Visitors to pay ₹200 more to see main mausoleum at Taj Mahal
Domestic visitors will have to pay ₹250 and foreign visitors ₹1,300 to see the main mausoleum at the 17th-century monument
Those wanting to see the main mausoleum at the Taj Mahal will need to buy an additional ticket of ₹200 from Monday, December 10. In a discriminatory move, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) enforced a new ticketing system for the Taj Mahal, aimed at reducing increasing human impact on the fragile 17th century white marble marvel.
Vasant Swarnakar, Archaeological Survey of India's chief archaeologist in Agra, said domestic visitors will have to pay ₹250 and foreign visitors ₹1,300 to see the main mausoleum at the 17th-century monument.
The visitors from SAARC countries will have to pay ₹740 instead of ₹540.
The new ticketing system will help reduce the human load on the main structure.
Visitors who buy the ₹50 ticket would not be allowed to enter the main mausoleum, but would be able to move around the Taj and see the rear side, the Yamuna river front at the back.
The Taj Mahal is considered one of the finest specimen of the Mughal architecture.
In 1983, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was cited as "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage."
The ministry has also proposed to introduce a duration of three hours for visitors’ stay inside the Taj premises to check crowding, after the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) said that footfall must be controlled to protect integrity of the Taj Mahal
The entry fee hike, will be applicable for domestic visitors only and not foreign tourists, said Union Minister for Culture Mahesh Sharma at a press conference.
"We don't intend to increase or add revenue to our kitty from the entry fee hike. But the restoration work has to continue for protecting the monument... The step aims to ensure protection of the built fabric and better crowd management," Sharma said.
The ministry has also proposed to introduce a duration of three hours for visitors' stay inside the Taj premises to check crowding, after the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) said that footfall must be controlled to protect integrity of the Taj Mahal. To check misuse of tickets, the new tickets would have barcoding, he said.
The Minister informed that the Tourism Ministry, Agra Development Authority and the local police had also joined hands to tackle the "lapka culture" (touts catching hold of the visitors) and such conduct would be considered a crime.
"Strict action will be taken against people involved in such activity. The step is to ensure safety of women visitors, especially foreign tourists, as many cases have been reported where guides have tried to misbehave with them," he pointed out.