Entry for tourists will be barred at the iconic Taj Mahal 10:30 am onwards on Monday in view of US President Donald Trump's visit. The authorities have issued an advisory for visitors to plan their trips accordingly in order to avoid inconvenience.
"Tourist entry to the Taj Mahal will not be allowed after 10:30 am on Monday due to VVIP movement. Meanwhile, borders of Agra will not be sealed with adjoining districts and to avoid inconvenience the tourist vehicles are also advised to be parked at their designated places" said Deputy Superintendent and Incharge of Taj Security and Tourism, Mohsin Khan.
PresidentTrump will arrive in Agra on Monday evening. He will be accompanied by ahigh-level delegation including First Lady Melania Trump, President's daughterIvanka Trump, son-in-law Jared Kushner and a galaxy of top US officials.
Inlight of the high-profile visit, the route from Agra airport to Taj Mahal isunder the scanner and the verification process for residents and shop owners onthe route has already been completed.
Aspart of preparations, 17 million liters of water have been released in theYamuna River, which flows in the background of the monument.
Officialfigures state that around seven million tourists visit the Taj Mahal everyyear. While the city is gearing to welcome the guests, the walls from theairport to the Taj Mahal have been painted with depictions of different facetsof the Indian culture. Pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Trump havealso been put up along with slogans like 'Radhe-Radhe Trump' and 'Jai ShreeKrishna Trump'.
Trumpand his family will be welcomed with a dance performance by 350 artists at theairport, said sources. As many as 3,000 dancers have also been roped in toperform at 16 spots on the route that leads to the mausoleum, while another 500artistes would dress up as Lord Krishna and Radha.
Meanwhile,thousands of school children with US-India flags will greet the couple on theirway to the Taj Mahal. The Agra Municipal Corporation is getting the wallsaround the Taj Mahal painted, while machines have been engaged to clean up theroads leading to the mausoleum. A massive police force will be deployed in additionto officials of the United States Secret Service.
The administration has also engaged hundreds of workers to clean the boards and hoardings, while repair work is being carried out on bumpy stretches.
Meanwhile, in a first, mudpack (using Multani mud or fullers earth) treatment is being given to the tombs of Mughal Emperor Shahjahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Officials of the Archaeological Survey of India are hoping to complete all the work by Sunday. The chandeliers above the graves of Shahjahan and Mumtaz are also being cleaned up, said sources.