After remaining closed for over a year for night viewing, the Taj Mahal will open from August 21 for visitors who want to explore the marble monument under moonlight, officials said on Friday.
Night viewing of the monument had closed on March 17, 2020 during the first lockdown due to COVID-19.
ASI Superintending Archaeologist (Agra Circle) Vasant Kumar Swarnkar told PTI that night viewing will be allowed on August 21, 23 and 24 as the monument is closed every week on Friday and the lockdown is in effect on Sunday.
He said there are three-time slots for visitors. From 8:30-9:00 pm, 9:00-9:30 pm and from 9:30-10:00 pm.
"In every slot, 50 tourists would be allowed as per guidelines of the Supreme Court," he added.
"The tickets can be booked a day in advance from ASI office's counter on 22 Mall Road in Agra," Kumar said.
Rajeev Saxena, vice-president of the Tourism Guild of Agra, said it was a good step, but it would not attract weekend travellers until the restriction of lockdown on Sunday and curfew after 10 pm was not lifted.
"Tourists want to enjoy nightlife of the city, they don't want to be packed in their hotels after 10:00 pm," he said.
A government-approved tour guide, Monika Sharma, appreciated the move and said it was a ray of hope for the revival of Agra's tourism sector.