After Hiking Visit Fee, UP Limits Number Of Hours You Can Spend At Taj Mahal
After raising the entry fee for the 17-century monument built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal in February this year, the Uttar Pradesh government has now set a timelimit for visitors — you could stay in the premises only for three hours after bying the ticket. Earlier, the state government had announced its plan to charge a fee of Rs 200 for a visit to the main mausoleum of the heritage site.
What is the state doing to protect the Taj?
On February 13, the state government announced its plan to charge Rs 200 charge for those wishing to see the main mausoleum of the heritage site—currently, there is no separate fee for entry to the main mausoleum, where lie the graves of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. The entry fee has been raised to Rs 50 from Rs 40. The decision comes into effect from April 1.
According to the UP Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma, the move will help "preserve the Taj Mahal", and be instrumental in better crowd management.
According to the minister, the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute had recommended reduction in footfall for the protection of the Taj.
Since foreign visitors have to pay Rs 1,250 for an entry into the Taj, special arrangements have been made for them now. They will have separate queues and separate toilets. Also, a corridor will be built for them from the Agra railway station to the Taj to ensure easy transit.
Steps are also being taken to ensure travellers are not subjected to harassment in the hands of touts. In the words of the minister himself, tourists, domestic as well as foreign, “are ambushed at the railway station itself and the harassment continues during their stay in the city”.
"We are exploring how we can bring this culture of touts to an end by bringing them under the ambit of serious offences and organised crime so that they can be booked accordingly… These touts are a menace," the minister said.
The railway station is also notorious for the squalor all around it.
“UP has a rich cultural history and many world-renowned tourist spots. But, assuming that people would jump right outside of, say, the Taj Mahal without noticing the squalor and dirt at the Agra Railway Station would be delusional,” Abha Narain Lambah, a conservation architect and head of Abha Narain Lambah Associates, had told the author of the article in an earlier interview.