Taj Mahal and several other monuments which were closed for two months due to the raging second wave of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic are set to reopen from today, as the number of new coronavirus infections continues to decline. The famed marvel of love was first closed on March 17 last year during the first wave of the pandemic. It reopened on September 21, 2020 with several restrictions.
District Magistrate Prabhu Narain Singh said 650 tourists with online bookings will be allowed a day to visit the white marble Taj Mahal from Wednesday. Temperatures will be checked at the gates, face masks must be worn and social distancing norms must be observed. Teams will be deployed to monitor the crowd at all times, he added.
Taj Mahal will be sanitized three times a day, superintending archaeologist, ASI, Agra Circle, Vasant Kumar Swarnakar said on Tuesday.
Only online booking will be allowed and no ticket counter on the premises will be open, Swarnakar said.
The monument was closed on 16 April amidst a surge of new infections in India.
The Health Ministry on Wednesday reported 62,224 new infections in the past 24 hours, which is down from a peak of more than 400,000 new infections a day in April.
It also reported 2,542 deaths in the past 24 hours, raising total fatalities to 379,573. Both figures are believed to be vast undercounts.
The city of Agra, where the Taj Mahal is located, reported 10 new infections on Tuesday, down from a peak of 500 a day in April.
On Monday, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) issued an order where it allowed all centrally protected monuments, museums, and sites to re-open from June 16. With this, a total of 3,693 monuments and 50 museums will open across the country.
“Today @MinOfCultureGoI has given approval to @ASIGoI to duly open all the monuments of India from 16 June 2021. Tourists can visit the monuments following Covid rules. Good luck to all,” minister of the state of culture and tourism, Prahlad Singh Patel tweeted on Monday.
In New Delhi, authorities are reopening shops, malls, and restaurants this week. Restrictions also have been eased in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, and other cities with a drop in new infections.
Authorities are still warning people to wear face masks and maintain a safe distance.