The Taj Mahal, among the famous seven wonders of the world, nestled in the city of Agra, forever beckons with its magnificent beauty and calls upon visitors from across the world! However, as tempted as you can be for exploring the splendid monument, keep a close check on your watch as well because you will need to pay a fine for spending more than three hours at the Taj Mahal. According to a recent ANI report, visitors will now be charged an additional fee for spending more than three hours at the monument, as a circular implementing the three-hour limit has come into force. In order to prevent unauthorised entry at the Taj Mahal, turnstile gates have been introduced at the entry and exit points.
Basant Kumar, Superintendent, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) was quoted saying in the report that as many as seven turnstile gates have been installed at both the east as well as west entry points and five gates are for the exit. For the entry of foreign tourists, separate gates have been set up. He stated that the entry is only through tokens which are valid for three hours, exceeding which, visitors are required to recharge it at the counter, present at the exit gates.
Earlier, visitors were allowed to stay at the Taj Mahal from morning till the evening, that is, from the opening time, which is 30 minutes before sunrise to the closing time, which is 30 minutes before sunset. According to the report, tourists are upset with the new rules, asserting that it will begin to cost heavily on tourism. Mohammad Mustafa Hussain, a tourist from Hyderabad, was quoted in the report saying that people visit the place for relaxation and to spend time, but if the sightseeing is limited to three hours and the charges are high then people will think twice before coming to the monument. Another tourist complained that this will discourage tourism and the time slot must be increased. A female tourist who came to visit the monument from the United States was quoted saying that the tickets are almost 10 times costlier for the foreign tourists as compared to Indians.
Additionally, the Supreme Court in the month of February slammed the Uttar Pradesh (UP) government for the poor maintenance of the Taj Mahal and directed to preserve the monument seriously. In the month of July last year, the UP government had submitted its draft vision document to the court on the restoration of Taj Mahal and assured that it will take several measures for preserving the historical treasure.