ASI may impose limit on Taj Mahal tourists

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Steps leading to the monument worn out

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) may soon impose a limit on the number of tourists visiting the Taj Mahal.

A proposal to this effect is under consideration to minimise the damage caused to the monument of love by the increasing number of tourists. According to ASI sources, the average footfall at the Taj Mahal has increased at a rate of 10 to 15 per cent per annum. In 2013 alone, over 58 lakh persons visited the marble wonder.

A senior ASI official said that the steps leading to the main platform of the Taj Mahal have completely worn out due to huge tourist inflow. Besides, the constant movement has also left foot and hand prints on marble stones. The ASI has commissioned the National Environmen-tal Engineering and Research Institute to prepare a report on the monument’s load-bearing capacity.

While commissioning the research, the ASI had put forth three proposals of step ticketing which include issuing another ticket inside the monument to enter the mausoleum, prohibiting entry to graves of the royal couple and limiting visitors’ access the main platform of the monument. The proposal, meanwhile, has already started drawing protests from local travel and tour operators.

R.K. Bishnoi, a local tour operator said that the restrictions on entry would jeopardise their business and foreign tourists would shy away from coming to Agra.

“If the number of tourists is restricted on a daily basis, both domestic and foreign tourists will face problems in sticking to their travel itinerary and tourism business will be adversely affected,” he said and added that travel and tour operators would shortly convene a meeting and sent their petition to the ASI as well as the centre and state governments.

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