After 188 days of closure, the Taj Mahal finally opened its doors for the tourists. The local businesses and local government officials have been constantly asking the government to open the Taj for the tourists. The constant requests were made because a huge chunk of the local businesses located near the Taj is dependent on tourism for their livelihood.
The city of Agra has been one of the worst places to get hit by the COVID-19 infection. The government decided to impose the lockdown from March 17 of this year to contain the spread of the virus.
Today, some of the first visitors entered the Taj Mahal gates while wearing masks and observing social distancing measures. All entry tickets and payments for the Taj were done online. The facilities of the Taj were sanitized and the instructions for safety were announced to every visitor.
The visitors were happy to be the first ones to visit the Taj after it was closed. Most of the tourists showed their excitement as they were very eager to visit the monument. The general atmosphere among the locals was very positive after the opening of the Taj Mahal. The opening of the monument has been a positive sign for the revival of their businesses.
Many tourist guides, photographers, and local shops selling souvenirs were seen interacting with the tourists with their shops open. According to the locals, businesses will benefit from a steady increase in the number of incoming tourists.
Along with the Taj, the Agra Fort and other religious sites have been officially announced as open since Monday. However, the emporiums are still closed until further notice.
According to the safety protocols, the maximum number of tourists allowed inside the Taj would be 5,000 per day. And the maximum capacity for Agra Fort is 2500 visitors per day. All tourists will be going through several thermal screenings before entering the monuments. People who have no symptoms will be allowed to enter the premises of Taj and Agra Fort.
The number of new COVID cases continue to rise in the city of Agra and the whole of India. It is fear that India will soon overtake the US in the total number of active COVID cases. This might result in the further lockdown of the popular tourist destinations.
The following news report from India Today shows the opening of the Taj Mahal after 6 months of closure.