In an attempt to ensure better crowd-management and adhere to the carrying capacity of the structure, the government has decided to cap the number of tourists visiting the iconic Taj Mahal. New measures include capping tourist numbers to 30000 a day, besides making the ticket valid only for a period of three hours. Up till now, no restriction was placed on the duration of the visit.
As per the news agency PTI, cultural secretary Ravindra Singh recently held a meeting with the top brass of ASI and representatives of Agra administration and Central Industrial Security Force where these measures were mooted.
Taj Mahal, a 17th century monument and a UNESCO world-heritage site, has remained a top draw for several years, especially among international tourists. Tourist numbers often exceed 60000 a day on weekends and other occasions of festivities, therefore creating challenges for law enforcement in managing the throngs of visitors. Tourist numbers have only grown steadily over the years, at an annual rate of over ten percent, further exacerbating the situation. Several experts, in the past years, have pointed out at the threats of over exposure and advocated for adhering to the carrying capacity of the monument. Also, in 2012, the ASI had commissioned the National Environmental Engineering and Research Institute (NEERI) to study the load-bearing capacity of the structure and the decision to limit footfalls is based on the recommendations made by NEERI.
Once enforced, these measures are likely to add to the ease of tourists, making the entire experience of visiting the structure a less crowded one, also protecting the crown-jewel of India’s tourism for posterity.