Rules to be followed while visiting Monuments across India
All monuments across India, including Agra’s Taj Mahal and Delhi’s Red Fort and Humayun’s Tomb, will reopen for the public from July 6, 2020. The Archaeological Survey of India had shut down nearly 3691 monuments and historical sites on March 17 in the wake of corona virus. Now the monuments are opening their doors again, after a gap of about three and a half months. People visiting these monuments will have to strictly adhere to the protocols of safety and social distancing issued by the Union health ministry.
The Ministry of Home Affairs had permitted opening of shopping malls, hotels and places of worship from June 8, 2020. Following the guidelines of the Center, the culture ministry had opened up around 820 religious places under Archaeological Survey of India. The rest of the monuments can now finally reopen, but the government has said that the states can decide whether to keep them closed, depending on the corona virus situation.
To give a momentum to tourism, which had been badly hit due to the Covid-19 scourge, local hoteliers have demanded resumption of flights to Agra, starting international flights and connecting Agra with important destinations within the country. The tourist season generally starts in the last week of September.
Right now all big hotels are carrying out maintenance and repair work. The properties have been sanitized and hygiene standards upgraded to meet international requirements.
Akhilesh Dubey, a tourism industry captain, who had demanded that the monuments be opened as people were suffering economic hardships due to the four month-closure, said “it will not be risky, provided they frame SOPs, fix the number of visitors. When airports, malls, hotels can reopen, why not monuments. Agra remains a favorite weekend destination for the domestic visitors. People come to Agra by taxis and private cars. The reopening will create confidence among stakeholders and boost tourism.
The Taj Mahal is annually visited by over seven million tourists. Entry to children below 15 is free. On the recommendation of the Dr. S. Vardarajan Committee, the Supreme Court allowed the Taj Mahal to enjoy a weekly holiday on Friday.
Guidelines for Reopening Monuments
The Center has issued some precautionary guidelines for the reopening of museums and monuments under Archaeological Survey of India. The rules are as follows:
- Only the monuments and museums in the non-containment zones can reopen.
- There will be a cap on the number of visitors for each monument. For example, Taj Mahal will allow entry of only 2500 visitors. Red Fort and Qutub Minar will accept 3000 visitors in two slot, with 1500 people in each slot. Purana Qila and Humayun’s Tomb can have 2000 visitors per day, with 1000 people in each slot.
- People can book tickets only online. No physical tickets will be issued. Also, the cafeteria and parking inside the monuments will accept only digital payments.
- Downloading Aarogya Setu app is mandatory.
- Every visitor must wear masks and maintain social distancing from others.
- The entry points will have hand sanitizers and thermal screening provisions.
- There will be separate entry and exit routes to ensure social distancing.
- Archaeological Survey of India can restrict access to the interior and vulnerable areas of the monuments.
- The authorities will not allow group photography within the monument premises
- All light and sound shows will remain suspended until further notice.
- Security personnel inside the monuments will ensure that there is no overcrowding.
- Only Guides and photographers with valid licences can work inside the monuments.
- Cafeterias will serve only bottled water. No eatables will be allowed in the monument premises.
- On Friday, Taj Mahal will be closed.