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Sunday, May 28, 2023

Taj Mahal Reopens: Six Months Later, Waiting for the Taj Mahal is over, the Tourists Arrive.

Taj Mahal, the seventeenth-century compositional wonder, closed since March 17 because of the Covid-19 pandemic, opened for people in general on Monday. Around 160 tickets were reserved on the web; however, the first to enter was a vacationer from Taiwan remaining in India. 

A limit of 5,000 guests will be permitted in two movements for each day into the landmark, which will be a welcome blessing with its very much manicured gardens. 

Authorities at the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) said they had not ignored the landmark despite its doors having stayed shut for such a long time. 

Secure Covid-19 law will be followed for checking travelers. There will be no window ticket deal; guests can examine the code to buy tickets or book online through the ASI site or the portable application. 

Very few paid Rs 200 to visit the principal tomb; however, they showed up more substance taking photographs of the landmark and clicking themselves on the ‘Diana seat.’

“Gardens were kept up all through these a half year, and we are good to go for the Taj reopening from September 21 – from dawn to dusk. All would experience a warm check, and they would be given a sanitizer,” said A Gupta, protection colleague, ASI at Taj Mahal.

Gupta said not more than five visitors will be allowed at a time within the main mausoleum, which houses the graves of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Taj Mahal will remain closed on Fridays,” said Agra district magistrate Prabhu N Singh.  

Vasant Swarnkar, the superintending archaeologist for ASI’s Agra circle, said, “The Taj Mahal will have visitors in two slots — pre-lunch and post-lunch. In each slot, there would be a maximum of 2,500 visitors. Once tickets for the first slot are sold, tickets will be issued for the second slot. In a day, a maximum of 5,000 visitors can visit the Taj Mahal.”  

Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) jawans will remain at a distance and check visitors with hand-held metal detectors.

While no goods are to be carried inside the Taj Mahal, an ambulance would be ready at the gates, Gupta said.  

Taj reopening has excited all those who make a living in and around the monument. For instance, Munawwar Ali, 50, began cleaning items at his marble goods shop on Sunday for the first time since March 16.  

“We have called the staff on Monday after six months. We expect business to be slow, but at least we will see tourists going to the Taj,” said Ali, who has a shop adjoining the western gate of the monument.  

‘Yes, we are excited about the reopening of the Taj after such a long duration. A day will come when international flights will resume. In the beginning, domestic tourists from nearby regions would come,” said Rajiv Tiwari, president of the Federation of Travel Association of Agra.

“ASI needs to follow the Covid-19 protocol so that all goes smoothly. The government should begin thinking about restarting international flights as European nations have resumed tourism. We have to live with the coronavirus,” Tiwari added.  

Indians will have to pay Rs 50 per ticket for visiting the Taj Mahal and shell out Rs 200 more for entering the central mausoleum. It was mostly foreign tourists who used to pay extra to enter the central mausoleum during regular days.

“It is perhaps for the first time that the ‘monument of love,’ which attracts a large number of tourists to India, had been closed for such a long time,” said Arun Dang, former president of Tourism Guild.  

“This is unprecedented. Though the monument was closed during the Second World War and also during two wars with Pakistan in 1965 and 1971, the closure had not been so long,” said Dang.  

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