The Taj Mahal is all set to reopen its doors to night-time visitors. After almost a year, people will once again be able to view one of the “seven wonders of the world” in the moonlight starting 21 August.
The decision comes in the wake of the relaxation of COVID-19 norms in Uttar Pradesh.
The monument had been closed for night-time viewing since 17 March last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Archaeological Survey of India’s (ASI’s) Superintending Archaeologist (Agra Circle) Vasant Kumar Swarnkar, the Taj Mahal will be open for viewing on 21, 23, and 24 August. The monument will remain shut on Fridays.
Tourists can visit the iconic monument in three slots from 8:30 pm to 10 pm. Each group will have more than 50 tourists, in accordance with the Supreme Court guidelines.
The move is expected to help revive Agra’s tourism sector. However, Rajeev Saxena, vice-president of the Tourism Guild of Agra, said that the move might not attract many visitors as the Sunday lockdown and night curfew still remain. Saying that weekend travellers might not visit the mausoleum, Saxena added that “Tourists want to enjoy the nightlife of the city, they don’t want to be packed in their hotels after 10 pm”.
Before the pandemic, the Taj Mahal had been open for visitors from 6 am to 7 pm on weekdays. On Fridays, the complex was kept open for prayers at the mosque from 12 noon to 2 pm. Night-time tourists were allowed on the day of the full moon, along with two days before and after. The days excluded Friday and the month of Ramadan.