Losing track of the time while admiring the pristine Taj Mahal will now cost tourists dearly.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which administers the monument, has decided to place a three-hour cap on the time spent by visitors at the Taj. Those who exceed the limit “will be charged an extra amount equivalent to the ticket (price), which will have to be paid at the exit gate,” superintending archeologist, ASI (Agra circle), Vasant Swarakar told The Times of India newspaper.
Entry times will also be enforced and tourists who don’t arrive at the slotted time will have to buy a new ticket, Swarakar added.
Ticket prices for entry at the Mughal monument range from Rs40 ($0.58) for Indian nationals to Rs1,000 for foreign nationals. Citizens of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations are charged Rs530. Visitors to the main mausoleum are also required to buy a separate Rs200 ticket.
The move to cap the time spent at the site has been prompted by its huge popularity. “We’ve had situations where over 50,000 visitors come to Taj Mahal in a single day. We have to make do with the available area and manage visitors within the limited space,” an ASI official told the newspaper.
Taj Mahal is not the only UNESCO World Heritage Site to restrict visiting times. Tickets to the Colosseum in Rome are valid for two days from the date of purchase.