Taj Mahal reopens: 5000 visitors to be allowed on day 1, masks mandatory
After months of closure, Taj Mahal re-opened for visitors on Monday with strict coronavirus safety guidelines.
After months of closure, Taj Mahal re-opened for visitors on Monday with strict coronavirus safety guidelines. All safety guidelines issued by the centre will have to be followed while visiting the mausoleum and the fort, which include social distancing and sanitising of hands, Vasant Kumar Swarnkar, superintending archaeologist of the Archaeological Survey of India (Agra circle), had said in a statement.
On day 1, a total of 5000 tourists will be allowed at the Taj – 2500 before 2 pm and others after that. Notably, ticket counters will remain closed and those planning to visit the monument will have to purchase tickets online.
"Masks are mandatory to enter the monuments and all tickets must be purchased online. Ticket counters will not be open," Swarnkar said.
The monument has been shut for tourists for over six months. The Agra Fort too reopened today. Both world heritage sites were closed since March 17 due to the pandemic. At Agra Fort, 2,500 tourists will be allowed every day, he said.
The Taj Mahal attracts seven million visitors each year with a large number of foreign tourists. The Agra Fort has nearly three million visitors in a year. The many monuments contribute massively to the revenue of Uttar Pradesh.
Tourism industry leaders have welcomed the decision to reopen monuments as the tourist season is about to start, usually from September 27, which is observed as the Tourism Day. Agra, the city with three world heritage monuments, annually receives more than seven million tourists.
"It's incredible and historical at the same time. This is the first time ever that Taj was shut for six months. We are here to witness the change. The new normal has to be expected and adopted for our good. I have come with my family, stood in the queue, got digital tickets, and all set to see Taj," Nishant Vasisht, a visitor, told news agency ANI.
The move to reopen the heritage sites came as more relaxations kicked in after the government announced Unlock4, even though coronavirus cases in the country are on a steep rise.
Uttar Pradesh is the fifth most-affected state in the country with over 3.48 lakh COVID-19 cases.
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