New Year celebrations at Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal tourist cap per day raised to 15,000 due to huge demand for tickets Agra administration has increased the daily limit on the number of visitors to the iconic Taj Mahal to 15,000. Earlier, only 10,000 visitors were allowed to visit the Taj Mahal in Agra due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the Agra administration on Monday increased the number of daily visitors allowed for the Taj Mahal due to the increased demand for tickets for New Year’s celebrations.

Meanwhile, the number of daily visitors for Agra Fort has also been increased from 400 to 7,500. Agra District Magistrate Prabhu N Singh told, that the new capping on tourists has been made effective from December 28 for Taj Mahal and Agra Fort while the limit on visitors for other monuments will remain the same. The tickets will only be sold online and monument ticket counters will remain closed.

Agra Tourist Welfare Chamber Secretary Vishal Sharma said that the Taj Mahal reopened on September 21 after remaining closed for 188 days due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The limit on tourists at that time was fixed at 5,000 for the Taj Mahal and 2,500 for Agra Fort and other monuments. On December 18, the right to fix the capping on the number of tourists was passed on to the local administration by the Archaeological Survey of India.

The District Magistrate fixed it at 10,000 tourists for the Taj Mahal. However, the 10,000 limits got exhausted by the afternoon and the rest of the tourists had to go back without viewing the Taj Mahal. Consequently, the local administration paid heed to the demand of the tourism industry and raised this limit to 15,000 at Taj Mahal and 7,500 at the Agra Fort.

Despite the increased number of tickets, all 15,000 tickets were sold by 10 am on Monday and huge crowds are expected to continue for a few more days due to the New Year celebrations. Hotel and Restaurants Association President Rakesh Chauhan told IndiaToday, that the Taj Mahal tickets are being openly sold in the black market for as high as Rs 300 per ticket.

On Sunday, although all 10,000 tickets had been sold, only 9,668 tourists actually came, while on the Agra Fort only 4,839 tourists arrived. A total of 1,460 visitors were recorded at In Fatehpur Sikri and at Rambagh it was 174, at Sikandra it was 991 and 718 tourists at Mehtab Bagh, Itmad ud Daulah saw 311 tourists turn up while Mariam’s Tomb saw only 47 tourists.

Agra Approved Guides Association president Shamshuddin said it is “very odd that despite the increased capping on the number of tourists, the problem of no ticket availability continues”.”The benefit of the increased capping is not reaching the tourists due to the black marketing of tickets, which should be stopped,” Shamshuddin said.

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