad ud Daulah, uncle of Nur Jahan, Emperor Jehangir's
favourite wife.

The Agra Fort, which towers over the city, its ramparts visible
from miles around, was declared a World Heritage Site, as '<it
cannot be sepmated from the Taj Mahal'! Situated on the West bank
of the Yamuna, it was built by Akbar between 1565 and 1573
and was briefly abandoned for Fatehpur Silui, (also a World
I 1

Heritage Site), the new Mughal capital forty kilometres away,

built by Akbar between 1571 and 1585. The capital shifted back 1
here and Agra Fort regained its importance with many sections T,j - the cultural fabric
of it being rebuilt by Shah Jahan. bordering the Taj Mahal.

- - - - -






Fgure 2. Location map and the Taj Trapeziurn Zone.



The city of Agra also witnessed the development of a spate of

river front gardens, designed for the pleasures of the great
court. Rmn Bagb, Chini ka Rmqa and Mebtab Bagb are still extant,
part of what was an extensive garden development that formed
a grand fiontage for the Agra Fort and perhaps more relevant
when the river flowed dong the Fort walls.

Over the years, with the shifting of the capital to Delhi and The picturesque east bank of
Nadir Shah's systematic plundering of the city, Agra's historic
the Yamuna is dotted with
sites gradually fell into disuse and disrepair. Almost 150 years
later, early in the 10thcentury the British established a garrison at historic gardens, palaces,
Agra. Initially their presence was discreet but they gradually pavilions including the quiet
gained control of the Fort and also established a -'cantonment' tree shaded Ram Bagh,
with its own railway station, public buildings, churches, believed to be the earliest
cemeteries and bungalows, which provided a buffer for them
Mughal garden laid out by
fiom the city. Interestingly today it is still this that provides a
sanitized zone protecting the monuments from the city's Babur, in 1526.


F$ire 3. K ifront gardens.





SN-EU U l m

[ruw am

fl FA-

I M wR3

Fgure 4: Layout c4 the TJ Mahal canplax




Built over twenty-two years from 1632, the Taj Mahal The Taj Mahal is part of an
commemorates the love of the Emperor Shah Jahan for his wife eilormous corriplex covering
Mumtaz Mahal. Bounded by high wails on three sides and the
River Jumna on the fourth. The grand design of the Taj Mahal
16 hectares within its walls
also included Mehtab Bagh on the opposite side of the river, and twenty-two hectares,
which was believed for many years to be the unfinished black inclusive of TajGanjand Khan
Taj Mahal but is now said to have been conceived as a e Alam. In effect, one third of
moonlight garden with a central reflecting pool rnirroring the the complex was planned for
Taj Mahal. Perhaps it was also a logical continuation of the
water front gardens.
visitors to the Taj Mahal.

Entry to the Taj Mahal complex is initiaily through gates in the

three boundary walls. This gives way to the Jih Khana or the
place of congregation for visitors. Senes of colonnades on all
sides provided shelter for the large number of visitors Shah
Jahan anticipated would visit the mausoleum. The Jih Kbana
has four smaller courtyards in its corners; of these, two house
the graves of Sirhind Begum and Satiun Nisa. Two courtyards
for tomb attendants on the opposite side provided a composite
facdity for ail visitors to the site.

At the south side Taj Gay' is a complex of serais created to

provide for the needs of visitors to the Taj Mahal as well as
other visitors who may not be housed w i t h the main complex.
Earlier known as Mumtazabad, it had classic cruciform layout,
gates, and four serais, each with a courtyard. It remains a bustling
bazaar although there are bare fragments remaining as evidence
of the histonc fabric.

The eastern and western gates were for visitors. However the
central focus is the main entrance to the Taj Mahal. It is a huge,
highly embellished thirty-meter high red sandstone gateway,
which towers over the J i h Kbana. With its fine calligraphy and
sandstone inlay it presents a perfect foi1 for the white marble
monument beyond. It was the point from which the entire area
was guarded as it provides a vantage of the whole complex.

This opens into the Taj Mahal char bagh centered here not by the T0 stress the visual impact,
building as with most char baghs, but with a water tank and a externa] aild interna]surfaces
central platform designed to view the tomb.
formed by veneering slabs
In addition to a complex network of waterways, is a central and crowning components
concourse of fountains, which are sti intact. Al1 are part of an were ~ d ~ r n witll
e d inlaid
elaborate water system that lifted water from the nver and patterns of stone strips and
brought in by aqua ducts through an intrkate system of water fragments.(M.C.Joshi)
channels to the gardens. The irrigation system was designed to
serve the gardens, as weil histoncally optirnising water resources.



6. Vertical section through the Taj Mahal, India, c. 1820

O n either side of the char bagb is what is called the Naabat

Kbana. The bddings all stand in perfect and rigorous syrnmetry
creating balance and harmony that have remained undisturbed
through the centuries.

Although the gardens have Located 275 metres from the main gate beyond the gardens
- s~~ibstantivelvover
chanqed and the water channels, the mausoleum is the jewel; its perfect
white proportions offset bp four minarets and flankedby the
the years, the original layout
red sandstone Mosque and Jawab or Mebman Kbana.
remains undisturbed.
The principle materials used in the construction of the Taj
Mahal, its minarets and other related buildings, are thin
squarish kzkbori bricks and lune mortar. Some quantity of
rubble was also used in the foundation. The Mughals used the
marble and red stand Stone as a veneer. The crypts are
enclosed within eight chambers at two levels totalling sixteen
chambers. These outer chambers are unadomed and a simple
rendering of lime plaster suffices.

Materials used in .the irilay Extensive use of arches, decorative and functional cbbaz;tris,
cupolas and gaIdastas embellish this structure. Multiple alcoves
include . . .varieties of agate
inside and out have been used for not only for structural
and jasper, cornelian, lapis, strength but also to break the monotony of the facades. Raised
coral and other serrii on a high platform, of the cenotaphs at two levels, the lower
precious stones. (M.C.Joshi) houses the remains of the Emperor and his wife with access
lunited to a select few, whde the upper chamber was for visitors
and for placing of the chadar, during the m.



The cenotaphs are also richly engraved with inscriptions from Overawed by the grandeur
the Quran and are dated. In consonance with Islamic tradition and scale of the monument
the bodies are buried with their faces towards Mecca and their
and dismayed by the decay,
feet facing south. At the upper level they are enclosed in an
intricately carved marblejali (screen) and the 'graves' here are Lord Curzon, afer his arrival,
still attended. Origmally Shah Jahan had installed a gold screen in the early tweritieth century,
around the graves, but he hirnself removed this and had the ordered its restoration
marble jali installed. The inscriptions here and indeed according to al1 available
throughout the site, are earthly descriptions of the Garden of
evidence and original
Even today the Taj Mahal is an extraordinary feat of
engineering. The entire foundation rests on a compact bed of
masonry. Deep wells made of rubble-in-lime inside and stone
masonry outside along the riverfront, keep the plmth absolutely
dry. A series of arches above the piers support the
superstructure. The mausoleum was raised to its height perhaps
to avoid the risk of flooding; although today there is little risk as
the river waters have receded considerably.

In its conception, the Taj Mahal had i n b d t systems for its

continuous life; during Shah Jahan's lifetime there was an annual
urs; even after Shah Jahan's death and his interment, there were
regular Friday prayers and financial provision for Khddims to
maintain the property from t h t y revenue villages yieldmg
money from the lands as well as shops and serais withtn the
complex. The Khadims maintained the property for many

After the decline of the Mughals the site was victim to vandals
and marauders amongst whom Nadu Shah's arrnies were the
most notorious. This led to a huge amount of the jewelled inlay
being stolen and considerable damage to the facade. The
gardens too began to grow d d .

The h s t Taj Comrnittee to oversee repairs and maintenance of The Archaeological Survey of
the Taj Mahal was established early in the 1 9 century
~ ~ by Lord
lndia has maintained the Taj
Minto. Funds were scarce, apart from seliing the produce of the
garden to maintain it; the British briefly entertained the Mahal as envisaged by Lord
possibility of seliing the marble to mobilize resources. Finaily Curzon. It has stabilized the
the British appropriated the income of the revenue villages and structures, replaced lost inlay
the Taj Mahal survived. and repaired damaged
stone.. . an ongoing process
The fkst efforts at restoring the Taj Mahal served the building
well, a period of transformation began in the gardens. It was of conservation, preservation
perceived that the building required better viewing so a large and restoration. The garden
nurnber of trees were felled and lawns laid out to replace the however is not reflective of
complex and innovative planting patterns of the char bagh. its original concept and
Modern water systems overlaid the traditional system and so design.
that fell into disrepair as well.


g]g THE SlTE


Th~ym knm, O E e m r Sha&ahan,

Thatyouth,gloy and riches allpass may in the stream of Time.
Mighf the s o m o f f i hart
Be made deathIess,fhat wm the &re ofthe Eipmr.
Let the po* of tegalpower
Vanish ke the htglotv ofthe sunset sky,
But may one deep sigh
Make tender the heauens, t h i ~wmyour widsh.
The lustre ofalyow aliamonds andpeuris
Is like tbe rainbow,
Spreading enchanfmnt ouer the distant sky;
If that lustre cJims, Let it uanish,
But m g this Tq-Mahalglistenbight
Like a tear dq on the cbeek of Tim

You havepasse4 O En@em~

Yomeqire hm vanished like a &am
Andymr t h n e lies in the clusf.
The memoy ofyour wammors
Under whose fr- the earth ona s h M 4
Is borne on the &-ka& mndr @Delhi.

Your mmiians h g no more,

The d r k m ofthe nababat mngk no more
With the n@hs ofthe Jumna.
Thejingling music of thepincesses anGts
Wich died abun amidt thefmaken ruins,
Ibappean in the cry ofthe ctickets
And resoundF in the darkness of the night.
StiIIyow message, untired and unfaing,
Ignhng the rise andfall ofeq&ires,
The rbythm $129and death,pmcbms though the ages
With the uoice of the etd-befeaued
"1 h u e notfqotten, I bave notjf~eotten, O behd"

by Rabinciranath Tagore

7.The Tq Mahd, Agra, from the Garden, Thanas DanieIl&William.



Today, the Taj Mahal is the symbol or the cultural icon of India. The spirit of perfection in the
It transcends all barriers, cuts across communities and singular r,lahal isvisible only in
visions, to represent to the rich cultural diversity and the highly
sophisticated heritage of which India is so proud. Its sipficance
the structural scheme but
is undisputed as it is the most important image of India. It is also in the selec1:ion and
certainly the most familiar building in the world perhaps also utiiization of building
because of its pervasive exploitation for commercial purposes. materials, the technique of
construction, and the
The Taj Mahal stands apart; it belongs to the nation as a whole
execution of details.
and to each Indian individually and is celebrated as the heritage
of the world. It is interesting to see that the largest numbers of
visitors to the Taj Mahal are pilgrims of many faiths on their
way to or from Mathura and the respect they offer at the grave
of Shah Tahan or Mumtaz Mahal is akin to that to a saint or seer.
The range of visitors that pay homage to the monument is
reflective of the aspirations of a secular and evolved nation with
a deep respect for its heritage.

Today the Taj Mahal is an oasis in a city overburdened and

degraded and the expansion of visitors to the monument offers
to the citizens' respite from urban pressures and indeed many of
the residents of Agra still seek refuge in its serene environs, cut
off from the noise and chaos that pervades. Simultaneously
there are many issues concerning the state of contemporary
Agra that have alienated the citizens of Agra from their heritage
and these must be resolved; nonetheless there is an inherent
pride in being host to this extraordinary monument.

The Taj Mahal is no longer just a building to admire, whether

for aesthetic reasons or for its romantic appeal, to most people
around the world the Taj Mahal is synonymous with excellence.
The Taj Mahal symbolizes the technical and aesthetic perfection
of the Indo-Islamic art of building.

Often described as a 'vision a dream, a poem, a wonder', what is Travellers have claimed that
notable in the design of this sublime garden tomb, despite its
organic unity is the hierarchcal treatrnent of the three divisions:
the Taj Mahal, was European
the most sipficant (Taj Mahal and garden), the less significant in design and influenced by
(gate and forecourt), and then Tg.Ganj, B a n i A l a m and Mebtab 17th century architecture.
Bagb. This disposa1 of structural components appears to reflect Today we acknowledge it as
the Mughal imperial organization, with graded units an amalgam of diverse
superimposed on a grand sepulchral construction, and
demarcated areas for royalty, guards and attendants, and the
cultural influences, but wholly
cornrnon man all of who used the complex within the said lndian in design,
hierarchy. Described as, 'one of the most elegant and implementation,
harmonious buildings in the world', the Taj Mahal manifests the craftsinanship and feeling.
wealth and luxury of Mughal art.



The Taj Mahal with its The monument stands as testirnony to the technical skdl and
gardens bears testimony to scientific knowledge of its builders. This is evident from the
excellent handling of material and the use of constructional
a tradition whereby the devices: the arches used in raising the grand dome to distribute
integration of the monument weight evenly, the method of l a p g the foundation, and the
and its gardens is so subtle manipulation of minute detds.
complete it is not possible to
imagine one without the The entire complex is planned in such a way that the apparent
organic unity of the whole does not obscure the individuality of
other. The paradise garden
any part, nor does it detract from the prominence of the Taj
here achieves outstanding Mahal as the centre piece of the ensemble.
aesthetic ideals in a tomb
garden. The fountains, According to M.C. Joshi: The origin of the design of the Taj
rel'lecting pools trees and proper seems to lie in the Sabq Bay' (1530-40), a small,
unpretentious tomb near the mausoleum of Humayun in Delhi.
flower gardens together
From there the structural tradition appears to have evolved
symbolized the concept of through the tombs of Humayun (1565-66) and Abdur Rahirn
paradise on earth. Khan i-Khanan (1627), both in Delhi. The Sabq BurJ is the
earliest example of a double-domed Mughal tomb. The tomb of
Humayun, where the irregular octagonal design and the system
of double doming were improved, represents the next stage.
The Taj Mahal, however, being the most evolved and as it
turned out the culmination of Mughal sepulchral art, shows an
overall rehnement in building technique.

The Taj marks the Persian and Central Asian structural traditions can be traced in
culmination of Mughal the irregular octagonal plan and the lofty domes of the main
building as well as other buildings of the complex. The dome's
architecture and expresses bulbous form, constructed at the neck with high drums, is
a synthesis of various purely a Shah Jahani development. The soaring minarets
structural traditions. flankmg the main structure stems from the principal portal of
Elements like the cbarbagh, Akbar's tomb, the towers of the mausoleum of I'trnad ud-
the irregi-ilar octagonal plan Daulah, and the corner minarets of Jahangir's tomb.
( musamman-i-Baghdad), The minarets at the Taj Mahal bring yet another dimension of
half domes (nim gumbau), grace and proportion. He felt what is most impressive about the
double domes, grand apses, Taj Mahal is, "the s@e@ne treatment and not the volume or scale." E.B.
and alcoves predominate in I4avell believed, "it was meant to be ferninine.. .it is Mumtaq herse4
its scheme, but the geiieral radiant in heryouthful beau&"
structi-ira1 idiom is essentially
D r Pratapaditya Pal believes, "In the long histo7y of the nation, the
Indian, that is to Say Mughal, buildig is of no particular hhistorical sign$cance, it does not commorate
for it is a logical a major victoy, nor does it signz& a national cathartic experience. It does
development of the Akbari not embod3, a y l o f i princple or instituton, as other buildings in other
style. count& do. It ynboiqes the intense&personal traged3, of one man, at the
same t h e eqreshg one of the most poweful i ~ u l s e soj' the human
Jpecies, 'the stmgle to stave o f oblivion". ..not only does the Taj
Mahal epitomize the Mughals' love of beauty, it remains the
clearest expression of a man's perennial quest for irnrnortality as
well as his love for a woman.



Country: lndia
State, Province or Regions: Uttar Pradesh, Agra District
Name of Property: Taj Mahal
Geographical CO-ordinates: Lat 27' 10'-27" 1 I'N; Long, 78" 2' E
I" topo-sheet No.54 % (Survey of India)
Area of site inscribed: 22.44 hectares
Area of Taj Mahal complex: 16.83 heaars
From Sidhi Darwaza on the south, to the river side boundary wall on the north
and between the eastern boundary wall along the Khan-i-Alam road on the West
and eastern boundary wall along the Dashahara road, including Khan-i-Alam
Bagh, Saheli Burj Khasra No. 13, Fatepuri Masjid, Kali Masjid etc. and protected

Figure 5: Plan of the Site inscribed and the buffer zone




The Taj Mahal itself is in a good state of preservation.

Minor defects such as cracking of Stones due to the
corrosion of iron clamps have occurred and are addressed as
part of a regular and substantive maintenance program.

The Taj Mahal however, suffers from Wear and tear and
some degradation due to the large number of visitors. There
is however no evidence of any structural distress nor any
foundation failure but it has been advised that a geo-
8. The Taj Mahal, Tomb of the
Emperor Shah Jehan and his Queen, technical survey be carried out. This would be justified in
from 'A Picturesque Tour dong the view of the importance of the monument and its World
RNer Ganges and Jumna'.
Heritage status.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), responsible for

the repaits, conservation and maintenance of the Taj Mahal,
has taken adequate measures to preserve and protect the
monument without disturbing its originality.

In 1984, the Government of India constituted a committee

of experts to examine various aspects relating to structural
stability, aesthetics and tourism impact on the monument
Wittiin the irrin~ediateviciriity of and to suggest appropriate measures for preservation and
conservation of the monument. The Cornmittee after due
the Taj Mahal several
deliberations expressed it's satisfaction about the condition
measures to mitigate the of the monument, it's maintenance and the conservation
impact of tourisrri have already measures being adopted by the ASI. However it was felt
been implemented. necessary to have scientific studies conducted with the aitn
Tourist transport has of identifymg the causes of deterioration and then prepare
an action plan to rninirnize the loss.
been halted more ,than
a kilometre away and A brief summary of the preluninary reports from various
electric buses shuttle institutions available with the AS1 is given in 'Some rxrpects of
tourists to the Taj. the Consemation ofthe Tq'Mahal'by P.B.S. Sengar. In 1987, a
Shops located within Mission was organized by ICCROM on behalf of UNESCO
to report on the structural and geo-technical aspects of
the outer courtyard
conservation of the Taj Mahal. The objective was to advise
have been relocated to the Indian Govemment, through the ASI, on any steps
a new building nearby. needed to study the stability of the structure and foundation
of the Taj Mahal complex and to advise on preventive
maintenance procedure.

In January 1987, a mission by M. Laurenzi Tabasso and M.

Marabelli of the Instituto Centrale del Restauro, Roma,
enlisted the 'Efeets of Air Polntion on the Tg' Mahal and
sugestionsfor its consemation: The aiin was to study the effects
of air poilution and to advise on measures to be taken for the
conservation of the marble and sandstone.



Agra has a population of 1.2 million and is host to more than
two million visitors a year. It has grown exponentiaily in the last
few decades not as a major industrial town but as a small-scale
industrial town. Since it is designated a medium scale town and
although planning considerations do apply; much of the
concern for the future of Agra was centered around marketing
the Taj Mahal at al1 costs.

Infrastructure has failed to keep Pace with development. With

the rapid industrialization of Agra, most of the city functions
on diesel generators as electricity has a shortfd of more than
60%, meeting neither the requirements of the local industry nor
- , - . .-
'4 *C.'
WC;. -
its resident population. Power demandis increasing at the rate
of 13% per annurn, with no local generation and outmoded
distribution systems further exacerbating the problems. 9. Pollution in the Yanuna River

Water supply is at a critical low, providing about 2 litres of

water per head per day, with little hope of respite, as the river is
Wtually stagnant and contaminated with sewage and industrial
waste. The present sewerage system covers only 20% of the
population. The pressure of heavy vehicular traffic in the city
centre means as many as three lakh vehicles in the city without
increase in roads or control on pollution. Solid waste
management is about 30% below capacity.

Even before it was nominated as a World Heritage Site on 15&

October 1982, national and international concern had brought
into sharp focus the complex issues facing the city of Agra and
consequently the Taj Mahal.

In 1972, the 7 d o n tones per annum cmde oil processing 'Pollution' along with 'tourism
rehnery was comrnissioned at Mathura, no more than 50 kms pressure' is perhaps the
north of Agra, in the teeth of public opposition. This public greatest threat to the
awaxeness and concern gave rise to several initiatives that have monument today. The factors
sustained over the years. In 1982, in response to public
pressure, the Government of India declared the Taj Trapezium,
presently contributing to air
(refer to figure 4) an area of about 50 krns radius around Agra, pollution have been identified
as a controlled development zone thus mandating that no and major steps are being
major polluting industry would be permitted in this zone. taken to reduce them as far
as possible.
A Public Interest Litigation was fled in 1984 against the
Govemment as initial measures taken by them proved
inadequate. The legal provisions of the Taj Trapezium
covered only major indusuies and not the small-scale
sector. The petition was of the view that the legal provisions
of the Taj Trapezium were not sufficient to ensure that the
ambient air quaiity in the region would be achieved within
the permissible leveis.




199 1 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
SPM (uglm3)

91 93 95 97 99

S02 - Ambient Air Monitoring Station at the Taj Mahal, Agra

91 93 95 97 99
NOx - Ambient Air Monitoring Station at the Taj Mahal, Agra

Figure 6: Pollution Data




The State Government has launched an Agra Heritage Fund The Taj Mahal is highly
with a corpus of Rs. 5 crores to address infrastructure problems overburdened with more than
and development around the monuments. This is designed to
ten thousand visitors a day to
uulize funds raised from enhanced gate fee towards
development of the area around the site in an effort to try and the monument; every effort
acheve the complex goals and targets set by the Supreme Court has been made to attract
and monitored by national experts. visitors to Agra without
adequate development of city
Although today the State has begun to address the vicious cycle infrastructure or tourism
of problems of the city's decay, the d e c h e of the economic
base, compounded by revenue loss from insecure tourist
managenient at the regional
revenue, requires to be addressed substantively and wdl require level.
enormous political and administrative will to introduce
measures to energse the economy.

Equally, philanthropic and aid agencies have contributed

towards providmg pollution control, water treatment and solid
waste management equipment. However of great concern also
are the immeasurable pollutants from the informa1 sector,
which requires being included in the development plans.

The proposa1 to declare Agra a World Heritage City requires to

be addressed in direct relation to the capacity to improve its
infrastructure, quality of life for its citizens and the city's
economy. This is an opportunity to h k revitalization of the
city's heritage with employment opportunities, so that residents
may directly benefit from the large number of visitors to Agra.
In a curious irony of our times efforts to preserve the Taj
Mahal will fnally provide a healthier environment for the
citizens of Agra.

The Supreme Court judgment has ensured for the first time in No vision for the future would
India the concerns of conservation and development will be be meaningful unless the
dovetailed. There is a great opportunity to use this mandate to people of Agra are actively
integrate development plans of the city and its monumental involved at al1 stages. While
the Taj Mahal as a monument,
As long as the people of Agra do not feel that these issues are is of global signi.ficance, it's
being seriously addressed"they are unlikely to be sympathetic to future will only be secure
the cause of 'Heritage Conservation'. The judgment has had an within a civic order which
impact on the economic base of the city. Although ad hoc provides .first for .the well
growth and unplanned industrialization have led to this impasse,
the confidence of the residents of Agra has been sorely eroded.
being of the people of Agra
The State is making an effort but there remains much to be and imbues them with a
done and partnership with the community must be the guiding appropriate sense of pride in
principle for public-private initiatives. As a strategy, the local the Heritage of the City. (1nd0
community must be included in the protection of the Taj Mahal US Joint Blue Ribbon Panel)
and the city of Agra as a whole.




1&13. T h e is a need to address more system&iilly,the needs of World Heritage Sies like Fatehpur Sikri and Agra Fort and
tentath World Heritage Sies like Itimad-ud-Daulah's Tomb and Sikandara and more than 40 dher nationaliy protected
muments that enrich the fabnc of the city.



Introduction 23-24
Principles for Conservation 25-26
Documentation and Research 27-33
Planning and Implementation 34-35
Maintenance and Management 36


The history of repairs, restoration and other conservation

actions taken to prevent decay of the Taj Mahal, reflects upon a
wide spectrum of approaches, methods and practices engaged
over a time span of about 450 years.

The earliest record of its repairs is found in a letter, dated 1652

A.D., where Prince Aurangzeb points out defects in the dome
and vaults of the mausoleum to his irnperial father, Shah Jahan.
Reference has also been made to the submergence of the
Mehtab Bagh following the floods, which require cleaning,
although the octagonal pond and buildmgs in the vicinity were
reported to be in a good condition. Since then, conservation
activity at the Taj Mahal, to prolong the life of this monument 14. The dome of the Taj Mahal, (Photo
by Sumnil Janah)
has been carried out fairly regular, though documentation is
available only of those works undertaken during the British

The UNESCO World Hentage Site nomination dossier States

that, 'undPr the British, tbe entire outer sufce cfofthe Tq*
wm repai~ed
and cleaned, and the missing stones replaced' The historical time line
of conservation repairs highhghts that a great deal of
restoration has been undertaken to retain the original d e t d s
and features of the stmctures:
In 1874, the finial s m o u n t i n g the main dome was In Prince Aurangzeb's letter
regtlded, and the dome was made watertight by to Shah Jahan, it is stated that
pointing with Portland cement.
In 1936, the cracked and fractured marble stones of the
there were leaks in the
main dome were replaced by fresh ones, and open interna1 and external domes
joints were f3led with special lime mortar after grouting and cracks in the vaults over
the cracks with hydraulic lime mortar. the apartments of the second
The inner surface of the dome was plastered with weak floor.
cement mortar and left as such for a couple of years to
extract salts etc. from the masonry, and this process
has been repeated thrice so far
The missing precious and serni-precious Stone inlay
pieces were replaced with new ones or sometimes even
with cement or lune mortar mixed with pigments.
New marble and sandstone panels were made to
replicate the original carving and surface articulation,
and replace the decayed ones.
The broken, damaged and decayed building parts like
ch.jim, columns, brackets and so forth were replaced
with new ones made to original designs and patterns.
Sometimes a complete structure like a bt/IJ'or a chami
was reconstructed ushg sirnilar building materials and



In 1902, John Marshall was appointed the Director General of

A.S.I., and thereafter a legal framework to uni@ and control
nationwide archaeological and conservation work was provided
under the Ancient Monuments Preservation Act 1904. Lord
Curzon, the then Governor General of India (1899-1905)
expressed his passionate involvement in preservation of the
cultural heritage. From then onwards, both 'Archaeological
Sites and Remains' and 'Ancient Monuments' enjoyed the
unbiased protection of the A.S.I.
The Conservation Manual (1923) prepared by Marshall
provided significant guidance to conservation in India,
particularly to the works executed by A.S.1 at that tirne. Later
the Act of 1904 was updated and revised in order to provide
effective and widely applicable legal and administrative
measures, and the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological
Sites and Remains Act (1958) was formulated and adopted. The
15. Missing inlay vmk, Sirhi Datwaza.
Taj Mahal and such other monuments of national importance
were now protected under this Act, and therefore preserved
and maintained by the A.S.1 from their consolidated funds.

Considering this national importance of the Taj Mahal, and

recogming probable threats from both natural and man-made
factors, thematic scientific studies were taken up to investigate
the nature of deterioration, behaviour of materials, and the role
of pollution and other factors in the damage caused to the Taj

The Taj Mahal and its precinct maintain the historical integrity
with respect to the aspects of authenticity as mentioned in the
Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World
Heritage Convention:

authenticity in design

. authenticity in materials
authenticity in workmanship, or
authenticity in setting.

Conselvation was perceived as In order to achieve the objective of preserving the historical
integaty, cultural slgruhcance, qdtative unity, inherent spirit
a specialized practice related
and enduiuig value of the place, a comprehensive Conservation
exclusively to outstanding Plan is being prepared. This would ensure identification,
l?l~n~fTlentstaken tare of by protection, conservation and presentation of the 'values' of the.
the ASI. place; consequently handing it d o m to the future generations
in its entirety and integrity.

The various aspects of this conservation process include

planning, programrning, irnplementation; management,
monitoring and review are discussed in the following sections of
this document.




'Imbued with a message fiom the past, the historie

monuments of generations of people remain to the present
day as living wimesses of theit age-old traditions' (The
Venice Charter, 1964). The International Charter for the
Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites,
formulated in 1964 in Venice, States at its onset the significance
of the 'content' (or the message) of a historic monument. The
built form is an expression of this inherent intangible content of
the historic structure. This intangible content or talue' of a
historic monument can be interpreted by an informed ~
understanding of this built form, and hence the need for
comprehensive research and documentation.

Once the signifiicance of a historic site is understood and

established, a sensitive and informed philosophy of
conservation may be evolved and developed. An overall
planning for conservation works is included in the
16. Template for the stop the
Conservation Plan, which in simple and accessible ternis, would
set out the significance of the historic environment of the Taj
Mahal and its environs. Consequently, the policies and practices
that appropriately enable this significance to be retained,
revealed or enhanced would be dehned.

In addition to the World Heritage Convention (1972), there are

useful conservation charters, principles and guidelines
formulated and adopted by the wider international cornrnunity.
These are revised from tirne to time in order to maintain their
relevance in the evolving contexts of time and place, and retain
their applicability universaiiy.

The multiplicity of issues makes it difficult to adhere to any one It is crucial to identify,
particular set of guidelines. Therefore the Conservation Plan understand and assess the
for Taj Mahal wouid consider the more relevant of these attributes that make a place
documents as benchmarks or reference points whilst evolving Of value to Our and us,
and developing the conservation philosophy and principles
The recognition and respect
appropriate to the speci6city of our own context and
conditions. of these 'values' is therefore
fundamental to any planning
In principle, the conservation approach and methods adopted process, particularly in the
for the Taj Mahal complex and its environs would build upon context of conservafion.
the experiences of the Venice Charter (1964), and the more
recently evolved Burra Charter (revision 1999). The
'monumental' ideology of the Venice Charter and the World
Heritage Convention (1974) would be adapted making it
relevant to the conservation of the Taj Mahal mausoleum itself,
and the suentific aspects of documentation, research and



17. Schematic plans of the Taj Mahal, Agra, c. 1805.

For the anciliary historie structures, the relevance of socio-

anthropological approach of the Burra Charter would be
explored and developed upon the indigenous building
traditions and practices. In addition to the adaptability and
appropriateness of these principles endorsed by the wider
international conservation community, the overarching
philosophy of conservation articulated for Taj Mahal would
establish its local distinctiveness, and reinforce the contextual
specificity of the methods thus engaged.

The emphasis is on the need The specialized scientific process of restoration is based on
to recognize the significance respect for au overlapping layers of history manifested in the
of the traditional skills of Our form and content of the historic structure. The methods and
techniques of conservation conform to the htghest national and
craftsmen who are involved in international standards and engaged in consonance with the
the care and maintenance of code of ethics formulated and adopted universally. The need of
,these moriuments. The the day in our own context is to create an awareness that the
nurturing of traditional skills traditions and skills of our craftsmen are equally, if not more,
would complement the valuable and indispensable as the ancient monuments they
emphasis on the use of
modern technology in Conservation planning can be effective only if it sets out, at its
conservation practice. onset, strategies for implementation and mechanisms for
management and monitoring. The wide spectrum of problems
at the site would ensure diversity of approaches in preparing the
conservation plan; consequently making it flexible and adaptable
by providing a specific solution to every unique condition.




Clear and accurate documentation is an essential means of The artistic, aesthetic,

understanding, defning and recogmzing the 'values' of a arct-iitectural and historical
cultural resource; consequently exploring and expressing the
nature of the historic monument in its own cultural context.
diversity of the Taj Mahal
complex exists in unique
The 1lthICOMOS (The International Council on Monuments harmony and uriity of Mughal
and Sites) General Assembly, Bulgana set out the Principles for expression. It is crucial and
the Recording of Monuments, Groups of Buildings and Sites, indispensable to record and
which defines recording as, 'the capture of information which
document ,this unity of form
describes the physical configuration, condition and use of
monuments, groups of buildings and sites at points in time, and and content, in order to
it is an essential part of the conservation process'. evolve an informed and
holistic conservalion process.
The histonc monuments in the Taj Mahal complex, including
the 'Taj Mahal itself represent a wide spectrum of architectural
expression through their built form, layout of open and built
spaces, design, surface articulation, decorative and symbolic
features, specific use of materials and so forth.

These records would comprise of tangible and intangible

evidence that contribute to complete understanding and
informed interpretation of the site - its sigmficance and values.
The archiva1 research would highlight histoncal aspects of Taj
Mahal and its environs, dlustrating charactenstic expression of
the Mughal architecture. The study of Mughal art, craft and
architecture would be an intrinsic part of recording, and inform
the approach and methods of conservation.

The documentation would include recording of both the This intensive docunientation
existing state of historic structures to be conserved, and the
would provide an exhaustive
conservation process itself. This would highlight aii significant
stages, illustrating the physical state of historic structures resource archive for research
before, during and after conservation. In addition to this, the scholars and concerned
relevant principles and guidelines that have been considered people; consequently
while deciding on specific interventions would be included in promoting their interest and
the documentation report.
involvement in the
In consonance with Article 16 of the Venice Charter (1964), the preservation of the ciilt~.iral
documentation process adopted for the Conservation of Taj heritage.
Mahal stresses upon precise recording of al1 conservation works
including preservation, restoration or excavation. T o ensure the
sunival of the monument future conservators must know what
has occurred in the past. This recording would be presented
and archived in the form of analytical and cntical reports,
illustrated with drawings and photographs. In addition to stiU
photography, the entire conservation process would be video



Principles for the Recording of Monuments, Groups of

Buildings and Sites (ICOMOS 1996) assert that the need
for recordmg of the cultural heritage is essential to:
a. acquire knowledge in order to advance the
understanding of cultural heritage, its values and its
Documentatiori is an intrinsic b. promote the interest and involvement of the people
and indispensable ongoing in the preservation of the heritage through the
dissemination of recorded information.
activity throug hout a
c. permit informed management and control of
conservation process. construction works and of all change to the cultural
d. ensure that the maintenance and conservation of
the heritage is sensitive to its physical form, its
materials, construction, and its historical and
cultural sigmficance.



Colkimn i o p t o l

Calurnii i n o i l

C?lumn base



Figure 7: Sarnple Measure Drawings




for World Heritage Sites by
The documentation of historic structures in the Taj Mahal
complex is carefully tadored to serve the specific needs of each
Sir Bernard Feilden and
research, conservation and management component, and the Jukka Joltilehto has 4 distinct
overall objective. In addtion to on-site recording, the stages:
secondary information from relevant documents is collected Survey: methodical
and assessed for decisive evidences; the more directly applicable inspection, survey and
documents are also appended to the &al report. Sources of
reference include written accounts, early maps, photographs,
documentation of the
artefacts, drawings, prints, published articles, research studies, resource, its historical setting
annual work reports of ASI, and such other survey records that and its physical environment;
highlight past works of repair. Definition: critical-historical
definition and assessment of
One of the principal aspects of the survey is to guide all
the object and its setting, so
conservation and management projects, by developing a
framework for assessing the resource values, and establishing giving it its significance;
management objectives. Analysis: scientific
analysis and diagnosis of tlie
In this initial stage of the conservation project for Taj Mahal material substance and
and its environs, the historic building fabric survey has been
associated structural system
undertaken in order to 'read', understand and analyse character
and values of the place. The entire survey is planned in three with a view towards its
phases: conservation; and
Strategy: long-term and
Phase 1 Fatehabad gate courtyard, Fatehpuri gate courtyard, short-term programmes for
Eastern wali, main Entrance Gateway, and ancillary conservation and
structures at the southern gateway to the Taj Mahal;
management of change,
Phase II Condition assessment of the Taj Mahal mausoleum including regular inspections,
itself. Before this is done, a comprehensive recording cyclic maintenance and
of the mausoleum would be done by engaging stereo- environmental control.
photogrammetry and total station survey techniques;

Phase III Mebman Khana, Mosque, Nabat Khanas, Western

wail, SabeLi Bz@, and enclosure wall of the Taj Mahal

Scope of the Survey:

The scope and level of recording is dependent on several

factors, including the type and complexity of the structure, site
logistics, research agendas, potenaal threats, and nature of
proposed works. This survey would determine the type of
intervention required as well as the methods for conservation.
The assessment of the existing condition of the historic fabric
would lead to better understandmg of the structural and material
performance of the fabric, thus avoidmg irrevocable damage,
and allowing appropriate and sensitive conservation. The scope
18. Roorns and donnade around
of the fabric survey is defined to include: Fatehbad courtyard.



1. Documentation of physical evidence

a. Documenting building elements and recording them

accurately on drawings using CAD software.
b. recording every Stone for existing dunensions; decayed,
damaged or lost parts, cracks; structural deformations;
visible layers; tool marks; joints and jointing grooves;
metal clamps, dowels and other jointing material;
surface alterations, missing parts and so forth;
c. locating and markmg clearly distinguishable 'new' or
later additions, accretions, repairs or replacements to the
historic fabric.

This stage of identification and recording of essential building

parts and elements would help:
19. Colonnade around Fatehbad gate
courtyard. observe, study, analyse and ascertain their location and
condition in the original design conception and
traditional construction system; consequently
recogming historical integrity and authenticity.
establish their mutual relationshp in terms of design
requirement, performance abhty, compatibility with
other materials, physical response (to environment, user
needs etc.), aesthetics, workmanshp and so forth. This
would lead to an informed conservation process, by
determining the nature and degree of intervention.
record the effect of time and nature on various aspects
of the historic fabric and assess the present condition.
This would enable better analysis and interpretation of
the historical and archaeological evidences, and
elucidate the process of development and decay.

2. Systematic investigation

In order to detect the symptoms and probable causes of decay,

damage and loss of historic fabric, systematic scientific
The understanding and investigations are conducted at site. T h s component of the
documenta.l:ion of .tradi.l:ional survey involves CO-ordinationand scientific analysis of gathered
craftsmanship, skills and evidence to understand the cause and effect of decay, damage,
practices would help deterioration or loss of historic fabric. The investigation would
maintain the continuity of be substantiated by necessary laboratory tests and analyses of
buildmg materials affected by decay and damage, to identify and
indigenous building
ascertain the cause. The A.S.I. and specialists in the fields of
practices through their chernical conservation, structural engineering, environmental
engagement in indigenous studies, rnicrobiology and so forth would be involved to carry
conservation practices and out these specific tests. They would then present their
regular maintenance of conclusions. The appraisal of recorded historical accounts, and
reports of earlier interventions and repair works would form the
historic mon~iments.
background study.



3. Inventory of traditional materiais

Preparation of an inventory of traditional materials used in

the construction of the Taj Mahal and other historic
structures in the complex. This inventory would include:

a) sources of historic material used in the traditional

construction system, including lakba~rri bricks,
sandstone, marble, precious and serni-precious d a y
Stones, embellishments, inscriptions, decorative painting
and so forth;
b) study of their characteristic properties; the inherent
qualities of these materials that made their selection
desirable and effective for specific purpose. This would
20. Condition of inlay work
reflect upon the specificity of their use - functional,
aesthetic, artistic and structural.
c) documentation of construction marks, including
those made by a particular usage of tools, and are known
as tool marks. The particular direction in which a tool is
used, pressure applied on it and a specific technique
employed to achieve a particular hnish can be
understood by careful analysis of tool marks. However,
not all construction marks are tool marks. There are
evidences of masons' marks and impressions made
intentionally by the craftsmen. A comprehensive
recording of al1 such marks may shed light on the
anthropological aspects of the building activity in the Taj
Mahal complex.

A Fabric Survey is one of the principal ways of It is essential to distinguish al1

understanding, analysing, interpreting and re-establishg new additions, alterations,
traditional building systems and practices. A preliminary accretions and replacements
visual inspection and study of each structure is essential in
from the original fabric, and
order to know and dehne it as a whole. Knowing exactly
what is there and having a full record establish the therefore, specific
appropriate values established Every building component investigations would be
will be docurnented and analysed, considering ail aspects conducted to the building
that will elucidate the use, technique and methodology of parts where any such
original construction or intention. AU later interventions
evidence is visible.
would be recorded in a systematic manner, and the
overlapping layers of history revealed and documented.

Modem technology may then be employed in hannony

with these age-old practices in order to achieve accurate,
economic and effective results. This would revive and
reinstate the use of traditional craft culture, building
materials and construction systems in contemporary
methods and practices of conservation of cultural heritage.







Stone chajlo


Fdlatad arch

Caiumn capital

Column shaft

Cdumn b a w


Figure 8: Sample of the Building Fabric Survey




In order to initiate systematic scientific investigation certain tests are to be carried out on the
existing building fabric and new materials that are to be used for the conservation work. The
following tests need to be carried out before, during and on completion of the work. The
preliminary phase of on-site testing and sampling for laboratory analysis was successfully
completed in October 2002.

A. Tests on the existing structures:

1. Sample of lime mortars to be analysed for composition and lime content, at the
following locations of the existing structures -
l at a height of 200 mm from the floor level
l at lintel 1 springing of arch 1 vault levels
l at ceiling level
Samples for the above tests will be taken separately for lime plaster and lime
mortar in masonry;
2. Sample of bricks extracted from the structure at heights (a), (b) and (c) as specified
above, for compressive and absorption tests;
3. Endoscopic inspection through holes drilled into the wood of the rafters and
doorframes embedded in the masonry and other exposed locations, with
photographic record of the condition of the wood in these locations;
4. Inspection and report on the termite infection in wood work;
5. Ultrasonic Pulse Velocity tests at the soffits of the stone slab ceilings where
discoloured and deteriorated, to detect interna1 cracking; and results compared to
sound piece of similar stone;
6. Tests to be excavated near the wall foundations to see the condition.
7. Tests on the condition of water available, which is used, for construction.

B. Tests on new materials before procurement and during restoration work:

1. Chemical analysis of samples of unslaked lime (categorized as Class B) from

proposed sources before procurement;
2. Chemical analysis of samples of unslaked lime brought to the site from time to time,
including chemical analysis after slaking;
3. Tests on surkhi and record of fineness modulus thereof, and tests on bricks proposed
to be ground to produce surkhi.
4. Tests on lime, surkhi, cement gauged composite mortar proposed to be used in the
restoration work;
5. Tests on wood replacements for the presence of termites, and strength;
6. Ultrasonic Pulse Velocity tests on typical stone sections proposed to be used as
replacements or additional members for lintels and ceiling slabs
mat source
mon arriva1 at site
lafter erection;
7 Load and flexural strength tests on samples of stone structural members, before
8 Tests on new bricks, composite mortar, cladding stone slabs, and marble are to be
taken from time to time during the work, to ensure the integrity and uniformity of the
materials to be used, the properties of which should be as close as possible the




Programming for Conservation Projects

The Conservation Plan, besides d e h g and statmg the

phdosophical approach and ethics of conservation, would
programme al1 conservation projects to be taken up. The
historic b u i l h g fabric survey would inform these
conservation projects, by guidmg the degree and nature of
intervention, repair and preservation.

The study and assessment of existing condition of historic

fabric would define the prioritisation of conservation worlis,
based upon the nature and intensity of problems and
damage. This priority of works would be assigned in
accordance with the urgency of problems:

a. Immediate problems that cause a potential threat to

the public or senous risk to the historic structure
would be addressed urgently. The financial planning
21. Deteriorated stone inlay. would ensure allocation from the contingency reserve
for immediate interventions;
b. Short-tem projects would address such issues that
constitute bulk of the work necessary to preserve the
cultural resource and its significance. These would be
programmed for the next three years;
c. Medium term planning would take care of problems
that do not pose any serious threat in the near future,
but could create a probable danger if not addressed in
tirne. Such interventions would substantiate and
reinforce the short-term works, and achteve (or
modify) the long-term objectives.
8. Long term programrning for conservation projects
would include items that are considered desirable for
overall development and enhancement of the
sigmficance and values of the site.

Implementation and Management Mechanisms

Strategies for effective implementation are to be planned as

A balanced approach based on an intrinsic part of planning of conservation projects. A
evaluation and prioritisation of 'Project Execution Mechanism' has been devised to enable
resource specific concerns is smooth and efficient execution of projects. The mechanism
essential for defining an aims to ensure regular monitoring, intensive documentation
appropriate conservation and periodic reporting, whde maintaining transparency in
financial transactions. The Management Cornmittee would
ensure the adoption of the guidelines of this mechanism at
the overali decision-maktng level of the project, and the Co-
ordination Unit its implementation at the site.



The foiiowing guidelines are proposed:

a. D e t d e d cost estimates for various works d be

submitted by the executing agency for suggestions
and modifications by the advisory body;
b. A complete work schedule for the various
conservation items, h k e d with a projected
requirement of funds, shall be submitted to
Management Committee for further action;
c. For close monitoring of the work, in addition to a
project office, a site office at the working site, which
will have aii the features of a Conservation Project
d. Joint inspection of the work wiii be carried out every
fortnight, and periodic meetings to review the
progress and quality of work will be held at site for
which suitable facilities will be made available.
e. The source of matenals and quality (predetermined 22. Eroded base of a Stone colurnn
by necessary tests and inspection) d be jointly
approved and agreed upon before commencing the
f. At the review meetings, the quality of work and
samples shall be jointly approved;
g Expenditure statements will be submitted at regular
(monthly) intervals for approval and undmg;
h Interna1 CO-ordination for smooth functioning is
desirable for planning, budgeting and execution.









Monitoring and Review Strategies:

The irnplementation of a Conservation Plan is effective and

Reviews a t regular intervals efficient only if there is a system of consistent monitoring and
c a n direct conservation periodic reviews of the work. The key to the success of the
projects b y correcting whole operation is inspection by a competent person. Proper
mistakes a n d refiriing equipment is also needed to carry out monitoring and periodic
approaches. reviews of the work. In addition to updating the existing data,
this information coilected through the process of review and
monitoring, would also fachtate future planning, programrning
and management of conservation projects.

The consistent review strategy proposed here includes:

I Short t e m monitoring
a) regular assessments of the progress of each individual
project - fortnightly and monthly. This would include
updating of drawings at al1 stages of work executed at
site, and modifications of time and work schedules, if
b) a half yearly and annual review of individual projects (or
groups of projects) together with associated resource
constraints - work force at site, hancial, a b s t r a t i v e ,
policy evaluation, contingencies and so forth;

II Long term monitoring

Long term monitoring wdi provide a way of adaptation with

L o n g t e r m monitoring will continuity and change in the physical and cultural contexts;
indude re~Ofling and review of evolution of management mechanisms and tools; changes in
t h e overail project in its entirety personnel and technology; and the accumulation of increased
every five years. knowledge and sktlls.

23. Inlay work in need of restoration



Prinuples of Garden Conservation
Documentation and Research
Planning and Implementation
Maintenance and Management

The mausoleurn of Shah Jahan and his wife Murntaz Mahal,

stood amidst a setting of gardens carefully created to enhance
the building itself. To the irnmediate south of the mausoleurn a
char bagh was laid out, beyond the river itself lay the Mehtab Bagh
while to the left of the complex was the Khan-i-Alam Bagh. At
the tkne of its inception it is evident that these gardens all
formed an integral part of the overali vision of the mausoleum.
It is known that, "fruits from the trees in the gardens were sold
to offset the high costs of maintenance of the site". In a letter
to Sir John Murray, Generai de Boigne clearly states that
ailowances had been made to the mgavers or priests responsible
for the upkeep of the site for both the mausoleum and the

Descriptions of the gardens to mark the occasion of the 12th

trrs, in the Padshahnama of Abd al-Hamid Lahori as
24. The Taj Mahal with European
quoted in contemporary texts hke the Taj Mahal-The Illumined sightseers.
Tomb' by W.E Begley and Z.A Desai" provides an insight into
the tomb garden. "Below the red stone terrace, is the Paradise-
like garden, 368 yards square, abounding in aromatic herbs and
different kinds of trees. Within the four walkways laid out in
the middle of the garden, which are 40 cubits in width, there
runs a water channel, 6 yards wide, in which fountains jet up
sprouts of water (channelled) from the Jumna. At the
confluence of the canais is a platform (chabutma), 28 yards
square, around which runs the water channel. In the rniddle of
the platform is a reservoir, 16 yards square, f l e d with five
fountains. And the floor of the walkways of this replica of
paradise (namdzr-ijannag is paved with red stone, set edge-to- Over the last 1 50 years, ,the
edge with utmost artistic skill. On the east and West sides of the link between the gardens and
garden is a portico (aiwan), 11 yards wide and 7 deep, with two the mausoleum appears to
side rooms. And at the back there is a charnber 9 cubits wide have been broken. The
and 5 deep, and in front a platform (cbabtrtara), 46 by 10 cubits. graduai thinning of treesto
The southern wall of the garden is furnished with multiple
porticos (azwan h r aiwan) facing north, measuring 12 yards in
provide clear views of the
width. At the two corners of this w d . stand two towers fbztrll.
5 .,,,
mausoleumf as as, the
resembling the towers of the red Stone piinth." mosque and jawab and the
laying out of the lawns at the
When the British took over Agra in 1803, the gardens were time of ~ ~ ,Curzon
- d reflea a
overgrown, obscuring the view of the mausoleum. The h s t
plan of the gardens, dating back to 1828 when Col. J.H
change in perception on the
Hodgson, the Surveyor General surveyed the entire complex, functional and visual
provides some evidence of the planting layout. significance of the gardens.

It was during the t h e of Lord Curzon however, that major

changes were wrought on the gardens with the laying out of
formal lawns in place of existing orchards and flowerbeds.


"Modelled aper the Persian concept of earthly paradise, the pleasure gardens of
the 1Yh century Mughal emperors exhibited elaborate renditions of cut stone
architecture, water chutes, standing pools and flowing fountains, but their very
essence was revealed in carefully managed floristic displays. The layout and
design of these gardens were Jilled with symbolic meaning that was a direct
reflection of Mughal thought and rich iconographie histoy . Yet, not eveything
about Mughal gardens was symbolic. Gardens were places of respite and
enjoyment where al1 the senses could be stimulated. Each garden was designed
to evoke the sounds, smells, touch, taste and visual richness of paradise on
earth ...gardens were refuges from the torrid summers and lengthy monsoons of
eV,-,-%- v-.

25. The Taj Mahal, Agra. William Simpson. Watercolour on paper, England 1864, AD

...because Mughal gardens were intended to be well ordered oases in an

otherwise hot, dusty and chaotic environment, they sewed as social centres for
many of the rituals and special occasions of courtly life. The beauty and
fragrances provided by thefloral displays offered a colourful backdropfor major
events such as birthdays, coronations, and mariages and as in the case of the
Taj, entombments. The availability of fiesh flowers and fiuits was undoubtedly
an attractive feature of the gardens. The horticultural arrays were not only
alluring settings with symbolic representations; the plants were placed there to
serve an economic function too. Fruit production at gardens would often exceed
the needs of the royal family, and the surplus could be sold in local markets to
offset the high cost ofgarden maintenance. In this way, both immediate and long
term needs could be satisjied, and the gardens could be rendered self
sustaining. "

(Lentz, David in "The Moonlight Garden" p.p 43-44)



Gradually over the hrst quarter of the twentieth century much

of the older plant layouts were phased out and replaced with
what became a colonial garden. In the hrst few decades of the
twentieth century, the gardens were brought under the
purview of a Gardens Comrnittee in charge of all the gardens
in Agra. The committee comprised of the Collector, Executive
Engmeer, Superintendent Government Gardens,
Superintendent Muhammadan and British Monuments with
the Commissioner, Agra as the chairman. Much of the phasing
out of the historic foliage and flora appears to have been
executed under the guidance of this committee. Khan-i-Alam
itself was transformed into a nursery for the supply of plants.

The importance of the h k a g e with the river Yamuna has also The recent Supreme Court
diminished due to increased road and rail transport and in recent
rulings for ,the increase in the
times due to the poor quality of river water. The old water
systems located at the Khan-i-Alam gradually feli into disuse and biomass around the Taj Mahal
water supply to the gardens is now provided through tube welis. have to be taken into
The challenge therefore is to once again integrate the gardens consideration for any future
with the mausoleum as envisioned by its creators, as also re- plans for the gardens. This is
establishing the link with the river, which formed such an currently being addressed
important facet of the overall plan for the site.
,through increased plantations
The h k with Mehtab Bagh appears to have been broken much in both the Mehtab Bagh as
earlier and it was only in the 1990's that the Archaeologcal well as the Taj Mahal gardens.
Survey of India launched a comprehensive plan for the gardens.
Excavations in Mehtab Bagh in 1994-95 revealed for the frst
time traces of its former splendour and re-established its link
with the Taj Mahal.


Inputs from a hydraulic


- Final levels - Species seleaion - Layout plan -Water


personnel, their inputs. new traditions in the





Figure 9 : Sateliite image of the Taj Mahal m p l e x indicating the area of intervention for the Landscape component.




This project proposa1 aims to follow 'in spitit' the Florence

Charter (FC) adopted by ICOMOS in December 1982.

Guidance from the Florence Charter

The Taj Mahal gardens qualiS as an outstanding example of Article 10 of the FC, states,
contribution to ihe cultural heritage
of humank&d. ~ h aree ~ "ln any work of maintenance,
nOt merely a setting t0 a famous monWent, but are a cultural conservation, restorationor
artefact in the& own right, both from a historical and artistic
reconstruction of an historic
point of view. They are a testirnony to Mughal culture and
more specifically to the Mughal char bagh style of the garden, or of any part of it,
seventeenth century. In keeping with the Florence Charter, the al1 its c o n ~ t i t ~ efeat~res
project d strive to conserve the garden in its entirety, to must be dealt with
include all the key components of the garden namely -plan and simultaneously. T~ isolate the
shape, the plantation, the garden furniture and above all the
various operations would
water system that sustains the garden.
damage the unity of the
As a hrst step to the conservation of the garden, it is being hol le.* Al1 these aspects will
extensively documented in all respects, that is, the water system, be dealt with siniultaneously
the plantation, the levels and the b d t fabric. All aspects will be and with eaual res~ectto
dealt with simultaneously and 4 t h equal respect to preserve the
preserve the 'uni$ of the
'unity' of the whole.
As stated in Article 15FC, "No restoration work and, above all,
no reconstruction work on an historic garden shall be
undertaken without thorough prior research to ensure that such
work is scientifically executed and whtch dinvolve everything
from excavation to the assembling of records relating to the
garden in question and to snilar gardens. Before any practical
work starts, a project must be prepared on the basis of said
research and must be submitted to a group of experts for joint
exarnination and approval."

The archiva1 research is being conducted in a manner to

determine the original form as well as the practices that were
adopted for the maintenance of the garden.

The archiva1 material includes seventeenth century texts, plans, IYodern gardeil tlitorians
travelogues, chronicled accounts and painkgs. O n collakg all have examined a range of
this information with the fndmgs on the site, the plan before
interpretations to emphasize,
its final execution will be submitted to a panel of experts as
advised in Article 15. While research is showing successive in various ways, the syribolic,
interventions in the colonial period, the ideal is to restore it, on aesthetic and functionai
the basis of unhpeachable evidence, to the Mughal garden. aspects of Muqhal
- qardens.
This decision has been taken, as the garden was the original
setting to the Taj Mahal-the illumined tomb of the seventeenth
century as it survives today.



26. View of the Taj Mahal garden.

As the spatial layout of the seventeenth century garden is

retained in the char bagb pattern, the question of recreating, a
concern expressed in Article 17 does not anse. Article 17 of
the Florence Charter states, "Where a garden has completely
disappeared or there exists no more than conjectural evidence
of its successive stages a reconstruction could not be
considered an historic garden." The garden as it exists today is
very much a seventeenth century garden in its spatiality
expressed in the plan form. However, the plantation and the
water system wiU need restoration and will be the focus.

Because of the living aspect As stated in article 14 of the Florence Charter, the garden does
of this valuable heritage, not exist in isolation but is part of a larger ecosystem, "The
maintenance of the historic historic garden must be preserved in appropriate surroundings.
Any alteration to the physicai environment, which will endanger
garden post restoration
the ecological equhbnum, must be prohibited. These
assumes additional applications are applicable to all aspects of the infrastructure,
significance. As part of the whether interna1 or external (drainage works, irrigation systems,
management there will be a roads, car parks, fences, care taking facilities, visitors' amenities,
well worked out maintenance etc.).''
strategy to include a
While the ecology of the site has been disturbed, leading to
phasing in and phasing out changes in the water level and the degrading environmental
programme for the plant quality, there d be an attempt to restore the ecologcal
species. equilibriurn through biomass plantation. These will be
supplemented by other attempts by the government to clean up
the river, which supports the garden in more ways than one.



In respecting Article 24, of the Florence Charter, .whtch states,

''The historic garden is one of the features of the patrimony
whose survival, by reason of its nature, requires intensive,
continuous care by trained experts. Suitable provision should
therefore be made for the training of such persons, whether
htstorians, architects, landscape architects, gardeners or

Care should also be taken to ensure that there is regular This Site Management Plan
propagation of the plant varieties necessary for maintenance or will ensure that properly
restoration." Putting together a management framework for the trained professionals
care of the site is a vital component. The nursery adjoining the
garden and part of the complex will also be treated as a historic
including landscape architects
nursery cultivating and supplying the authentic plant material to and mah are adequately
the garden. equipped to handle and take
care of a site of such
The deslgn of the Visitor Centre in part of the site is in answer immense historic significance.
to the concem stated in Article 25 of the Florence Charter,
which states that, "Interest in historic gardens should be
The objective is to embrace
stimulated by every kind of activity capable of emphasizing their the principles of the Florence
tme value as part of the patrimony and making for improved Charter, as far as possible
knowledge and appreciation of thern: promotion of scientific while at the same time will
research; international exchange and circulation of information; continuingly adapt the
publications, including works designed for the general public;
proposal to suit and respect
the encouragement of public access under suitable control and
use of the media to develop awareness of the need for due the local conditions.
respect for nature and the historic heritage. The most
outstanding of the historic gardens shall be proposed for
inclusion in the World Heritage List."

The Visitor Centre in interpreting the site will disseminate

knowledge of the historic garden to the public and will
encourage public interest in the site.

27.Fatepurigate courtyard.





Since their inception, there have been substantive interventions

to the gardens prier to the Horticulture Department of the AS1
takmg charge. Details of these interventions however, are to be
collated. The information currently available is primarily that
with the AS1 and contains some indications on previous
interventions in the gardens. The data collected through
archiva1 research wdi provide resource material for future
research into the layout and design of the orignal Mughal


Archival research is an important step in the restoration of

Research, both through
historic gardens. Facts gleaned from the archiva1 research will
archival soiirces and field help in suggesting an image of the garden as it must have
surveys is important to developed and existed historicaliy. This will enable the
prepare a holistic plan for production of a concept plan that strives to capture the
the site. Archival research evolving spirit of the seventeenth century garden.
will generate material for the
The concept plan generated through archiva1 research strives to
Visitor Centre and will conjure up an image of the historic garden, which correlated
provide the basis for with the following- information, will facilitate the process of
preparing a range of formulating a scheme for the restoration of the gardens:
interpretive products to help
visitors and tourists Establish ground levels at various points on the site.
appreciate these key Select species for plantation.
components of the Taj Location of plant species.
Establish an annual garden calendar.
Mahal complex.
Establish the location and functioning of watenvorks.
Establish the history of landscaping practices.
Establish the presence and location of features.


The garden survey through Ground Penetrating Radar systems

On completion of the
will document the following:
archival research, a Topographical Survey / mapping of gardens and
complete survey of ,the waterworks.
gardens will document the 1. Ornamental plantings within the Taj Mahal complex
existing vegetation, planting (forecourt, tomb-garden and Mehtab Bagh)
layout, garden layout and Location s p e c i M g botanical name, trunk diameter at
breast height, average height and canopy radius.
water systems.
Location of shrubs on plan, specifymg the number of
shrubs, their Ml botanical narns, and average height.



Indication of planting beds @erennial/annual) on the

plan, specifymg shapes, major dimensions, border
material, if any; and the full names of herbaceous
The field survey will include
beddmg plants.
2. Naturalistic plantings-Nursery area, Khan-i- Alam Bagh, rriultidisciplinary studies such
Trees: identiS the trunk location and species of ali trees as paleobotanical studies,
greater than 6" (15 cm) in diameter. hydraulic studies and
IdentiS the o u t h e of shrub masses and planting areas hortici.iltural research to
and their dominant species (e.g., the general layout of provide information on
the rose garden in the nursery area).
historic layouts, species,
3. Garden Spot Elevations and level changes.
4. Garden Walls, Layout, Waiks and Site fumiture water systems etc.


T o design and maintain a garden of t h s magnitude would have

required extensive and sophsticated watemorks. Whde the
aesthetics, which includes the symbolic dimension to design as
weli, wdl emerge after coliating the data found in texts and
paintings through the studies of an art historian, the scientific
studies d address the foliowing issues:

The quantum of water required for efficient functioning

and maintenance of the plants, water tanks and
fountains. The water demand of the site linked with
the clunate and hydrology of Agra at a larger ecological
level will be the primary and most crucial aspects of the
hydrology studies.
Identification of water withdrawal and lifting systems
from the main source of water, the river, and further
augmentation through wells will be established.
Seasonal variations in the demand and supply.
Linked to the water withdrawal system the distribution
network through terracotta pipes to fountains, pools
and plantation beds. Its return to the river would
decipher the complete cycle of the water distribution

Having established the vanous aspects of the original water The survev of the waterworks
system, feasibilrty studies would have to be carried out to check iSexpected to revealan
the efficacy of the historical water works in the present day
context. These would include: enhanced understanding of
tlie scieritific and aest hetic
Sources and quality of water available today. ~ r i n c i ~ l that
e s determined the
Hydraulic pressure study and Water loss studies.
iayoui of the water system of
Materials and dimensions of water supply system.
Water deficit and plant stress during the summer.
,the garden.
Identification and justification of deviations from
historical water systems necessary and of features like
water tanks, pipes and pumping stations.



Horticulture information will HORTICULTURAL SURVEY

help in framing the garden
The hndmgs of the horticulture survey are essentially airned at
calendar to suit the relating the presence of species existing on the site to those
seasonal variatioiis and .the found through secondary studies, in order to build an authentic
climatic changes over the image of the Mughal garden. The information d be checked
years. The characteristics of against h d i n g s of the art historians and Persian scholars who
the plants along with the will categonze them into species that are:
a. Historically correct
b. Indigenous to the area
adopted by the AS1
presently, will lead to Information on the characteristics of the plant species will also
developing maintenance enable their selection and appropnate location to fulfd certain
strategies for the site. functions that the garden would have histoncally demanded
and the present day needs. The characteristics would also be
useful in selecting them, in ternis of the water availability on


One of the key tools of the archaeo-botanical survey is the

pollen analysis through selective excavation and sample pits.
The samples collected cover the following aspects:

Poiien, macro-botanical analysis

Charred remains and fossilised wood or fruits at site
Other archaeo-botanical studies for evidence of the
species existing on site (e.g., soil discolorations from
organic matter or minerals that indicate planting pits
and beds)

The main airn of ,the The excavation d be carned out at spots identified after the
archaeo-botanical studies is archiva1 research. The spots most hkely to reveal accurate data
to establish the presence of d be the areas where no interventions in the past have taken
place and thus are spots of minimal disturbance. Selective
historic species on site in excavations d also be carried out at spots identified through
the subsurface layers of the plans made during the colonial period, whch mark out their
soi1 as against the modern interventions on the site. In the excavation pits a time line d
,floristic inventory ,that will be established related to layering (stratigraphy) of soils to
emerge out of the determine histonc garden levels from the curent surface down
to the original garden surface and undisturbed soil.
horticulture studies.
Through these excavations and fndings it may be possible to
b d d up sections indicating the superirnposed activity surfaces
and exhibitkg the layering of plant species on site in order to
gve a histoncal perspective to plantation practices. Besides
providmg a list of species used in the Taj Mahal gardens, the
survey will also help in the accurate location of plant species.

- - - -



With the formulation of a detailed conservation plan based on

the above field studies and archival studies a working plan will
be prepared.

The planning will involve:

Establishing personnel needed for efficient stafhng of
the various aspects of the site. This will include the
regular maintenance staff as well as the personnel
needed on a seasonal basis. 28.Khan-i-Alam nursery.
Framing short term and long term plans to include
phasing in and phasing out of plant species.
Establishing annual gardening calendar.
Identifymg sources of supply of plant material on a
regular basis.
Suggesting treatment to historic cultivars prone to
Conducting workshops at regular intervals for the
training of staff to irnpart knowledge on Mughal
planting patterns and species.
Identifymg the seasonal variations in the water supply
and demand and taking steps to counter seasonal
variation in demand and supply of water. Establishing environmentally
Identifjmg mechanisms for maintenance of water sound specifications related
works. to the horticultural practices
Ensuring regular monitoring of quality of water to include:
supplied to the beds, tanks and fountains. Preparation of soi1
Having the mechanisms in place for the treatment of
water as and when needed. This should be tied up with
Sowing of seeds
the monitoring mechanisms. Planting of shrubs Itrees
Ensuring mechanisms to reduce water loss to minimal Watering
levels. Manuring
Taking cogmsance of the Supreme Court order on Pruriing
biomass plantation and other ecological considerations
related to the state of the river Yamuna in all decisions Replacing of species
on horticulture and water works. Propagation methods

29. Fore court of Taj Mahal.




The management of the gardens and the heritage values

associated with the landscape is critical to the entire
conservation strategy. Appropriate guidelines for visitors
(visitor circulation, signage and literature) d be formulated
prior and during the course of irnplementation to disseminate
information on the conservation plan. The setting up of Visitor
Centres will also interpret the historic gardens to visitors by
highhghting the changing historic landscape over the centuries
since its creation. Schedules for maintenance. are devised to
ensure short term and long-term maintenance of the site.

30. Plan of Mehfeb Bagh.


Management ofstaff and personnel responsible for the gardens

is undertaken with the docation of duties associated with the
maintenance of'the site. Closely related with the management
of personnel is the need for upgrading skiils through regular
workshops and trainipg sessions. Identification of specific
technical expertise currently unavailable through a systematic
review process will be undertaken to ensure appropriate
measures are taken to provide such expertise at the Taj Mahal


Maintenance activities Long term and short term work plans will be prepared to
clearly articulate the overall vision for the site which wiJl be
associated with other : periodically exarnined and revised as required. New excavations
monument related works .
. or'research mav result in the refokulation of work dans and a
WOU^^ be CO-ordinatedto reguiar &onitokg system will be established both ;O monitor
reduce Wear and tear of the . existing work as well as to enable the up gradation of the
'. conservation strategy if required. Short term and long-term
historic fabric.
budgets will be formulated based on the work plan to enable
the management of financial resources.


The GIS database will be constantly updated and personnel

trained to manage the system. A directory of resource persons
who can undertake training programs or who are conducting
research on the site will be created to ensure that best expertise
is available for the preservation of the gardens.



Introduction 49-50
Principles of Visitor Management 51-52
Documentation and Research 53-60
Visitor Management Objectives 61-62
Planning and Implementation 63-67
Maintenance and Management 68


Leisure and Tourism are now part of the World culture' and
'International economy', is second only to the oil industry.
Tourism is one of the contnbutors to the Indian economy, and is
likely to become even more important as it grows globally, into
the world's major industry. Once the global situation stabilizes,
India d see a spurt in the growth of the tourism industry,
particularly as the country has so much to offer the discerning
visitor. The Taj Mahal clearly features high on the pnonty list, for
both domestic and international visitors and it serves as a major
magnet for non-business visitors who come to Agra.

Over the years, the Government has targeted India's heritage sites The Ta,j Mahal is a
as a marketable commodity and to sustain t h s idea, it is essential
that the integrity and character of the cultural landscape be major tourist attraction
maintained. Additional inputs are required so that the historical in the Agra region
and cultural significance of the Taj Mahal and its precincts are symbol of the historic
emphasised. There is a need for careful planning, to ensure that
cultural heritage of
new developments do not adversely affect the cultural fabric of
the Taj Mahal precincts and the histonc city of Agra in general. A lndia
well-maintained historic landscape surroundmg the Taj Mahal architectural symbol of
would itself be an attraction for high spendmg international the Mughal era.
tourists. Recognising the regional,
Barring any calarnities or crisis, which may be temporary in
national and universal
nature, the nurnber of tourists to the Taj Mahal, can only increase. significance of the Taj
Assuming that the number of tourists does increase, it will be vital Mahal, is critical in order to
to improve and expand the current level of facilities available to define a broad set of
tourists. objectives at preserving its
The international importance of Taj Mahal was recognized for its
historical integrity, cultural
magnificent conception, perfection of design and worktnanship, significance, unity, inherent
and unsurpassed beauty and the complex and the surroundmg spirit and enduring value.
monuments were inscnbed on the World Heritage List in 1982.
Ever since, the Taj Mahal complex has received a great deal of
attention, but there is stdl a lot that needs to be done.

In 1995-96, a toilet block was provided in the south-western

corner of the complex. Drinktng water, by installing a jet pump
and providing a cooler cabin was also provided for visitors. In
conformity with Supreme Court directives, shops located within
the outer courtyard have been relocated to a new buildmg
especially built for the purpose. The facilities currently available
for tourists at the Taj Mahal complex can at best be descnbed as
the 'most basic' and are lirnited to toilets, dnnkmg water, tourist
guides and photographers. Simdarly a museurn, located in the
western Natlbat Khanna draws very few visitors, as few are aware
of its presence. The displays must be engaging and informative.



The Naubat Khanna on the east would also be activated to create

a Museum. This will also help disperse visitors in the complex
and facilitate a multiplicity of perspectives of the complex.

Also, not enough is known about the conservation work being

carried out by the ASI, on an ongoing basis. A visitor
information centre would serve also as a tool to educate visitors
about the proposed conservation work and targets. Access to
31. Tourists at the Taj Mahal forecourt such information wdl ensure greater public awareness and the
resulting vigdance with regard to the upkeep of the complex.
The Taj Mahal and its accompanymg structures, in its entirety,
is not any easy complex to understand as it consists of layers of
history and culture, which will be made discernible when
communicated appropriately. Thus the combination of an
information centre and the museums will go a long way in
addressing these aspects.

The participation of the local population should also be sought

for activities like the tourist information counters, tourist guides
etc. Presently visitors are harassed by unauthorised hawkers,
touts and tourist guides who offer to get tourists a good bargain
be it in the purchase of handicrafts, the hiring of transport or
tourist guides often making the experience for visitors
unpleasant. It is thus critical to draw the local population into
the site and its related activities in a positive way to make them
feel like partners in the process of maintaining the robustness
of the monument and visiting the complex. In addition to these
issues there are also matters of marketing the site, but when the
physical presentation of the site itself is improved these can be

A comprehensive Visitor Management and Facilitation Plan

will help people visiting the site to enjoy and learn about the
Taj Mahal and its related group of monuments. Al1 those
involved in the preparation of the Visitor Management must
address an assessment of the existing problems and the
potential for greater damage in future. It is important that the
caretakers of the site are guided by precautionary principles and
are aware of the consequences of what is proposed.

A comprehensive Visitor Management and Facilitation Plan

will be evolved that will:
Enhance the visitor's perception of the monument and
its surroundings and weave these presently disparate
parts into a searnless fabric of experience.
Ensure a high standard for ali amenities at the site.
Ensure the development of a positive attitude of
visitor welcome, customer care and mission to inform
32. The exit from char bagh into the while ensuring the spirit of sanctity and serenity, as
forecourt. the guiding principle of its development.




The concept of Visitor Management and Facilitation is

undergoing a metamorphosis. 'Feeling', not 'Seeing', is the new
mantra. The proposed Visitor Management and Facilitation
plan for the Taj Mahal aims to follow the
CHARTER, (ICTC) for Managing Tourism at places of
Hentage Sigmficance, that was to be adopted by ICOMOS at
the 12' General Assembly, Mexico, October 1999.

The Taj Mahal, though an architectural achievement of the

Indo-Islamic period, today, as a World Heritage site has Visitor lY anagement and
universal appeal and in a sense, 'belongs' to people the world Facilitation, within a
over. Ali visitors therefore have a right and responsibility to framework of internationally
understand, appreciate and conserve its universal values. At a recognised and appropriately
time of increasing globalisation, besides irnproving tourists'
applied standards, will help
access and amenities, it is the interpretation and presentation of
the Taj Mahal and its heritage, which d be an important restore the sanctity and
challenge. serenity of the site, thereby
enhancing visitor experience.
The guiding principles for preparing an effective Visitor The Taj Mahal complex made
Management and Facilitation plan is the communication of the
physically, intellectually and
significance of the Taj Mahal complex and its precincts and the
need for its conservation for the host community and visitors. emotively accessible to
Reasonable and well-managed physical, intellectual and/or visitors should facilitate an
emotive access is both a right and a pridege. It brings with it a understanding and
duty of respect for the heritage values, interests and equity of appreciation of ,the heritage
the present-day host community, custodians or managers of the significance of the Taj Mahal
historic property and for the cultures from which that heritage
evolved. and it's setting.

The ICTC's hrst principle States that, "Since domestic and

international tourism is among the foremost vehicles for cultural
exchange, conservation should provide responsible and well
managed opportunities for members of the host community and
visitors to experience and understand that community's heritage
and culture at fust hand."

In keeping with this principle, the Visitor Management and

Facilitation plan proposes to disseminate information on the
protection and conservation of the monuments and aspects hke
Mughal architectural and cultural expressions of the Mughal era
and in a broader context, the importance of the Agra Heritage
region. The Taj Mahal group of monuments is a material and
spiritual resource, providing a narrative of historical
development. Presently interaction between the Taj Mahal
complex and the local comrnunity is dynamic and ever changmg.
A large section is dependent on tourism for income generation.



The proposa1 will acheve positive outcomes and minimize

adverse impacts on the lifestyles of the local community, whde
respondmg to the needs and aspirations of the visitor and it
therefore wlll evolve and adapt to new challenges This will be
in keeping a principle of the ICTC, which states that, "The
relationship between heritage places and tourism is dynarnic
and may involve confiicting values. It should be managed in a
sustainable way for present and future generations," and
another which states that, "Tourism and conservation activities
should benefit the local community."

Principles of the In a site as important as the Taj Mahal, excessive or poorly

International Cultural managed tourism threatens the physical nature, integrity and
Tourism Charter, for significant characteristics of the Taj Mahal and its precincts.
The visitor's experience of the place would also be degraded.
Managing Tourism at places
Visitors to the Taj Mahal complex must have access to
of Heritage significance, information to optimise their understandmg of the site. Specific
discussed alongside, will in circulation routes are necessary to minimize impacts on the
spirit, guide the process of physical fabnc.
determining the short term
Another important consideration is respect for the sanctity of
and long-terni objectives of
the mausoleum and the practices and traditions to be observed
the Visitor Management and when visiting the Mosque. Visitors must be encouraged to
Facilitation plan. behave as 'welcome guests' and to conduct themselves in a
responsible manner.
The success of the plan will
depend on how well, .the In order to effectively do this, the Visitor Management and
principle which states that, Facilitation plan will also provide facilities for the comfort,
"Host communities and safety and well being of the visitor, thereby enhancing the
experience. These considerations will be in keeping with the
indigenous peoples should
principle of the ICTC, "Conservation and Tourism Planning
be involved in planning for for Heritage Places should ensure that the Visitor Experience
conservation and tourism," would be worthwhde, satisfying and enjoyable."
is adhered to.
It is essential to have a code of practice to guide the
development of tourism at the Taj Mahal and ensure co-
ordination of efforts. Such organisational arrangements can only
result from a close, mutually beneficial collaboration between
the government authorities (ADA) private sector, non-
governmental organisations and the local community.

While the Taj Mahal may have a universal appeal, the rights and
interests of the local community and the city of Agra, to manage
physical, spiritual or intellectual access to certain cultural
practices, knowledge, beliefs or activities will be respected. They
will be involved in establishg goals, strategies, policies and
protocols for the identification, conservation, management,
presentation and interpretation of the Taj Mahal and its
precincts. This input will be valuable in identifymg traditional
cultural practices and expressions, in the tourism context.




Tourism if over developed, destroys the resources and values

which were what attracted tourists to the site in the hrst
instance. Tourism is also dynamic and if developed too quickly
or thoughtlessly can be destructive to the host community. Even
from a cursory study of the Tai Mahal and its precincts, there is
apprehension that ibis is to be t&. The problerns
facing the Taj Mahal are very simiiar to Bose of heavily
frequented Heritage sites around the world and relate to the
33. Tourists waiking tawards Fatehpuri
difficult balance between conserving the site and explaining its -
importance to visitors. A careful analysis of the studies carried
oui in the past has been done to arrive-at a better understanding
of the various issues involved in the preparation of a
comprehensive Visitor Management and Facilitation plan.

The data collection process is the &st step towards analysing

the wide range of tourist practices at the Taj Mahal complex.
The Field Survey highlights certain practices by studying
individual spaces and problems peculiar to the Taj Mahal setting
and analyse these to produce a set of recommendations for
Visitor Management at the Taj Mahal.


Documents pertaining to the Management of Tourism at World

Heritage Sites and studies and books, highhghting the issues
related to the Visitor Management and Facilitation of the Taj
Mahal complex and its precincts include:

International Charters


CHARTER, Managing Tourism at places of Heritage
Swficance. ICOMOS October 1999.
CULTRAL TOURISM, International Scientific
Symposium, lofh General Assembly, Sri Lanka.

Studies Related to the Taj Mahal


Project Report, 1994.
conducted on behalf of AS1 in 1998.
TOURISM IN AGRA, s w e y by McCann Erickson
TOURISTS at the TAJ, by Tim Edensor, Published by
Routledge, 1998. 34. Tourists at Fatehbad gate.



The Field Survey was FIELD SURVEY

conducted in September
Good planning will ensure that the capacity of the site and
2002. The observations supporthg infrastructure are balanced. The basis of t h s
made during this visit are planning must necessarily be sound research on the visitors'
designed to stimulate perception of the monument. With this objective in rnind, a
discussions about visitor's basic survey and graphic analysis, of the Taj Mahal complex was
facilities and a visitor's undertaken. The survey will form the basis for the preparation
of a Visitor Management and Facilitation plan.
perception of the site and
form the basis for evolving a The survey included the assessment of the current visitors'
Visitor Management and circulation pattern; tickethg; visitors' amenities hke drinkmg
Facilitation plan. water fountains, toilets, lockers and shoe racks and other issues,
which emerged during the analysis. The scope of work included
collection of data at site; preparation of drawings indicating
circulation patterns, on base maps (provided by the ASI) and a
documentation of the amenities at site. The survey encompassed
all issues that related to visitors at site. Feasibility of the reuse of
two courtyards previously used as residences for tomb
attendants, as Visitor Centres for providing visitor amenities,
also formed part of the analysis.

The FIELD SURVEY is compiled into a report in October

2001. To augment it there is a need for a Visitor Proue study',
where the specific focus would be tourists' origin, socio
economic background, reason for travel, length of stay,
experience of the country and satisfaction with the visit. Among
the issues which emerged are:
Visitor profile from 1984-99 1. VISITOR STATISTICS
Year 1 No of visitors
1984-85 1 1 1.29.230 Approxirnately 20,00,000 people visit Agra annually; of
w h c h almost all visit the Taj Mahal, while only about
one-third visit monuments other than the Taj Mahal.
For a vast majority of non-business visitors, the Taj
Mahal is the main reason for visiting Agra.
The tourist season begins in the month of October and
lasts through March. The peak months are October,
November and December. There is a marked increase in
the number of domestic tourists' at the weekend and
during school vacations -June and July. The number of
international tourists remains nearly constant through
Source: SA, ASI, Agra the week.

When Friday was a 'free entry' day, to allow access for prayers,
the crowds were uncontrollable, often leadmg to a stampede.
Entry being free, large crowds from the economically weaker
sections visited on Fridays, displaying no regard for the
monument and often defacing it. Closing the monument to the
general public on Friday and allowing entry only for prayers has
Source: SA, ASI,Agra to some extent resolved the problem.



The parking lots towards the Fatehpuri gate (western)
and Fatehbad gate (eastern) are congested and
disorganized, especially during peak hours. There are no
separate bays for tongus, cycle rickshaws or battery-
operated vehicles. No amenities like toilets, drinking
water for visitors or drivers are provided at the parking
i 35. Approach to Fatehbad gate from
No system for operation of tongas or cycle rickshaws Shilpgram
exists. No is there any system for passenger allocation
Visitors are harassed and importuned by these tonga
and cycle rickshaw operators.
The approach to the Taj Mahal from the east is quite
unsightly and congested, with haphazard signboards and
unplanned water points adding to the mess. The road
too is in poor condition.
Souvenir and refreshment stalls make the approach
from the east to the Taj Mahal complex untidy and
congested. The shops and establishments dealing in
handicrafts are unregulated.
Unlicensed photographers, unapproved guides and
taxis drivers who harass and importune tourists right
from the parking lots, make the visitors' experience
Unauthorized construction outside the eastern gate
(Fatehbad gate) detracts from the historic setting and
violates the Supreme Courts' orders.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the Agra
Development Authority (ADA), charge an entry fee:
Domestic tourists - Rs.201-
International toulists- $10(ASI) and Rs. 5001-(ADA)
There is no foolproof system of distinguishing the
domestic tourist fiom the international tourist which
gives rise to a number of objections.
Unattractive tickets, which don't even contain a key
plan of the complex.
The manual ticketing process is slow and tedious.
The Entrance gate where tickets are checked is
congested and people wait in long queues.
Security check at the gates is far from sophisticated. Ticket for fritmationaltwrists

Guards manually check bags for eatables, mobile

phones, etc. not allowed within the premises.
Video cameras are permitted up to the platfonn of the
entrance gate, for an extra charge. Still cameras can be
used everywhere, except inside the main mausoleurn. No
fee is irnposed on still cameras. Museum Ticket



No site map has been installed at the entrance,
indicating the location of visitors' amenities, available
within the complex.
The Lockers provided at each gate though adequate are
rarely.used. Visitors are perhaps unaware that the facility
is available as there is no signage to that effect.
Lockers for video cameras are available within the
36.Drinking Vi
Entrance gate.
50 benches are provided in the garden. Strategically
placed benches, facing the monument, are popular while
those in remote corners of the garden facing away from
the building are rarely used. Whde the Stone benches
blend with the setting, the wrought iron benches appear
rather obtrusive.
Whde the locations for drinking water are quite
appropriate, the area around tends to get wet and
adversely impacts the building fabric. Water points must
be located close to the main mausoleum. In the hot
sumrner months, visitors exit from the main mausoleum
really parched and there are no water points in close
There is no provision for mineral water anywhere
within the complex.
Services such as toilets are inadequate and
inappropriately located. The general standard of the
toilets is rather poor. Though kept clean, few people
use them. One reason could be inadequate signage. The
European WCs are kept locked and opened only on
Access for the physicaiiy impaired, though provided,
is of a very temporary nature and is lirnited up to the
lower platform of the main mausoleum. No toilets for
the physicaliy impaited have been provided.
Visitors are not allowed to use footwear inside the main
mausoleum. They deposit their shoes just below the
fbght of stairs leading to the main mausoleum. The racks
provided are unsightly and the system chaotic leading to
disarray at the base of the monument.
Photographers operating within the complex
importune visitors. They do not operate on any h e d ,
rates and visitors are often seen hagglbig with them over
rates. A nurnber of people wait on the platform for their
prints to be delivered after they have hnished seeing the
complex adding to the congestion at this point.

i A hrst aid box is available with the caretaker, ASI, seated

within the Entrance gate, inside the complex. There are
also plans of acquiring a stretcher for emergencies. A
37. Shoe racks wheelchair is available on request.






- Western h k p c k e n plth
Damatic a r i m path
-i Photomhic poins

Figure 10: Visitors' movernent 8 circulation pattern




The historic site is under pressure from the large number of

people visiting it everyday. Different areas are under varymg
degrees of pressure and may be categorized as:
1. Most sensitive
Fragile areas under considerable pressure from visitors,
where irnmediate remedial action is required. In some
38. Platforni extending from the main
cases like the main mausoleum it may not be possible to
entrance gate tawards the mamoieum. reduce visitor access. In these cases the intervention
must protect the resource and reduce the existing
problem but ensure a high quality of visitor experience.
Main tomb/mausoleurn.
Platform in the centre of char bagh.
Platform extending from the main entrance gate
towards the mausoleum.
2. Medium sensitivity
Areas with fewer pressures at present because they are
generally receiving appropriate levels of use, but where
39. Platfom in the centre of the char
intervention and reduction of pressure would enhance
the visitors experience or safeguard against future
Platform around the main mausoleum
Path from entrance gate leading to the main
3. Least sensitive
More robust areas or area with very little visitor
pressure, at present, which could accept more activity
without serious detriment to the structure or the
landscape as the case may be.
Periphery of the site
Colonnade flanking the entrance gate and
overlooking the char bagh.
Jawab, Nazlbat Khana on east and West.

Visitors, after entering the main entrance, take pictures on the

.rr platform. The crowds at this point are fairly large, detracting
40. Periphery of the site from the h s t impact of the Taj Mahal. Descent to the char bagh
is from the newly created steps, on either side of the original
central steps. Impact of the central vista, and the monument,
reflected in the water channel is totally lost. The main
mausoleum is the most frequented location in the entire '
complex, and is often very congested and claustrophobic. The
periphery of the char bagh is hardly visited. The colonnades on
either side of the entrance gate and areas like the Jawab, and
Naubat mana remain totally unutilised. Presently visitors are
unaware of the existence of Khan-i-AfamBagh, Satiun Nisa Saheh'
BtnJ, Sarhin Di Begum Saheh B q ; all within the Taj Mahal




accidental damage occurs
The sheer volume of traffic through the buildings has taken its
toli on the paving stones and the flooring. Overuse of certain
through ignorance of the
areas is resulting in the erosion of steps leadmg from the garden significance of the site
to main mausoleum, Wear and tear of the paving dong the path being visited. About 15
leading to the main mausoleum and walkways and railings. The lakh people visit the Taj
marble steps have eroded or are worn out in quite a few places. Mahal annually. This
Vandalism is resulting in semi-precious stones being places enormous
removed from inlay.
pressure on the
Graffiti is marring the histone fabnc in a number of
places. There have been instances of tourists scribbling structures. Elements like
on the wails despite the security around. the exquisite inlay work
Dirt and grease deposits are visible on areas where and carved sandstone,
visitors sit (platforrn adjoining the entrance gate) or because of their fragile
touch the wails surfaces as they walk past. nature, have suffered
The crowd of tourists that fill the upper chambers are at more than others.
times uncontrollable. The crypt had to be closed to the
public in 1996, because the lack of ventilation was
causing the CO2 levels to increase and there was a
danger of starnpedes. Human breath and body heat
raises the temperature and creates hurnidity.
People sleep on the terraces and podiums as a respite
from the heat
The volume of visitors places enorrnous pressure on the
conservators who have to battle for space to carry out
their work.

INTEGRITY OF THE SITE 42. Concrete forecourt

Integrity of some original elements is lost due to the alterations I

or changes to cater to tourism pressures
The light colour concrete paving in the forecourt is a
new intervention, creating a harsh refiective surface
besides detracting from the visual impact.
The ribbed metal paving placed between the
sandstone-paved surfaces to connect the walkways and
facilitate visitor movement, along the approach to the
mausoleum, is inappropriate.
Coir Matting is provided from March to July; from the
point visitors' remove their footwear to the entrance of
the main mausoleum, as the marble floor gets
unbearably hot.
Barricades along walkways to cordon off areas are both
unsightly and obtrusive.
The digital display board in the entrance gate,
displaykg air poliution data as mandated by the court is
unsightly. 44. Digital display board




There is virtually no information, orientation or facilitation for

the visitor to get any information on the Taj Mahal. There is no
provision of an enquiry counter, nor is any literature on the Taj
Mahal available at site.
A Literature: The following departments have their own
45. Sinage -Building Information
publications, which are available at their respective offices or
are handed out to tourists on arriva1 at the airport, railway
station or kept at various hotels in the city. None of these are
available at the Taj Mahal complex.

AS1 Booklet available at the AS1 office.

UPTDC Taj Book
Agra city guide map - Rs. 21-
Tourist guide map - free handout
46. Signage -Garden Ministry of Tourism Agra, Mathura, Bharathpur guide.
Agra, guide and map
India's World Heritage sites.

Guides Licensed guides operate through a union and their

services are to be booked through the Tourism office.
Hereditary guides and other unlicensed guides are far in excess
of the number required, even in peak tourist season. They
importune visitors detracting from the enjoyment of the site.
The information imparted is not always accurate and facts are
colourfully embellished.

Licensed Guides
Type of guides 1 1 Nos.
Monument guides ( Only for Taj Mahal 1 20
State level guides 1 8
Renional nuides 1 Government of lndia licence 1 102

Rates for Licensed Guides

N o /group % day ( 4 hm) Full day (8 hrs) For every h w r > 8 hrs
1 -4 Rs. 255.00 Rs. 380.00 Rs. 50.001hr
5-15 Rs. 380.00 Rs. 505.00 Rs. 50.001hr
16 Rs. 505.00 Rs. 825.00 Rs. 50.001hr
> 16 1 Services of two guides to be engaged
Source: Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India. Agra office.

si4xnage Information on the Taj Mahal, has been

provided in the fore court, in both English and Hindi. Signs
indicating the direction of toilets and Museum are inadequate.
There is need for improvement of signage in terrns of location
and design as well as the number required for a complex of this

Museum The Taj Mahal Museum is housed within the

western Naubat Khana. Visitors are charged an entry fee of Rs.
48. Siinage Instructions 51-. Few people however visit the museum.




Without the capacity to maintain and share an authentic The Field suwey
experience that draws on the richness of the monument, the undertaken as part of the
principal attraction, which brings visitors to the Taj Mahal, wdl
be eroded. T h s requires the clarity of vision and the courage to
Data Collection and
resist pressures towards synthetic recreations and additions to Research process
the monument, which cater to transient popular tastes. assessed the key issues
involved in the
A comprehensive Visitor Management and Facilitation plan is preparation of a Visitor
therefore essential as a pre-condition for m a n a p g the sites
Management Plan. If
tounst potential. This may comprise of short-terrn objectives,
achevable within 5 years and long-term objectives, achevable these issues are not
withm a span of 10 to 15 years. These objectives should then addressed with sensitivity
be part of the constitutional purpose of all concerned agencies, the consequences can be
local authorities, trusts, etc. dire.

Improvement of visitors' access to the site. Access is

important as it allows people to enjoy visiting the site.
There are certainly some existing problems and there is
potential for improvement.
Integration of the transport system, from the parking
lot to the gates, in order to strearnhe operations for
the tongas, cycle rickshaws, battery vehicles, etc.
Upgrading the ticketing system.
Evolving visitor circulation for optimum comfort of
visitors and maximum utilization of the site. Access to
different parts of the site will be managed so as to
safeguard particularly sensitive locations and rninimize
conflict with areas under restoration. The short-term objectives
Improving the visitor's enjoyment of the World are proposed for Visitor
Hentage site, also helping people understand the World Management and
Heritage site designation and its implication. Facilitation, on the basis
Improving amenities for tourists such as drinking of .the Field survey and
water, toilets, lockers, benches and shoe racks. the principles of the
Developing a CO-ordinatedapproach to interpretation
of the site, which will include, appropriate signage, site
Enhance the visitors' perception and understanding of CHARTER, (ICTC) for
the site by the provision of a visitors' centre and Managing Tourism at
redevelopment of the Museum. places of Heritage
Special considerations like site security, risk Significance.
management and T e fighting.
Ensuring that the local community shares the benefits
of tourism.




Restore the sanctity and serenity of the site and thus

enhance visitor experience.
Properly advertise and promote, the Taj Mahal complex
and its precincts, as a World Heritage site and an
important cultural asset.
Foresight and vision are the Evolve educational programs to assist and invite
prime requisites for chalking tourists to respect and understand the local community,
out long term objectives for their way of culture, history and religion.
Visitor Management and DeGning the levels of acceptable tourism and provide
controls to maintain that level.
Facilitation. Some long-term
Manage the site in a sustainable manner and provide
objectives can be defined at visitors with a rewardmg and valuable experience, and
the onset, while others will they in turn w d make a sustainable contribution to the
emerge during the course of economy.
the project. Introduction of an integrated transport strategy to
improve visitor access to the Taj Mahal and the
monuments in the core zone, as well as to the places of
interest in the buffer zone.
Incorporation of an tourism and visitor related statistics
and data into the Information and Management
Integration of initiatives by other agencies (ADA,
Tourism dept, etc.), that affects Visitor Management
and Facilitation through the Site Management
Comrnittee and the CO-ordinationunit, as suggested in
the Management section of this document.

49. Tourists drinking water from the central channels.




In order to immediately enhance and augment visitor

experience, the PLANNING stage of the Visitor Management
and Facilitation plan is the preparation of a set of
recommendations for the Taj Mahal and its precincts.


a. Parking lots at Fatehpuri and Fatehbad gates.

Redesign parking lots, providing separate bays for
private buses, private cars, taxis, 3 wheelers, 2 wheelers,
tongas, ycycle ticksbaws, non-polluting vehicles, etc.
Provide amenities for drivers and tourists, such as
dnnking water, toilets and vendmg machines for
b. Operation of non-polluting vehicles, Cycle richshaws
and Tongas.
Evaluate the number of vehicles required at each gate,
identify the most appropriate &op off points, revise the
frequency, operation schedule and tariff and redesign the Appropriate signage,
tickets. uniform in design and of
c. Treatment of the road link to Fatehbad gate. a standardized format,
Elimnate the incongrnous elements like water tanks and
maps and literature if
upgrade the facilities like toilets, wherever necessary.
available at site, will make
Facilitate a long-term policy decision on shops and
handicrafts emporia. the experience of visiting
.the Taj Mahal more
TICKETING enriching, than it is at
present. Based on
a. Ticketing system
recommendations niade
Introduce a computerised ticketing system with
automated turnstiles and ticket punchmg machines.
for each component,
Redesign the tickets for domestic and international detailed design principles
tourists incorporating the ADA's and ASIys charge on will be defined before the
one ticket and including the fees for the museurn, video lmplementation Phase.
usage, etc.


Integrate information desks, enquiry counters and

handout of brochures, etc into the proposed Visitor
Provide suitably located amenities like lockers, benches,
drinkmg water, toilets, shoe racks, hrst aid and guides/
audio CD-Rom tours with headsets. Provide a space for
the photographers
Install adequate signage, maps, and circulation routes.









Figure 11: Propoed circulation and visitor movement.




environs of the Taj Mahal
Managmg visitor circulation around the site is the key to
relieving stress on overcrowded areas and safeguardmg sensitive
is esserrtial. Liriked a
locations. The proposed visitor facditation plan must: carefully considered
Provide access for physically challenged. program of public
Devise effective means of reducing the visitor load at presentations about the
the entrance gate, platform in the centre of the char bagh historical heritage of
and the main mausoleum. Agra, this could be an
Improve circulation in the main mausoleum. Being the important experience for
most frequented location in the entire complex, it gets
very congested and claustrophobic. Opening up a few
visitors. Reconstruction of
glass panes in the glazed panels could be the solution. the newly excavated
Divert visitor load to the periphery of the complex, Mehtab Bagh across ,the
perhaps on the way out, after visiting the mausoleum. Yamuna into a moonlight
The colonnades on either side of the entrance gate garden will add to the
and areas like the Jawab, and Naubat Khana presently interest generated for the
remain totally unutilised.
Taj Mahal as a tourist
Incorporate Khan-i-Alam Bagh, the Saheli Bt/@ and into
the visitors' circuit. Introducing a heritage walk for Taj destination and provide
Ganj and establishing its central position within an reason for overnight
enhanced program of craft demonstrations and visits, thus generating
production will also be an important experience for additional income.


Channel visitors' along a route, whch prevents

vandalism and deploy security personnel wherever
required to deter vandalism like graffiti on walls. Install
suitable barricades in areas where visitors touch walls,
railuigs, etc.
Control access to fragile areas hke the lower chambers
where serni precious stone inlay work is accessible and
the threat of theft is high.


Allow descent to the char bagh from the central steps, Encouraging visitor
enabling visitors to feel the impact of the central vista
appreciation of the
and the mausoleum reflected in the water channel.
Introduce potential alternatives to the aluminium
landscape and less
barricades, such as freestandmg posts of a suitable frequented structures will
design. enhance visitor enjoyment
Remove the concrete in the forecourt and restore the while diverting pressure
original level after archiva1 research to determine the from the fragile areas.
original surface and level.
Design the digital board displaying Pollutio~ldata to be
less offensive.



Public information activities VISITOR CENTRE

such as meetings, group
It is clear that the visitors' understandmg of the existence and
discussions, audiovisual significance of the Taj Mahal complex and its precincts is crucial
presentations, guided tours, for the preservation of the site. At present, most visitors regard
Display galleries, posters only the main tomb and the mosque as structures of
and information campaigns architectural, religious and htstorical importance and are largely
will facilitate education of unaware of the significance of the other structures and gardens
withm the Taj Mahal complex, let alone the precincts. 'The
the local community and ovenvhelmng scale of the main mausoleurn, often doesn't ailow
visitors alike and be a value. for full appreciation of the multiple facets of the site, and the
more subtle stories attached to the monuments of lesser
importance hke the .Iheli Barjs and Naabat Khanas, Many are
oblivious to the cultural landscape of ~ h a rbagh or Mehtab Bagh
across the river Yamuna.

It is proposed to integrate thts facihty of disserninating

information in the monument complex withm the proposed
visitor centres. It is envisaged that the visitor centres would go
beyond providing facdities and amenities and also provide on-
going interpretation of the Taj Mahal complex and its environs.
To a visitor, thts is as essential to the enjoyment of a site, as
other facilities and amenities.

The two courtyards on either side of the entrance gate, presently

under ualized, have tremendous scope for use as visitor centres.
These are strategicaily located adjoining the present east and
West entrances to the complex. These courtyards d contain
amenities such as toilets, d n n h g water, etc.

The aim is to develop, It is proposed to instaU toilet facilities in the original toilet areas
along the eastern and western wails of the courtyards. Security
presentations in the Visitor
installations will be located in the two courtyards, elurimating
centres, the need of checks at the gates and leaving the visitor free to
an understanding and experience his first view of the Taj Mahal. Given the raised
appreciation of World Heritage levels of securit~,these spaces could well become the 'lock' or
values of the entirecomplex, An 'holding areas' for the entrance to the complex.
able tool in increasing public
A facility such as this where tourists can rest before going
awareness and fostering a further into the complex would substantially enhance the
comrriitment t0 preserve the experience of visiting the Taj Mahal - especially for tourists
historic site. arriving directly from Delhi or other destinations. To explain the
site and its larger dunensions models, multiluigual text and
interactive touch screens d be used.

The visitor centre wdi also house a model of the Taj Mahal
complex in the Fatehbad gate courtyard. The Fatehpuri gate
courtyard will have similar facilities as the Fatehbad gate
courtyard except that it is proposed to have a Mughal Garden in
the courtyard instead of a model.

- - - - - - -



Information in both centres will be bi-lingual. In desigrmg the

visitor centre, care wiil be taken to provide cultural resource
management, so that, information is disserninated to the viewer
with a ranking of value. It is proposed to provide tourists with
on site information, such as well-placed signboards, guide books
and iliustrated information brochures, explaining the importance
of the site. In the case of the main tomb and the mosque,
visitors have to be reminded that they are visiting a sacred
shrine, which should inspire respect. 50: Fatehbad gate courtyard - proposed
Visitor Centre


It is proposed to provide an expansion of visitor experience

through an enhanced museurn presence. The two Nazlbat
Khana?, located on the east and West of the char bagh are the
obvious choices. The eastern Nazlbat Khana will be developed as
a famiiy oriented exhibition centre while the western Nazlbat
Kham will be developed as an exhibition onented museum. In
each case, the buildings will be cleared of its present contents
and the architectural features of the building restored or
highlighted as required.

The western Naubat Khana will be a professional, albeit smaii,

exhibition space. The intention is to have inconspicuous glass
cases, fabricated from shatterproof glass, thereby ensuring h g h
levels of security and a controlled environment
(hurnidity/temperature) within each case. More importantly,
they wiii assure that the objects are seen against the historicai
fabnc of the Taj Mahal, thereby evoking their architectural
context. Occasional glass cases for paintings and text panels will
be the only installation on the walls. Objects that are not
particularly light sensitive wiil be selected to facilitate long-term

In addltion, within the eastern Nazlbat Khana, will be programs Collections housed in the
of story teliing and games for f a d e s with children to help
Taj Mahal museum, its
explain Mughal life and culture. Images, particularly Mughal
miniatures and other didactic material will iiiustrate narrative reserve collection and
tales, games such as pachisi being played. Elephant fights and the archives have been
Mughals' love for sports will be displayed with explanatory examined but in order to
notes. The design of furniture, like chairs, game tables and curate an exhibition
display cases will be simple and unobtrusive. worthy of the Taj Mahal,
The plan of the two pavilions d l be examined to determine the loans from various
optimum traffic pattern for visitors. While it is envisaged that sources will be required.
most visitors to the Taj Mahal don't have the time or inclination
to visit the museum, a substantial number could be expected
once the museum is upgraded and the visitor centre and other
facilities are operational.



Site Security 69-70

Risk Preparedness 71-72

Over the centuries, historic sites have endured disasters of

unprecedented scope and severity. The Taj Mahal complex too
is at a risk from a nurnber of threats. A matter of grave concern
in the recent past has been the threat of terrorists attacking this
historic monument. In response to these threats received by the
Government of India, the Supreme Court's directive has been
to appoint a professional agency to undertake the security. As a
result, the Archaeological Survey of India on May 1st 2002
51. irary security arrangements
entmsted the security of the Taj Mahal to the CISF (Central at 11IC ratciipuri and Fatehbad gate.
Industrial Security Forces).

Given the importance of the Taj Mahal, the security system wiU
be proactive, rather than reactive. Presently, visitors walk
through a Door Frame Metal Detector (DFMD) at Fatehpuri
and Fatehbad gates, after purchasing a ticket and CISF
personnel frisk each visitor with a Hand Held Meta1 Detector
(HHMD). Female visitors are fnsked behind a fabric screen and
handbags etc are sifted through manually. The same procedure
is repeated at the entrance gate. The security check takes a
couple of minutes for each visitor, at each point, often causing
a back-up and consequent delay. 52. Temporary securiiy arrangements
at the entrance gate.

CISF personnel expressed the need to install state of the art

equipment that could screen visitors and their persona1
belongings, thereby strearnlining the security process. It is
proposed to install DFMDs, HHMDs, Xray machines and
closed circuit TVs within the Taj Mahal complex to ensure the
safety of both the monument and visitors.

In the light of the above, it is apparent that Fatehpuri and Cultural Heritage is always at
Fatehbad gates do not have the space for equipment such as X-
ray machines and any interventions of a temporary nature, made a risk of destruction through
in the vicinity, could affect the aesthetics of the site. After a forces of conflict. Once
careful study of the possibilities for locating surveillance destroyed .the tangible liriks
equipment where it would be minimally intrusive, yet takes the to Our past are severed, even
convenience and comfort of the visitors into account, it is obliterated and immeasurable
proposed that automated turnstiles be installed at the Fatehpuri
and Fatehbad gates and the surveillance equipment be installed
cultural loss is sustained.
in the Fatehpuri and Fatehbad gate courtyards.

The whole sequence of sec,yrity checks, ie. Xray machines,

DFMDs, etc. could take place in the rooms around the
Fatehpuri and Fatehbad gate courtyards. Adequate holding
space is available and visitors could view the display galleries and
use amenities such as the toilets installed within these
courtyards before exiting into the forecourt to proceed through
the entrance gate and enter the char bagh area.



The more obvious threats to a historical monument are Risk Preparedness can lead
vandalism by visitors and accidental or unwitting damage to to response and recovery
the histonc fabric. Fire, floodtng, earthquakes, and civil
disturbances are various natural disasters that can potentially
strategies, which can lead to
stnke a hentage site. Some are predictable and partly timely intervention thereby
controllable, others are simply ovenvhelming. In all cases the reducing ,the consequences of
consequences can be catastrophc. A case in point is the kind the disaster.
of loss felt after the earthquake in Gujarat, which destroyed
much of the architectural heritage of the state.


Natural disasters occur when nature's energy is activated in a

destructive manner by way of earthquakes, floods or fires.
Natural disasters are damaging, principally because their impact
is relatively immediate and often unexpected. Like any other
structure, the Taj Mahal too faces a threat from man made
hazards. The natural disasters that udl prove damaging to the
Taj Mahal are earthquakes and floods. Preparing for such
emergencies and responding effectively if it occurs, is a cntical
component of disaster preparedness. In the case of man-made
disasters, it can hghlight accidents waiting to happen.

Seismic Shocks Earthquakes hke any other natural disaster

cannot be prevented. A considerable number of seismic
epicentres lie to the N.W. of Agra and two quite senous
events with magnitudes between 6.3 and 7.0 on the Richter
scale have been recorded within 100km of Agra.

The different elements of the Taj Mahal will react to different Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods,
seismic modes. The most vulnerable are the chattrir because of earthquakes, and wildfires
their h g h centres of gravis, their slender colurnns and inflict billions in damage on
ornamental features such as pinnacles. The central
mausoleum, being square, with corners chamfered off, has an
communities, including
almost perfect anti-seisrnic plan. In section, the inner dome historic structures. It is quite
braces the structure while the outer dome is so strongly clear that there are some
constructed that its stiffness is of the same order as the disasters which are
remainder, so it's vibration mode shouid not be too different. predictable and for which we
The subsidiary bddtngs are however more vulnerable. It is
can prepare and can often
possible that ray Leigh waves from distant earthquakes couid
affect the minarets and pinnacles. T o determine the danger reduce the risk of occurrence
that seismic activity near the Taj Mahal couid cause, it is and 1.t is
necessary to study the nature of the soi1 under the Taj Mahal. also clear that there are some
The depth of underlying sedimentary rock and the void ratios natural disasters against
o f the soils will affect the assessment of the vulnerabhty of
which al1 human efforts woi-ild
the Taj Mahal as the effect of a seismic shock can be
increased by a factor of 6 or more by soft ground conditions. be futile.



Risk Preparedness may not Floods: Floods can occur anywhere and are probably the most
prevent natural disasters, destructive of disasters. The capacity and effectiveness of the
drainage basin are often a cause of floodmg. Whe most floods
but in some cases it can be
are a consequence of nature, some are man-made or exacerbated
fundamental in their by human activity, as a result of excessive clearing of natural
prediction and mitigation. vegetation and landforms.

Fires: Fires are a constant threat to any b d t heritage. They

have been a constant companion of cidzation and remain a
dangerous friend. Large, damagmg &es are often started by
small accidents. Given the large number of drawings and photo
documentation available on the Taj Mahal, some of which may
form part of the display material in the proposed visitor centres;
a plan for risk preparedness will be critical to its survival.

T o date there has been little recogmtion of the importance and
special needs of the Taj Mahal and its precincts, withm the
broad arena of disaster preparedness. A pro-active attitude in
relation to disasters affecting the Taj Mahal and its precincts is
what is required. It is recommended that an acceptable level of
risk be identified and then strategies developed accordmgly.

Risk Assessment by which potential threats to the Taj Mahal

and its precincts can be identified d contain a survey of the
resources of the Taj Mahal and its precincts and an assessment
of potential hazards and vulnerabhty. A Disaster Plan for the
Taj Mahal complex and its precincts will have strategies for
mitigation (before), response (during) and recovery (after). It
d cover everything from the organisational structure of the
response team, to insurance details.

A necessary step will be the creation of an interdisciplinary

A disaster plan is forward
steering committee and a nurnber of initiatives intended to assist
planning for risk reduction, in the emergency planning and protection of cultural property
recovery and reduction of from disasters. The purpose of the interdisciplmary steering
loss. Risk preparedness committee is to provide instruction and guidance o n how to
should play and important prepare for and respond to an emergency. The key aspects to be
dealt with are:
role in the Site Management
Plan of any historic emergency plan withm in the management policy,
monument. In one as basic principles of emergency planning,
importaiit as .the Taj Mahal, decision-making in emergencies,
it is crucial so that the preparing and implementing an emergency dnll.
monument can be cared for Regular maintenance is crucial, as it d prolong the life of the
in times of crisis when there structures even in the event of a disaster. Installation of smoke
detectors, alarms, seismic retrofit, are precautionary strategies,
is a great need for care and which can be undertaken. Regular testing is required to see that
management to reduce loss. these precautionary strategies are in working condition.



Introduction 73
Documentation and Research 74-75
Planning 76-79
Implementation 80


Essential to the effective management of the Taj Mahal complex

and its precincts is a need for information about the site and
how every aspect of the site is used. A complete understanding
and assessment of its historical, archaeological and landscape
character is a fundamental requirement. Adequate information is
crucial on its setting, environment and surroundings; economic
trends, tourism studies and any other data that may affect the
management of the monument and the achievement of the
short-term and long-term objectives as spelled out in this Site
Management Plan.

It is essential that all documentation gathered, be available in

order to take appropriate decisions to meet the objectives of the
Site Management Plan. Furthemore, to judge whether the
objectives of the Site Management Plan are being achieved, it is
necessary for this information to be accessed by decision makers
on a regular basis.

A great deal of information has already been coilected but is

held by a variety of bodies, in different formats and is not always
readily accessible. This includes the dtfferent departments within
the AS1 (Archaeological Survey of India) itself, local authorities
like the Agra Development Authority, museurns, and
universities and with private research scholars.

A lot of information is also being generated through the Taj

Mahal Conservation Collaborative research projects. T o be used
effectively and to enable an accurate assessment to be made of
what other information needs to be obtained, all the available
data needs to be collected, integrated and maintained in an
'Information Data basey. It is therefore proposed that a
Geographical Information System (GIS) be established,
which would form the basis for the development of the
'Information Database'.

The Taj Mahal Conservation project proposes to take the lead in

developing an Information Management strategy that can be
evolved to define the data standards for the documentation and
the management of the cultural heritage of India. The project
Eah t ~ ~tz$
wiU seek to set up the mechanism for the compilation of a Taj
" , ~ ~ ~ ~ , " ~
Mahal Information Database, which will draw on, complement c.
and feed into the existing resource management systems within
the ASI. The airn will be to compile a comprehensive database
covering the main complex and all the ancfiry areas, and to
make the data available to all those who need the resource to
irnplement their management responsibilities and carry out their
tasks, be it conservation, restoration or visitor facilitation.





Research is no longer a luxury than can be restricted to scholars

and academics, but, it is a vital and integral part of any Site
Management plan, essential to a proper understanding of the
site and its effective management.

Research into the different aspects of the site is essential as it

improves the understanding of the past through a testing of the
existing hypothesis and the gathering of new evidence. Research
should be encouraged and promoted to improve an
understandmg of the historical and architectural value of the Taj
Mahal complex and its precincts, thus facilitating its appropriate
management. Without better and improved knowledge, it will
not be possible to validate the significance of the site and the
54. Study of the Taj Mahal, c.1893. contribution it has made to the World's Hentage.

Although the importance of the main mausoleum has been

recognized and studied, the current state of out knowledge of
some aspects of the site, such as the gardens is still incomplete.
Other significant areas, like Mehtab Bagh across the river have
not been thoroughly investigated and these areas represent gaps
in our understanding of the Taj Mahal in its entirety and are
likely to have great potential for the discovery of as yet
unknown archaeological evidence.

A number of initiatives for this component are already

underway and it is important that these continue and feed into
the overall understanding of the site. New discoveries and an
understanding of the archaeology will have a direct effect on
how it should be managed. It is also vital that the research is not
restricted to just the Taj Mahal complex but ultimately covers its
precincts like Taj Ganj and the city of Agra as a whole, in order
to encompass other aspects of development that affect the
monument and its management. The research strategy should
also inforrn the interpretive strategy.

The research strategy being There is also a need to research into the most appropriate
method of management and treatment for similar World
adopted will enhance the
Heritage sites. The Taj Mahal Conservation Collaborative
overall understanding of the project has initiated the research, involving the required
site, its history, architecture, professionals in their specialized fields. The research agendas
landscape and conservation for the various components like the visitor management and
thereby facilitating better facilitation (pattern, numbers, behaviour, motivation); historic
management of the World landscape character, the ancient water works system and
architectural conservation have been included in this publication
Heritage site. in their respective chapters.




In any Information Management process, it is crucial to first Intensive documentation is,

establish, as far as possible, the existing state of documentation. an integrated part of the
There are certain aspects of the site where much research has
already been done. Adequate data has been collected on
conservation and restoration
conservation. A number of scientific studies o n the physical process of any World Heritage
condition of the structures, it's structural stability, effects of air site. The entire
pollution on marble, water pollution/ treatment, plasters, documentation process and
materials used in the construction, thermal dilation and the records thus generated
weathering behaviour of composite inlay Stone, etc., conducted
in the recent past, are available for reference.
would help develop better
baseline information and new
Information is avadable o n the various restoration measures ideas for the purpose of
being adopted at the Taj Mahal complex ltke the use of oxalic interpreting the Taj Mahal
acid for patination in irnproving marble lustre and repair of corriplex along with its
cracks that developed in the veneering marble slabs. A
precincts to visitors.
comprehensive bibliography has been compiled and relevant
scientific studies carried out in the past pertaining to the
monument and the gardens have also been collected.

A Field survey t o assess visiter's perception of the monument

and the various amenities avadable at site has also been
completed. Also available are visitor data and statistics.

In consultation with experts in the field, a possible agenda for

further documentation has been specifically designed for the
needs of the Taj Mahal. The objective is identification of the
necessary documentation required for the development of a GIS
Data Management software program. This Data Management
software program would play a critical role in defining and
guiding all conservation and restoration activities. Future uses
envisaged for the program include the updating of the Site
Management plan, documentation of the monuments condition
and interventions, development of maintenance programs and
tourism related issues.

Both conventional and modern scientific methods are proposed

While drawings of al1
for the documentation of al1 aspects of the existing physical
condition of the hstoric structure. The site surveys would structures within the Taj
record the structure in terms of plans, elevations, cross-sections, Mahal corriplex are available
details, surface articulations, decorative features, surface marks they are not necessarily
like tool and masons' marks, building matenals, construction accurate and only 50 percent
system, etc. The measurements taken on site would then be
of its precincts are recorded
transferred ont0 accurate drawings using Computer Aided
Drafting software. The data and drawings thus generated would on basic maps and the
be integrated into a GIS database, which would be used to average rate of map updating
highlight conservation issues, and understand and analyse the is not very frequent.
nature of damage and deterioration caused over tirne to the
historic fabric.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -




The setting up of an Information Management system for the

Taj Mahal complex is an initiative that is conceived to deal with
all key aspects for conservation, restoration, and management of
the site. The amount of necessary data needed to document the
Taj Mahal and its complex in its current state and the various
phenomena that affect it, is enormous and complex. Therefore
the Information Management component will have a pivotal
role requiring a great deal of resources. The objectives of the
project will be dehned in the planning stage.
55. Plate with a picture of the Taj
The GIS structure for data management wili include the
different aspects of the project ranging from the topographic
surveys, underground waterways, architectural conservation to
site management issues. To ensure a coherent approach, it is
essential to identify documentation systems that will be
compatible as well as adaptable to the complex system situation
found at the site. The system wiU be technically simple, but
capable of providing accurate data, easily operated, but
reproducible over tirne and takmg into account the local
resources, both hurnan and technical, as well as funding

The following site surveys are proposed for a comprehensive

documentation of the Taj Mahal complex:

Topographic survey using Total Station.

Architectural documentation using a practical
approach in dealing with the intricate structures.
Material and condition survey, to detennine the state
of conservation of the buildings.
Garden and water system surveys.

The Data Management Topographic Survey

system will deal with will be
As a frst measure, it is important to undertake an overall
architectural documentation,
topographic survey of the entire area of intervention, using GPS
conservation and gardens (Global Positioning Systems) so that any future measurements
and water systems in the can be inserted within this framework. The structure of the
first phase and in the system and the methodology of the survey will be especially
second phase the systeni designed for the project.'A network of topographic stations will
will be enlarged to include be identified that will serve to provide a topographic framework
for the Taj Mahal complex in general and help correlate the
other topics such as Site various architectural structures in it. The survey will also be
Management, Maintenance complemented by dixect measurements using traditional
and Tourism related issues. methods (measuring tapes, plumbs) and laser measurements.



Atchitectural Documentation

Measure drawings of all the structures within the Taj Mahal

complex wiU be carried out using conventional survey
techniques. In order to record stone carvings, stone inlay work
and calligraphy on the exterior these will be combined with
rectified photography, stereo photogrammetry or graphic

Material and condition survey:

This survey wdl include fabric identification as weil as the
structure's state of conservation. It d:
Characterize, with the help of a local geologist, the
building materials used in the structure both qualitatively
and quantitatively, prior to any intervention. eg: rnissing
56. Inlay woik with slivers of semi-
stone inlay, etc. precious stone.
Define, through an analysis of the deterioration, with the
help of an interdisciplinary team of geologists, physicists,
chemists, etc., problems affecting the structure like
fissures, and fractures; scaling and powdering particularly
of the red sandstone; biological colonization, including
higher plants, open joints; dislodged blocks, corrosion of
metals (iron) structural elements leading to iron oxide
stains and changes in the colouration of the stone, in
particular the yellowing of the marble of the mausoleurn.
Assess surface deposits of dust, in particular on the
white marble of the mausoleum and study the levels of
SPM, acid pollutants (Sulphur dioxide & Nitrogen oxide)
Elaborate and analyse the obtained data to arrive at a
rational sequence for interventions and thereby develop
an appropriate maintenance plan.
Develop mortar formulations (for infdl, pointing and
renders) for future use in maintenance.

Landscape Survey:
Gardens survey will document existing vegetation and The GIS Data Management
planting layouts.
system for the Taj Mahal
Horticultural survey will relate the existing species on
site, to those found through secondary studies, to help complex will serve as a pilot
build an authentic image of a Mughal garden. project for the ASI, with
The survey of the waterworks wiu reveal an enhanced regards to standards for
understanding of the scientific and aesthetic principles documentation and the
that determined the layout of the water system. management of the cultural
Indication of any sub surface water systems will also be
heritage of the whole nation.
determined through the use of Ground Penetrating
Radar systems.
Archaeo-botanical surveys will establish the presence of
historic species in the subsurface layers of the soi1 as
against the present floristic inventory.



The GIS and its associated GIS DATA BASE

database will be developed
into a full management It is envisaged that the Information Management system, wdl be
an integration of the architectural documentation, topographical
systeni coiitairiing data not surveys and garden and water system surveys, designed as per
just on the conservation standard n o m s on a GIS (Geographic Information system)
aspects of the various motor and will operate on a RDBMS (Relational Database
structures, but also for ,the Management system) platform, having a client-server
management, mapping, organization. The GIS solution is being proposed for
producing, organizing and analysing the spatial component and
image processing and RDBMS for the non-spatial component is being explored.
sta1:istical analysis of .the site.
The fundamental functions of the system wiii be:
Data entry
Archiva1 storage
Data retrieval

The structure of the data (categories, relations, etc.) and their

standards (tolerance, precision, accuracy, vocabulary, etc.) wiii
be defned speci6cally for the Taj Mahal complex. The base plan
on which the actual data will be organized will have four-layers
of definition:
Outer Terrain Layer: Area around the precinct of the
Taj Mahal, including parking lots, access routes, Mebfab
Bagb and other areas considered important for the
placing of the monument in its context. scale-1: 500
Taj Mahal Complex layer: Taj Mahal complex
including the aqueduct and Khan-i-Ahm nursery.
scale-1: 200
Building layer: Individual buildings and monuments.
scale-1: 50
Detail Layer: Details and surface decorations.
scale-1: 20

GIS File Names and Graphic Conventions - The system will
provide for a consistent file naming system to facilitate file
transfer and avoid problems of data management over the long
term. Specific information will be included in each fe (e.g.,
project name and location, data layer name and number, survey
date, surveyor, drawn by, checked by, modified on, etc.). Each

I drawing wiii have a layer of symbols, north arrow, scalable

graphic bar, and sources of information used to produce the
drawing (metadata; e.g., GPS, laser transit, 30 m. steel tape, etc.).
Consistent symbols as per ASI's conventions for heritage site
documentation d be used for different types of features,
57. Missing Stone inlay archaeological condition and matefals.




Customised data management software if developed, can aid in: The Data Management system
to be developed for the Taj
Monitoring Restoration/Conservation projects Mahal will serve as a meeting
Visitor Management and Facihtation (and confrontation) point for
Implementation of the Site Management plan specialists of various
Maintenance disciplines involved in the
project. It has therefore a
Monitoring restoration/conservation projects: Measure
drawings, with plans, elevations and a stone by stone restitution very pivotal role and has to
of facades, recorded using appropriate technology, wdl be linked be taken into consideration in
to specifications for conservation work that needs to be al1 the sections of the project.
executed. Resdts of ongoing investigations will also be
recorded. Areas that are more complex hke Mebtab Bagb will
require additional records like a contour survey. Different levels
of recordmg wdl be essential for recordmg the findmgs at
different levels, e.g. plant material will be recorded at surface
level, the water system at its appropriate subsurface level, and
the paleo-botanical findmgs at their respective levels. Regdarly
updating the database is one of the ways in which the AS1 can
measure the progress of their restoration and preservation

Visitor Management and Facilitation tool: Data on

tourism in addition to quantitative indicators such as nurnbers,
revenue, visitor satisfaction, visitor perception of the site and
how they think the site can be itnproved, is vital for preparing
an effective visitor management plan. Additional data on the
changing attitudes of the local popdation if linked on a regdar
basis will help the plan to evolve over the years. ,41so of great
importance wdl be the economic effect of a visitor management
plan on the local population especially the local guides and

Site Management tool: Over tirne, as the site management For proper management of
plan evolves, the GIS database wdl be further developed and the conservation work at site
updated to accommodate changes as required. Data when linked
,there must be good records,
to the system at regdar intervals wdl help the implementation of
the plan and enable the AS1 to evaluate the evolution of the plan which describe each feature,
over the years. clearly both in text and in
illustrations and which can be
Maintenance tool: Maintenance data input will not be a used to monitor any change
o n e - t h e effort. Whde basic data, like documentation of
on site condition.
individual structures, d need to be collected only once, any
changes in the condition of the building material or the structure
itself wiU need updating on a regular basis. The system wdl be
designed so that the Maintenance schedules, bar charts, resdts
of the monitoring etc. can be easily added and integrated into
the GIS database.




As a whole the Data The phases involved in designing the Data Management system
Mana.gementsystem project are:
has ideal objectives with Objective Identification: A fundamental phase where
the scope of the project and the results that are expected
tremendous consequences are identified. This phase requires interaction between
for the future of the cultural software analysts, the AS1 and the consultants of
heritage of India. It is individual disciplines.
important to include an First Level Analysis: Analysis by the software analysts,
initial phase of identification the AS1 and the consultants of the different disciplines,
in order to identify and defme the characteristics and
and assessment of existing
standards for the system.
data (at ASI) so as to
Design of the Application System Design of the
optimise the activities and system by software programmers, following the brief
costs of data survey as well provided by the analysts as closely as possible.
as to prepare archives of ail Development of the System Implementation of
existing information on the procedures for integrating existing AS1 data and
Taj Mahal, thus allowing to continued development of the GIS software to facilitate
use and access of the database by all levels of AS1 staff.
project a system that will
manage in the best way al1 After all components and procedures of the system have been
existing documentation. addressed, the actual implementation of the GIS data base d
be handled in the following stages:

Data Entry: Data will be attached to the GIS database

in a consistent manner, in a forrn compatible to the GIS
structure. Digitisation and entry of data wiU be done
following the defined standards, such as base
cartography, architectural surveys, and deterioration
pattern mapping for all photographie images, archiva1
documents as well all alphanurneric data relevant to any
of these entries and eventual projects such as restoration
intervention. Work wdl also be needed to incorporate
An ongoing policy of training the ASI's resource database and the proposed site
staff will also be initiated to management structure w i t h the existing AS1
ensure the continuity of
Tests and release of the system: The system will be
qualified personnel for the installed for all users after adequate testing to ensure
GIS team. Training the smooth induction of technology.
required personnel in the Training in the use of the system: Ongoing training
use of .the software d be provided for existing and specially appointed
packages will be vital to the personnel within the ASI's structure for the use of
whom the system has been designed as well as for
success of the database as
technicians and staff responsible for the maintenance
a management tool. and management of the system itself. The training
program will prepare the AS1 staff for the adjustments
needed to accommodate changing technologies.



Existing Management Structure
Piinciples for a Management Policy
Proposed Management Structure
Plan of Action


In order to achieve the objectives, as drafted in the Site

Management Man, there is a clear need for a comprehensive
and integrated Management policy. The Site Management Plan
for the Taj Mahal complex and its precincts involves a complex
set of issues, as diverse as, preserving the cultural significance
of the site, restoring the historical integrity of the gardens,
maintaining the quality of its architectural heritage, enhancing
visitor experience while retaining the unity, inherent spirit and
enduring value of the site. The need for an integrated
5 8 *=rial view of the TaJ Mahal
Management policy is apparent from the nurnber of pressures
exerted on the monuments within the Taj Mahal complex and
the site in general, which if not controiled could be damagmg.
Evolving an effective Management poiicy will be fairly complex
given the multiple agencies empowered with management
authority, w i t h both the core zone and the buffer zone.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is responsible for the

conservation and maintenance of the Taj Mahal. There are other
agencies responsible for the provision and maintenance of
amenities such as toilets, drinking water and bus services from
Agra Fort to the Taj Mahal. Located either withui the complex
or in the precincts, are offices of Telecommunications
Department, Post and Telegraph SeMce, State Horticulture
Department and Forest Department, Government of Uttar
Pradesh. Within the Taj Mahal complex is an office of the UP
Pollution Control Board, which monitors the ait. quality.

The Taj Mahal has adjacent to it, Taj Ga& a living and The proposed Management
continuously evolving and developing environment, subject to policy for the Taj Mahal
competing and potentiaily conficting pressures and influenced cOmplex and its precincts,
by a large number of different interests, both public and
private. Tremendous changes to the original land use have
encompasses recognition,
already taken place in this historic area. There is an urgent need; conservation of monuments,
to now achieve a correct balance of the conservation of the r e s t ~ r a t i ~ofn.the historie
historic fabric and it's setting with the demands for economic landscape, visiter
development of the area. The opportunities provided by a management and facilitation,
historic site for the economic benefit of the local community
maintenance, security and the
through both conservation and sustainable development have
also to be explored. overall management of the
World Heritage site:
A comprehensive Management structure is being proposed,
which would ensure identification, protection, conservation and
presentation of the 'values' of the place; in its entitety and
integrity, for present and future generations, through
sustainable resoGce utilisation. There is need for precise and
clear objectives, policies and resources and for a means of
implementing upon agreed policies.



Policies can only be implemented if there is the CO-operationby

the various agencies involved with the site. There are various
factors that need to be balanced through, while drafting a
Management Policy:

The need to conserve the historic fabric and its setting.

The primary reason for prescribing the Taj Mahal group
of monuments on the World Heritage list is the
historical and cultural sigmficance of the monuments,
especialiy the main mausoleum.
The landscape has evolved over the years and what is
visible today is not what was origindy conceived.
Restoring the historic ambience of the gardens has to
be considered.
The Taj Mahal has attracted visitors ever since its
59. Floinner from the Cencdaph screen.
completion and is today a favoured tourist destination.
Shaik Laii c. 1820. Continued access to visitors, but enhanced by a better
understanding of the site, which will lead to greater
enjoyment is desirable. Properly managed tourism can
be an enormous advantage through the generation of
additional resources, which can be utilised for
conservation and maintenance of the site.
A Site Management Plan, sympathetic to tourism will
be essential to the well being of both, the site and the

A detailed Management policy The Management policy seeks to establish a platform for all
those concerned about the future management of the Taj
will emerge only after those Mahal to move fonvard together. In doing so it may introduce
responsible for the site have additional powers or suggest that the role of an existing body
exarnined and analysed the be modified. While the Site Management Plan sets out some
problerns that need to be detailed project proposals, the management policy seeks to
resolved. Following this, reinforce a legal and administrative framework and principles
for action to help irnplement these projects.
appropriate solutions can be
developed, which will then be Two specific mechanisms are therefore proposed. The hrst is a
integrated with implenientation Management Plan Comrnittee, formed primarily of
work being executed by other representatives of the ASI, local authorities, local community,
agencies and individuals. Governrnent departrnents and other agencies. Their task is to
oversee the delivery of the recommendations arising from the
Site Management Plan and to encourage all partners to adopt
the plan's outcome.

The second is a dedicated Co-ordinating Unit, which can be

assigned specific tasks in relation to the project proposais within
the Site Management Plan. This will comprise of representatives
from the specialised branches within the ASI, the local
Development Authority, non-governrnent technical
professionals and agencies as deemed necessary.





The ARCHAEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF INDIA (ASI) is the The Archaeological Survey of
main agency responsible for the protection of the Taj Mahal India bas a long tradition of
complex and its group of monument as prescribed on the World
being the caretakers of
Heritage list. The AS1 was established in 1861 and functions as
an attached office of the Department of Culture, Ministry of
historic moni-iments in this
Culture. Under the Ancient Monuments and hchaeological country* In this respect the
Sites and Remains Act of 1958, the AS1 looks after 3606 AS1 has a history of more .than
monuments in the country, which are of national importance. a hllndred veat-5 in

It's major activities are manifold and include: preservation of the

Maintenance, conservation & preservation of centraliy
monumeiits. The AS1 funds al1
protected monuments and sites.
Conducting archaeological exploration & excavations.
the structural conservation
Chemical preservation of monuments and antiquarian
and preservation works, with
remains. allocatiori inade by the
Architectural survey of monuments. Government of India. Every
Setting up and re-organisation of site museurns. year the Senior Conservation
Training in Archaeology and creating awareness of the Asst. prepares a proposal,
hentage of the country. listing the urgent works
Implementation of the provisions of Antiquity and Art required to be undertaken.
Treasure Act 1972.

The AS1 has 18 circle offices and 2 sub circle offices responsible
for the monuments of the region, facilitated by the technical
branches of the AS and around 8000 employees.


The Agra Circle of the AS1 is the sole agency responsible for the
administration of the Taj Mahal complex, besides looking after
its restoration, maintenance and conservation. The AS1 also has
an office in the entrance gate of the Taj Mahal complex.

The Taj Mahal alone has 137 persons on its roils. The complex
is under the supervision of a Sr. Conservation Assistant who is O t h e r agencies involved with the site
Agra Development
responsible for the overali conservation, management and day- Authority
to-day monitoring of the site. Assisting him is an office Telec~mmunications
attendant. Caretakers are responsible for the work being
Post and Telegraph Services
executed at site. Masons, cutters and artisans are employed on a State Horticulture Dept.
daily wage, depending on the requirement. Regular employees Forest Department
Irrigation Department
along with daily wagers carry out the regular cleaning of the site. Uttar Pradesh (UP) Tourism
Besides these, the monument cleaners keep the place dust and Agencies involved w i t h monitoring
cobweb free and undertake the removal of weeds, plants and UP Pollution Control Board
Supreme Court Monitoring
beehives. Three lower division clerks are employed as booking Commiaee.
clerks at the ticket counter.

- - -


















The Management Policy will set out clear objectives for an initial
five-year period within the context of the long-term objectives.
It will also clearly identify responsibilities for implementation
and outline ways in which these can be achieved. It is essential
that a code of practice be agreed upon, to gmde the co-
ordination of efforts for the mutual benefit of aJl the agencies
involved. The Management Policy will be the document to guide
action over a fixed period and is intended to promote both the
authenticity and integnty of the Taj Mahal complex and its
precincts. It airns to do so by setting policies and an action
programme for stnking the correct balance between
conservation, landscape restoration, access and tourism and the
needs of the local cornrnunity and maintaining this balance once
it has been achieved.

While formulating the objectives of the Site Management Plan,

it wiU be necessary to: 60. Detail of pietra dura inlay work on
the exterior of the Taj Mahal.
1. Improve visitor facilitation and management while ensuring
priority to conservation.
2. Ensure that any decision regarding the Taj Mahal complex
reflects the best interest of the site and respects National
and International n o m s and standards.
3. Create a buffer zone in the Site Management Plan, which
extends from the Shahjahanabad gardens and the Taj
National Park to include the Agra Fort and its environs.
4. Examine the Supreme Court recommendations to declare
Agra a World Heritage city.
5. Monitor, CO-ordinateand ensure that the imperatives of the
different nodal agencies, such as the State Government, ASI,
ADA and tourism are addressed.

The foliowing are guiding principles for developing a

comprehensive and integrated Management Policy:

1. Develop and manage an integrated conservation,

restoration and preservation program.
2. Examine all project proposals to ensure that the integrity
and authenticity of the site is retained.
3. Assess the employment potential, to include the local
cornmunity in the protection of their heritage.
4. Provide for Human Resource development, in order to
enhance a range of skills, including technical and
managerial skills of personnel involved with different
aspects of the site. Due consideration will be given to
the development of master craftsmen whose skills can
be passed down to the next generation. 61. Inlay in need of retoration.




The proposed management structure for the implementation

phase will meet the compiled requirement and still be flexible
enough to adjust to the dynamics of change.

A Management Committee to implement the proposed Site
Management Plan, for the Taj Mahal, will be composed of
principaily those bodies, which have contributed to the
62. Taj Mahal, Colin Campbell Cooper. formulation of the Site Management Plan. It will be formed to
act as the primary forum for issues concernifig the management
of World Heritage Sites. The decisions of the comrnittee will
emerge by consensus. The representation of the local
community in the Site Management Committee will be ensured.
Such a comrnittee wiil need to meet at least twice a year, and
should fulhl the following roles:

Oversee the implementation of general and specitic

recommendations made within the Site Management
Plan, and monitor the success in meeting the targets.
Establish a forum for management issues, and continue
to CO-ordmateefforts towards concerted management
within the Taj Mahal complex
Management Plan Committee Review reports from responsible bodies and agencies,
will include: on projects which affect the site
Agree to action programs and priorities for developing
specific aspects of the plan.
Directors, AS1 - Science, Monitor the condition of the site, and develop and agree
Conservation, on appropriate action to deal with threats to its well-
Monuments being.
Local authorities - Develop and agree to further policies and codes of
practice for protection, recording and research, access,
Commissioner of Agra.
interpretation, and preservation of the site, as well as
Representative of .the safeguarding the livelihoods and interests of those living
Local Community and working within the zone, and to encourage the
Representative of the adoption of such policies by responsible bodies and
Dept. of Tourism
Within the overriding need to conserve the Taj Mahal
Representatives from complex and its precincts, promote the economy of the
Government depts. and region.
agencies active -within Agree with the work program and provide general
the zone, as deemed direction for the proposed Co-ordination Unit.
necessary, from time to Review the conclusions and recommendations w i t h
time. the Site Management Plan, to determine the frequency
of the updating of the plan, and to oversee the process
Professional expertise.
when it occurs.




A Co-ordination Unit is also proposed, whch will make initial

contributions to this effort to deliver the objectives of the
Management Plan and to establish communication between
those who have an interest in seeing the Site Management Plan
succeed, to CO-ordinateefforts, and to secure comrnitment and
resources for this work. The Co-ordination Unit needs to be
small and flexible in its operation to achieve its objectives. By
fostering liaison and communication, some of the existing
perceived burden in fulhlling all the requirements on individuals
and organisations may be reduced. The role of the Co- 63. The Taj Mahal complex and its
ordination Unit will not be to replace the efforts, which others
may be able to provide in seeing the Site Management Plan
succeed, but it can carry out the following functions:

Service the Site Management Plan Committee, and dong

with the partners construct annual work programs to
meet agreed priorities
Ensure communication and liaison with ail those
involved in the management of resources within the Taj
Mahal complex and its precincts.
Provide assistance with advice and information, schedule
monument consents, and setting and monitoring
standards for work.
Maintain and update the proposed Taj Mahal database,
and provide users of the resource with the information
they need.
Monitor and review regularly the physical condition of
the site and devise, target and implement, management
actions to deal with potential or actual threats to the site.
Where necessary, CO-ordinate joint bids for funding
from other sources for projects.
Devise and manage specific projects associated with the
Site Management Plan process which may affect the Taj
Mahal complex and its precincts.
Review the Site Management Plan and provide for its
regular updating

The Co-ordmation unit wouid comprise of:

To conserve a site as com~lex

SA and Asst Archaeologist, ASI, Agra Circle. as the Taj Mahal and its
Representative of Horticulture Branch, ASI.
precincts necessitates a very
Representative of Chemical Conservation branch, AS1
comprehensive view, a holistic
Representative of ADA, Agra.
approach and a strategy and
Non-Government technical professionals.
a management stri~cturethat
Representatives from other agencies as deemed
necessary from time to time. relates to its character.




As is clear from the wide-ranging nature of this Site

Management Plan, the extent and number of bodies and
individuals involved in the Taj Mahal complex and its precincts
is large, and embraces planning, environmental issues,
landscape, tourism and visitor management interests, currently
exercised by a wide range of authorities and agencies. It is
impossible to see meaningful progress towards achievement of
the objectives of the management plan unless a dialogue is
64. Dome atop Mehman Khanna established or reinforced between the different agencies and
continues as part of the process of overseeing the realisation of
the Management Policy.


The Management Policy has been framed to provide for policies

and recommendations for action which can be taken by a
nurnber of different bodies and individuals to be overaii benefit
to the World Heritage and its setting. It is hoped therefore that
this plan can be agreed and adopted by ail local authorities,
statutory bodies and agencies which operate relevant controls or
policies withm the Taj Mahal complex and the city of Agra at a
broader level. It is also envisaged that it wdl obtain the support
of those who live and work within the buffer zone of the site. It
is also hoped that the proposais for management action
embodied within this plan will fonn a series of guidelines for a
sustainable approach to the Taj Mahal precincts on the part of
those who manage visitor attractions and their advisers.

The Management policy for COMMUNICATION

the Taj Mahal complex and its
precincts makes There will also be a need for wider communication with people
living within the buffer zone and in the vicinity of the site and
recommendations which it is
the voluntary sector, so that people are aware of how the plan
hoped will attrad consensus may affect them and so that those implementing the plan are
among national and local aware of local concerns.
statutory bodies to form a
basis for concerted action. REVISING THE PLAN

Planning is an interactive exercise and it is envisaged that the

Management Plan will not stay relevant to current citcumstances
for more than the normal planning cycle of around five years. It
is recommended therefore that mechanisms should be put in
place through the proposed Management Plan Committee to
ensure that the necessary refreshment of the policies, revisiting
the issues and reframing the recommendations takes place so
that the plan can continue to provide for the active care of this
World Heritage site in the future.




Cover page: Photograph of the Taj Mahal with the platform in the char bagb.
Source: TMCC, c 2001.
Insert: Panoramic view of the Taj Mahal. John Murray, England, c. 1860. Albumen
print, 12 x 495/8 in(30.5~126cm), Paul F. Walter.
Source: Romance of the Taj Mahal.
Acknowledgements: The Taj Mahal, photo by Robert Holmes.
Source: Romance of the Taj Mahal.
Table of Contents: Relief portrait bust of Shah Jahan, by a Northern European artist at the
Moghul court. C. 1630-40. Alabaster with polychromy 41/2 x 31/4 in (1 1.5 x
8.4 cm) Rijks museum, Amsterdam.
Source: Romance of the Tai Mahal.


1. The Taj Mahal, with the crowded city of Agra as a backdrop.

Source: Internet - Source unknown.
2. The Taj Mahal, Tomb of the Emperor Shah Jahan and His Queen, England, 1824, Charles
Ramus Forrest. Aquatint with hand coloring, 8x103/4 in (20.3x27.3cm) Max and Peter
Source: Romance of the Taj Mahal.
3. Mr. Ratan Tata s i g m g the MOU.
Source: Photograph, TMCC, c 2001.

Chapter 1 THE SITE

Insert Old map of the city of Agra

Source: The Moonlight Garden. D e t d map of Agra, India, h s t half 18' century. Cloth 292
cm x 272 cm. Maharaja Sawai Singh II, city Palace Museum, Jaipur.
4. Extremely dense city of Agra
Source: TMCC.
5. Taj Ganj - the cultural fabnc bordering the Taj Mahal.
Source: TMCC.
6. Vertical section through the Taj Mahal, India, c. 1820. Opaque water colour on paper,
221/4x 31 in(56.5x79cm) Trustees of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. This is part
of a group of drawings made by a Delhi or Agra artist for Col. Powell Phpps, who was
superintendent of Public Buildings in India from 1816 to 1822.
Source: Romance of the Taj Mahal.
7. The Taj Mahal, Agra, from the Garden, published 1801 (colour litho) by Thomas Daniell
(1749-1840) & William (1769- 1837)
Source: BAL177079, Private Collection/Bridgeman Art Library.
8. The Taj Mahal, Tomb of the Emperor Shah Jehan and his Queen, plate 25 from 'A
Picturesque Tour along the Rivers Ganges and Jumna', engraved by Thomas Sutherland
(b.c.1785) pub. by Rudolf Ackermann, 1824 (aquatint) by Charles Ramus Forrest (fl.1802-
Source: STC95257Private Collection/Bridgeman Art Library
Credit: The Stapleton Collection
9. Pollution in the Yamuna River
Source: TMCC.



10. Fatehpur S h i .
Source: S p e a h g Stones: World Cultural Heritage Sites in India, Eicher Goodearth Ltd,
New Delhi.
11. Agra Fort
Source: TMCC.
12. Sikandara
Source: TMCC.
13. Itimad-ud-Daulah's Tomb
Source: TMCC.


Insert Missing Inlay

Source: TMCC, circa 2002.
14. The dome of the Taj Mahal, (Photo by Sumnil Janah),
Source: Romance of the Taj Mahal.
15. Missing inlay work, Sirhi Danua~a.
Source: TMCC, circa 2002.
16. Template for the finial atop the dome.
Source: TMCC, c 2001.
17. Schematic plans of the grounds of the Taj Mahal, Agra, c. 1805, Opaque water colour on
cloth , 1101/4x337/16 in (280x85 cm), Museum fur Indische Kunst, Staatliche Museen
Preussischer Kulturbesitz, BerlinPest)
Source: Romance of the Taj Mahal.
18. Rooms and colonnade around Fatehbad courtyard.
Source: TMCC, c 2001.
19. Colonnade around Fatehbad gate courtyard.
Source: TMCC, c 2001.
20. Condition of inlay work.
Source: TMCC, c 2001.
21. Deteriorated stone inlay.
Source: TMCC, c 2001.
22. Eroded base of a stone column.
Source: TMCC, c 2001.
23. Inlay work in need of restoration.
Source: TMCC, c 2001.


Insert Taj Mahal in Morning Light, Sita Ram, ,detdc.1815, Paul F.Walter.
Source: Romance of the Taj Mahal.
24. The Taj Mahal with European sightseers. From a manuscript of Amal-i.Salih, a hstory of
Shah Jahan, India, c. 1815. Opaque watercolour on paper, The British Library, London.
Source: Romance of the Taj Mahal.
25. The Taj Mahal, Agra. William Simpson. Watercolour on paper, England 1864, AD. 131/2 x
20 in. ( 34.3 x 50.8 cm) Trustees of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.(1130-1869)
Source: Romance of the Taj Mahal.
26. View of the Taj Mahal garden.
Source: Photograph, ASI, Photo Archives, Agra, 1914
27. Fatepwi gate courtyard.
Source: TMCC, c 2001.



28. Khan-I-Alam.
Source: TMCC, c 2001.
29. Fore court of Taj Mahal
Source: TMCC, c 2001.
30. Plan of Mehtab Bagh.
Source: The Moonlight Garden Plan-Lisa Scheer, based on 1789 engraving- James Newton.


Insert Drhking water fountain

Source: TMCC, c. 2001.
31. Tourists at the Taj Mahal forecourt
Source: TMCC, c. 2001.
32. The exit from char bagh into the forecourt.
Source: TMCC, c. 2001.
33. Tourists wallung towards Fatehpuri gate
Source: TMCC, c. 2001.
34. Tourists at Fatehbad gate.
Source: TMCC, c. 2001.
35. Approach to Fatehpuri gate from Shilpgram
Source: TMCC, c. 2001.
36. Driniung Water
Source: TMCC, c. 2001.
37. Shoe racks
Source: TMCC, c. 2001.
38. Platform extending from the main entrance gate towards the mausoleum.
Source: TMCC, c. 2001.
39. Platform in the center of char bagh.
Source: TMCC, c. 2001.
40. Penphery of the site
Source: TMCC, c. 2001.
41. Saheli Burj
Source: TMCC, c. 2001.
42. Concrete forecourt
Source: TMCC, c. 2001.
43. Barncades used to cordon off areas.
Source: TMCC, c. 2001.
44. Digital display board
Source: TMCC, c. 2001.
45. Signage - B u i l h g Information
Source: TMCC, c. 2001.
46. Signage -Garden
Source: TMCC, c. 2001.
47. Signage -Directions
Source: TMCC, c. 2001.
48. Signage - Instructions
Source: TMCC, c. 2001.
49. Tourists drinlung water from the central channels.
Source: TMCC, c. 2001.
50. Fatehbad Gate Courtyard - proposed Visitor center
Source: TMCC, c. 2001.




Insert Security arrangements at the Entrance gate

Source: TMCC, c. 2002.
51. Temporary security arrangements at the Fatehpuri and Fatehbad gates
Source: TMCC, c. 2002.
52. Security arrangements at the entrance gate.
Source: TMCC, c. 2002.


Insert Drawing of the entrance gate- plan and elevation.

Source: Bagley and Desai
53. Copy of design from the top of Shah Jehan's cenotaph, Inida, c.early 19' c. Embroidery on
silk. 68 118 x 19 11/16 in. (173 x 50 cm.) Trustees of Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Source: Romance of the Taj Mahal.
54. Study of the Taj Mahal, c.l893.I,ockwood de Forest, Oil on board, 127116 x 7 7/8 in. (31.5
x 20 cm) Santa Barbara Museum of art, Gift of Mr and Mrs. I<ellam de Forest.
Source: Romance of the Taj Mahal.
55. Plate with a picture of the Taj Mahal. England, c.1825.Staffordshi1-eearthenware; irnprinted:
T. Hall and sons; Oriental scenery: Tomb of the Emperor Shah Jahan. 141/8 x 181/ 4 in.
( 35.9 x 46.4 cm) Paul F. Walter.
Source: Romance of the 'I'aj Mahal.
56. Inlay work with slivers of serni-precious stone.
Source: TMCC, c 2001
57. Missing stone inlay
Source: TMCC, c 2001


Insert Interior view of the Taj Mahal, India. C. 1820, Opaque water colour on paper, 23 x 17
in(58.4x43.2 cm), Gary Crawford.
Source: Romance o f the Taj Mahal.
58. Aerial view of the Taj Mahal mausoleum.
Source: 501 Images of Taj Mahal - Rupinder Khullar, Page 41.
59. Flower from the Cenotaph screen. Shaik la tif.^. 1820.Detail of a page from an album
prepared for Robert Home. A g a c. 1820. Opaque water colour on paper, 14518 x 25718 in
(37.1x65.7 cm),The Ehrenfeld Collection.
Source: Romance of the Taj Mahal.
60. D e t d of pietra dura inlay work on the exterior of the Taj Mahal, Photo by Stephen Market.
Source: Romance of the Taj Mahal.
61. Inlay work in need of restoration.
Source: TMCC, c 2001
62. Taj Mahal, Colm Campbell Cooper, United States, early 20' C. Oil on Canvas. 43 x 36 /4' in.
(109.2 x 93.3 cm) S h e d Helene Seeley Henderson.
Source: Romance of the Taj Mahal.
63. The Taj Mahal complex and its precincts.
Source: Internet - Source unknown.
64. Dome atop Mehman Khanna
Source: TMCC. c 2001.




A list of the Publications referred to, for the preparation of this document:

Briefing Document for Expert Meeting, Conservation of the Taj Mahal,

25-28&September 2001, Delhi -Agra,
Taj Mahal Conservation Collaborative, 2001.

Background Document for Expert Meeting, Conservation of the Taj Mahal,

24-28&September 2002, Delhi -Aga,
Taj Mahal Conservation Collaborative, 2002.

Concept Papers on Taj Protection Mission.

l'rashant TXvedi, Vice Chairrnan A.D .A.,
Taj Trapezium Zone Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, Aga.

Stonehenge World Heritage Site, Management Plan

Chris BlandfordAssociates,
English Heritage, 2000.

Hadrian's Wall, World Heritage Site, Management Plan

English Heritage, 1996.

Taj Mahal, World Heritage Site Assessment Report,

Annabel Lope?
INTACI-1,June 1998.

The Moonlight Garden - New Discoveries at the Taj Mahal,

Ed ELxabeth Mqnihan,
Arthur M Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institute and University of Washington Press, Seattle
and London, 2000.

Taj Mahal - The Illumined Tomb

W.E. Begley and Z.A Desai,
Aga Khan Programme for Islarnic Architecture and University of Washington Press, Seattle
and London, 1989.

The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, No. 24 of 1958,
Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi.

International Charter for the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites,
The Venice Charter, Venice, 1964.

UNESCO World Heritage Convention,

Paris. 1972.

World Heritage Site Nomination Dossier,

Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi, 1982.


Nara Conference on Authenticity,
Nara, 1994.

Principles for the Recording of Monuments, groups of Buildings and Sites,

llthICOMOS General Assembly, Sofia, 1996.

Management Guidelines for World Cultural Heritage Sites,

Sir fiilden B.M. andJokilebto f.,
Rome, 1998.

Guidelines for Conservation, A Technical Manual.

Sir Feilden B.M.
INTACH, 1989.

The Australia ICOMOS Charter for Places of Cultural Significance,

The Burra Charter 1979, revisions 1981, 1988, 1999(rev.)

Historical Timeline,
Sbama T.,
T.M.C.C, New D e h , 2001.




Figure 1. Satellite image of Taj Mahal indicating Areas of intervention.

Source of the satellite image: \

Figure 2. Location map and trapezium.

Source: Taj Mahal, World Heritage Site Assessment Report, Annabel Lope?
INTACH, June 1998.

Figure 3. River front gardens.

Source: Agra Heritage Project, US National Park Service Report, 1994.

Figure4. Plan of the complex.

Source of base image: Archaeological Survey of India.

Figure5. Site inscribed and the buffer zone

Source: Taj Mahal, World Heritage Site Assessment Report, Annabel Lope3
INTACH, June 1998.

Figure 6. Pollution Data.

Source: Concept Papers on Taj Protection Mission. Prashant Thedi, Vice
Chairman A.D.A., Taj Trapezium Zone Pollution (Prevention and Control)
Authority, Agra.

Figure 7. Sample Of Measure Drawings.

Source: Measure Drawings, TMCC.

Figure 8. Sample Of The Building Fabric Survey

Source: Measure Drawings, TMCC.

Figure 9. Satellite image of the Taj Mahal complex indtcating the Area of Intervention for the
Landscape component.
Source of the satellite image: \ w v . s n a c e i m a ~ n ~ . c o m

Figure 10. Visitors' Circulation pattern

Tourists at the Taj Mahal by Tim Edensor.

Figure 11. Proposed Circulation and Visitor movement.

Source: Visitor Management Plan, TMCC.