Taj Mahal visits restricted to 3 hours per person


AGRA: One of India’s most famous landmarks, the Taj Mahal, is planning to place a three-hour cap on visits to avoid overcrowding at the popular tourist location, CNN reported.

The enormous white marble tomb, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, attracts nearly 50,000 visitors a day on the weekend, according to a spokesman for the Archaeological Survey of India, which oversees the Taj Mahal.

“Sometimes people end up spending a whole day at the Taj. This creates a situation where there are too many people,” the spokesman D N Dimri said.

“It is being implemented so that the movement of visitors can be regulated. Day by day, the number of visitors are increasing. This is to ensure no untoward incidents or accidents occur,” adding that no untoward incidents has occurred in the past due to overcrowding.

The Taj Mahal was built in the 17th century by Muslim Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to honor his third wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died while giving birth. It was completed in 1648.

Currently, it draws at least seven million visitors every year and was recently described by Tourism Minister Alphons Kannanthanam as “India’s pride.”

The cap will be effective April 1 and will apply to both local and international visitors, Dimri said.

The spokesman said there was no suggestion of a cap on the total number of visitors to the Taj Mahal at this stage, saying it would be wrong to deny people who had come from far away to visit the monument a ticket.

But he said there had been discussions on putting further limits on the “carrying capacity” of the Taj Mahal at a future stage, though he did not further reveal the details of this.


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