Agra’s Taj Mahal was opened to tourists on Monday after 188 days of its COVID-19-led closure.
The Taj Mahal and Agra Fort were closed to tourists from March 17 amid the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.
With a Delhi resident entering the 17th-century ivory-white marble monument on the southern bank of the Yamuna from its western gate and a Chinese woman from its eastern gate, the duo became the first visitors to the monument after its reopening.
Chinese tourist described the Taj Mahal as a very beautiful building , while Delhi resident Shubham Singh too appeared exalted on becoming one of the first visitors to the monument after its reopening.
Naees, a resident of Spain, too visiting the Taj mahal on the first day, said she was very eager to see the monument and her wish has been fulfilled.
Ritu, another Delhi resident, said she has come to see the Taj Mahal with her family members.
Earlier, sanitization work was done inside the Taj Mahal under the supervision of Superintending Archaeologist Basant Kumar Swarnakar.
With the opening of Taj Mahal, there was an atmosphere of happiness among the people associated with the tourism business.
Tourist guide Nitin Singh said tourists will soon start visiting the Taj Mahal as before and people associated with the tourism will benefit.
The Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and other religious places opened in Agra on Monday, though emporiums have not yet been opened.
Tourists coming to see the Taj will have to follow the anti-COVID precautions and guidelines issued by the administration and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) because of the COVID-19 spread.
According to the new guideline, a maximum of 5,000 tourists will enter the monument every day and maximum 2,500 tourists will enter the Agra Fort.
Tourists have to book tickets online from the ASI website. Access is being given after scanning the QR code on the monuments. In this regard, officials of the Department of Archeology say that the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is being followed at Taj Mahal and Agra Fort.
Tourists will have to make all payments, including parking, digitally.
It will be compulsory for tourists to follow physical distances and wear masks. Tourists have to stay away from the walls and railings of the buildings.
Tourists are allowed to enter the monuments only after their thermal screening and only those with no symptoms are being allowed to enter the premises.