Taj Mahal reopens to the public this month

Posted by Kirsten on 11 September 2020

The iconic Taj Mahal in Agra, India will reopen to the public from September 21 after being closed for six months amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The popular tourist attraction was scheduled to reopen in early July, but was postponed a day before its reopening due to a spike in cases in Agra.

The famed monument will open under strict regulations. Image credit: Pexels

From September 21, tourists may enter the grand monument once again although there will be a host of regulations in place.

Visitors will use e-tickets and must pay digitally. Strict social distancing guidelines will be in place. Group photos and crowds will be limited. Officials will also carry out health checks and ensure all visitors are wearing masks at all times. The monument will be regularly sanitised.

Only 5,000. visitors will be allowed per day, with 2,500 visitors each in two slots reports CNN. This is a far cry from the tens of thousands of visitors the monument is used to receiving.

‘Before the lockdown, the monument had 70,000 visitors on the weekends and about 40,000 on a weekday, but we have to restrict visitors to contain the spread of coronavirus,’ Vasant Swarnkar, superintendent archaeologist with the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) in Agra told CNN.

Its reopening has been controversial, as the vast nation is currently battling a massive surge in coronavirus infections. India recently overtook Brazil and now has the second most confirmed total COVID-19 infections globally after the United States. Thus far, the country has recorded over 4.4 million cases, and has been reporting the highest single-day infection rate in the world since August.

Northern Indian state Utter Pradesh, where the city of Agra and the Taj Mahal are located, has been among the hardest hit by the virus. Despite this, the country is pushing ahead with reopening the tourism sector to support its severely weakened economy.

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