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According to India Today, authorities at the Taj Mahal, arguably one of the most popular tourist sites in India and the world, will be charging additional fees to visitors who stay at the famous mausoleum longer than three hours.
Over the last few years, the Unesco World Heritage site has implemented a few new rules in order to fight overcrowding and injuries, as well as help preserve the delicate, ancient site from wear and tear. In 2018, authorities decided to limit the number of visitors allowed on the premises per day to 40,000. In the same year, authorities raised prices from 50 rupees to 250 rupees for Indian citizens (about 72 cents USD to around $3.60 USD) and from around $16 to $19 for international visitors (1,300 rupees if you want to visit the main mausoleum).
But there is free WiFi at the Taj Mahal, so there’s that.
In order to keep tabs on visitors coming and going to the site, there have been seven turnstile gates installed at both the east and west entry points, five of which are exit-only, according to India Today.
Vasant Swarakar, the superintending archaeologist, told the Times of India how the new sytem would work.
“If tourists exceed their time limit of three hours, they will be charged an extra amount equivalent to the ticket, which will have to be paid at the exit gate,” said Swarakar. “Entry time will also be enforced and if tourists don’t arrive at the slotted time, they will not be allowed entry and will have to buy a new ticket.”
Many tourists have voiced their annoyance with the new fees, especially international tourists who must pay far more than locals for the same amount of time spent at the site, according to India Today.
“A person comes here for relaxation and to spend some time. If the sightseeing is limited to three hours and the charges are so much then anyone will think twice before coming here,” said tourist Mohammad Mustafa Hussain, according to India Today.
However, there are lots of other amazing things to see in Agra and Uttar Pradeshbesides the Taj Mahal, so don’t think you need to spend all of your time there. Even if you’re only visiting the mausoleum for a short part, you can find other things to do to make the rest of the day just as interesting.