The Taj Mahal’s striking beauty and grandeur has made it a hotspot tourist destination. Awe-struck tourists spend hours admiring the stunning structure. However, a new rule will restrict tourists from spending too much time at Taj Mahal. Visits will be limited to only three hours, beyond which tourists will have to pay additional fees, reports Conde Nast Traveller.
Conversations surrounding this new time limit began in April but it has only been implemented now. In the past, tourists were allowed to spend time at the Taj Mahal from opening time (30 minutes before sunrise) to closing time (30 minutes before sunset).
New rules for tourists
The new restriction will ensure that a visitor enters the monument with a token that is only valid for three hours. If a tourist overstays, they will have to pay an amount equivalent to the cost of the ticket at the exit gate. The UNESCO World Heritage Site has also introduced seven turnstile gates at the east and west entry points.
Over the years, the number of tourists visiting the Taj Mahal has exponentially increased. According to the Archaeological Survey of India, it sees 35,000 to 40,000 visitors every day, with the numbers reaching 70,000 on weekends.
Over tourism has been a significant problem at the monument. The government has increased ticket prices from ₹50 to ₹250 for Indian visitors to combat overcrowding. Reports were rife that the Taj Mahal would set a cap of 40,000 visitors per day.
The Centre was called out by the Supreme Court for not taking enough initiative to preserve and protect the iconic monument. The court said,
“We are concerned at the change in the colour of the Taj Mahal. We don’t know whether you have or perhaps don’t have the expertise. Even if you have the expertise, you are not utilising it. Or perhaps you don’t care.”
Monuments across the world are taking action against overcrowding. In 2017, Angkor Wat, a temple in Cambodia doubled its ticket prices and restricted the number of people who could enter its top floor. And as of early 2019, tourists going to Machu Picchu in Peru can enter only during designated time slots.