In a major turn of events, the government has withdrawn the reopening of the Taj Mahal despite the reopening of 820 ASI-protected monuments on Monday.
However, in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and with several increasing COVID-19 cases detected in Agra, the district authorities have decided to reschedule the opening of the iconic monument, “In the interest of the public, it has been decided that opening monuments in Agra will not be advisable as of now”. Local authorities issued a new advisory late on Sunday ordering an extension of lockdown curbs on all monuments in and around Agra including Fatehpur Sikri and Agra Fort.
Union Culture Minister Prahlad Patel on Thursday said his ministry has given the go-ahead for all such monuments to welcome visitors from July 6.
There are more than 3,000 monuments under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), including the Khajuraho temple, Sanchi Stupa, Red Fort and Qutb Minar. The minister said the monuments will be opened in “compliance of the state and district administration”.
All Centrally protected monuments and sites shall be bound by the protocol issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, as also any specific orders of the state and/or District administration.
In this connection, the number of visitors for Taj Mahal has been restricted to 5,000 a day (in two slots), while that of other popular monuments is between 1,000 and 1,500.