Union Minister of Culture Mahesh Sharma said not all visitors are interested the mausoleum, hence a special ticket for those who are keen
A new barcoded ticket of Rs 50 will allow entry of tourists to the 17th century Monument of Love, the Taj Mahal. Over one lakh tourists visit the monument per annum.
In his post budget address, Addressing Union Minister of Culture Mahesh Sharma has said, “We need to preserve the Taj Mahal for the generations to come. New ‘bar-coded’ tickets would cost Rs 50 and it would be valid only for three hours.” It has been observed that not all tourists want to go inside the mausoleum. Those who are interested will have to buy the special ticket for Rs 200. The idea for this ticket is not to make money but to ensure the protection of the building’s fabric and better crowd management.”
The recommendations of the NEERI (National Environmental Engineering Research Institute) report have been kept in mind, while taking this decision. NEERI had conducted a study on Taj’s load-bearing capacity, had recommended immediate steps to reduce the number of footfalls into the mausoleum to protect its integrity.
The Supreme Court recently directed the Uttar Pradesh government to submit a vision document on the preservation of the monument.
Taj Mahal witnesses a mammoth footfall of 1 lakh tourists in a day and the government does not want to cap the number of visitors but is favouring visitor “regulation”.
“With the regulation proposal, the government plans to limit visiting time to three hours for every visitor and if the visitor crosses that time limit he will have to pay an extra amount,” said Sharma.
The ministry also plans to open up Shahjahan’s Mehtab Bagh for night viewing of the Taj Mahal from the opposite bank.
There are also plans to introduce special facilities for high value ticket holders. Sharma said the ministry had taken special steps to ensure the comfort for foreign tourists who pay Rs 1,250 for entry into the Taj Mahal.
He said separate queues, separate toilets, and a safe corridor will be built for them from the Agra railway station to the Taj in collaboration with the Ministry of Aviation and Road Transport Ministry.
In the Budget allocation for the Ministry of Culture, there has been an increase of 3.82% in funds for 2018-19. The Ministry of Culture’s allocation for 2018-19 has been increased by Rs 104 crore to Rs 2,843 crore.