Agra, Dec 10: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on Monday enforced a new ticketing system for the Taj Mahal, aimed at reducing increasing human impact on the fragile 17th-century white marble marvel.
Vasant Kumar Swarnkaar, the ASI chief in Agra, said the new ticketing system came into effect from Monday morning.
According to the ASI, visitors will now have to shell out an extra Rs 200 to enter the main mausoleum with the graves of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Earlier, the domestic tourists were initially paying only Rs 50 only.
Now, the visitors who buy the Rs. 50 ticket would not be allowed to enter the main mausoleum, but would be able to move around the Taj and see the rear side, the Yamuna river front at the back.
Foreign visitors will also need to buy the Rs 200 ticket in addition to the Rs 1,100 entrance fee.
The visitors from SAARC countries will have to pay Rs. 740 instead of Rs. 540.
The National Environmental Engineering Research Institute had originally suggested two tickets, to help reduce the number of visitors to the main structure.
The tourism industry has not appreciated the increase, fearing this step could hit arrivals.
The Taj Mahal is considered one of the finest specimen of the Mughal architecture.
In 1983, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was cited as “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage.”