AGRA – The government of Uttar Pradesh state, in northern Indian, has decided to introduce a Rs200 charge for tourists wishing to see the main mausoleum of Taj Mahal which dates back to 16th century.
As of now, there is no separate fee for entry to the section, where the graves of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal lie.
“A separate ticket of Rs 200 will be needed to enter into the main mausoleum at the Taj Mahal to ensure the protection of the area and better crowd management.”
Also, from April 1, visitors will pay more for entry into the UNSECO heritage site, which attracts millions of tourists to Agra every year. New ‘barcoded’ tickets would cost Rs 50 instead of the earlier Rs 40 and it would be valid only for three hours, according to the state’s culture minister.
“We need to preserve the Taj Mahal for generations to come,” said Mahesh Sharma, the Hindustan Times reported.
The changes have been effected to “preserve the Taj Mahal” and for better crowd management, the minister said at a media briefing.
Foreign tourists pay Rs1,250 for entry into the Taj – one of the seven wonders of the world.
Just last week, New Delhi and the Uttar Pradesh were criticised by the country’s supreme court for not protecting the Taj Mahal, which was commissioned in 1632 by Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
The monument was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 as “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage”.