Agra: After remaining shut for over a year for night viewing, the Taj Mahal will resume from August 21 for visitors who want to tour the marble monument under the moonlight, officials said on Friday (August 20).
Night viewing of the monument had shut on March 17, 2020, in the course of the first COVID-19 wave. ASI Superintending Archaeologist (Agra Circle) Vasant Kumar Swarnkar told PTI that night viewing will be permitted on August 21, 23, and 24 as the monument is shut every week on Friday and the lockdown is in effect on Sunday (August 22).
He said there are three slots for visitors– 8:30-9 pm, 9-9:30 pm, and the last at 9:30-10 pm. “In every slot, 50 tourists would be allowed as per protocols of the Supreme Court,” he added.
“The tickets can be booked a day in advance from the ASI office’s counter on 22 Mall Road in Agra,” Kumar stated.
Rajeev Saxena, vice-president of the Tourism Guild of Agra, said it was a good gesture, but it would not attract weekend travellers till the curb of lockdown on Sunday and curfew after 10 pm was in place.
“Tourists want to love the nightlife of the city, they don’t want to be packed in their hotels after 10 pm,” he said.
A government-approved tour guide, Monika Sharma, appreciated the drive and said it was a silver lining for the revival of Agra’s tourism sector.