Only 650 will be allowed to enter the Taj Mahal at a time when the monument reopens for visitors on Wednesday, officials said. All centrally protected monuments, museums and sites closed for around two months due to the Covid pandemic will reopen on June 16, an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) order issued on Monday said.
While 650 tourists will be allowed inside the Taj Mahal premises at one point of time so that COVID-19 protocols are followed, such restrictions will not be in place for other monuments, Agra District Magistrate Prabhu N Singh said on Tuesday.
Superintending Archaeologist, ASI, Agra Circle, Vasant Kumar Swarnakar told PTI that the monument premises will be sanitised three times a day.
"Masks will be mandatory for tourists. Thermal screening of tourists would be done at the gates and they would be sanitised before entering the monument premises," he added.
"The visitors would not be allowed to touch any object on the monument premises and they would have to follow social distancing norms," said Swarnakar.
The entry in the monument will be allowed only via online tickets and no one will be allowed to enter sans masks, says Archaeological Survey of India's superintending archaeologist (Agra circle) Vasant Kumar Swarnkar.
"Tickets will only be booked online and no ticket counter will open," he said while advising tourists to bring their own water bottles and carry sanitisers.
The marble mausoleum – one of the "New Seven Wonders of the World" – took more than 20 years to build, eventually opening in 1653.
On Sunday, the region recorded 468 new cases – compared with the peak in daily infections of more than 36,000 in April. The Taj Mahal's closure for more than 200 days in the space of a year has ruined businesses reliant on the tourist trade. In an order on April 15, the ASI had shut these monuments till May 31.