Soon, you’ll have to pay Rs 200 extra for entry to Taj Mahal’s main mausoleum
This was conveyed by Archeological Survey of India (ASI) director general Usha Sharma in a meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday. Various issues related to the Taj Mahal were discussed at the meeting with the Agra ASI, district administration and CISF officials.
Last month, the Union culture ministry had increased the entry fee to the Taj Mahal. Beginning August 8, entry tickets to the Taj Mahal were hiked from Rs 1000 to Rs 1100 for foreign tourists and from Rs 40 Rs 50 for domestic tourists. For tourists from SAARC countries, the ticket cost was increased to Rs 540, including Rs 500 toll tax charged by Agra Development Authority (ADA).
The idea to introduce “step ticketing”, where separate entry tickets will be issued for entering the crypt area was suggested as a “crowd management” measure in a meeting of the officials of ASI and the Union ministry of culture and tourism on January 2 this year in New Delhi. The tickets will have to be bought in addition to the entry tickets.
“We need to preserve the Taj Mahal for the generations to come. A separate ticket of Rs 200 will be needed to enter into the main mausoleum at the Taj Mahal to ensure the protection of the area and better crowd management,” culture minister Mahesh Sharma had said in February.
A recent report by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), which had conducted a study on Taj’s load-bearing capacity, had recommended immediate steps to reduce the number of footfalls into the mausoleum to protect its integrity.
Later in July, the Supreme Court slammed the Uttar Pradesh government for filing a draft report of the vision document on protection and preservation of the Taj Mahal without consulting the ASI, which is responsible for protection of the 17th century monument.
The top court also asked the state government to supply the draft report to a panel of conservation experts, including INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage), for their comments.
(This article was originally published in The Times of India)