Taj Mahal, one of the finest artworks of the Mughal era, is in more danger than ever. After the Supreme Court order to protect the monument came in 1996, there is now news that to reduce the visiting load and hopefully provide proper maintenance and measures, the price of the tickets will be upped.
Starting from Monday, visitors wanting to see the main mausoleum at the Taj Mahal will need to buy an additional ticket of Rs 200. Vasant Swarnakar, Archaeological Survey of India's chief archaeologist in Agra, said domestic visitors will have to pay Rs 250 and foreign visitors Rs 1,300 to see the main mausoleum at the 17th-century monument.
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The visitors from SAARC countries will have to pay Rs 740 instead of Rs 540.
The new ticketing system was strategized so that the human load on the main structure will be reduced. After all, visitors are among the biggest contributing factor in the destruction of this architectural marvel. We have seen tourists through some bribing go inside the crypt to get the view of the Taj's precious stone which is in itself a punishable offence, plus the river Yamuna and its over-population of insects, algae and other weeds that pose threat to Taj Mahal.
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According to this new ticketing system, visitors who buy the Rs 50 ticket would not be allowed to enter the main mausoleum, but would be able to move around the Taj and see the rear side, the Yamuna riverfront at the back.
In 1983, the Taj Mahal became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was cited as "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage."