A group of visitors contemplates the Taj Mahal this Wednesday, January 3 in Agra (India)
India will limit the number of people authorized to visit the Taj Mahal daily, to preserve its most famous monument.
Located very close to Agra, about 200 kilometers from New Delhi, the Taj Mahal, known by the Indians as the „monument of love“, is admired every year by millions of tourists and is an unavoidable stage for foreign dignitaries.
The democratization of tourism in India contributes to the increase of the frequency of the place, which increases the pressure on its foundations.
Built between 1631 and 1648 by order of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, the white marble mausoleum inlaid with precious stones should be washed regularly to prevent air pollution turning it yellow.
Between 10,000 and 15,000 people visit the Taj Mahal every day. But this figure can reach 70,000 over the weekend. The Indian authorities announced on Wednesday that from now on the number of visitors will be limited to 40,000 per day.
„We have to guarantee the safety of the monument and the visitors, and the management of the crowds was becoming a real challenge for us,“ a senior official of the Archaeological Service of India (ASI) told AFP, who declined to be identified.
The restriction will not affect foreign tourists, who pay a thousand rupees (15 dollars or 13 euros) per person, but only the Indians who benefit from an entry to 40 rupees. The latter can avoid the inconvenience by paying the full rate. Around 6.5 million people visited the Taj Mahal in 2016, according to the Indian Government.