From now, you will get only three hours to explore the iconic Taj Mahal in Agra on one token. The visitors who spend more than three hours at the Taj Mahal will be charged an additional fee, a public circular said.
This move, the authorities say, will prevent unauthorised entry.
Turnstile gates have also been introduced at the historical monument.
“7 turnstile gates have been installed at both the East and West entry point. Five gates are for the exit. For the entry of foreign tourists, there are separate gates. Entry is only through token which is valid for three hours, exceeding which, a visitor is required to recharge it at the counter at the exit gates,” said Basant Kumar, superintendent, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
Earlier, visitors were allowed to stay from the opening time (30 minutes before sunrise) to closing time (30 minutes before sunset).
The tourists visiting the Taj Mahal expressed disappointment.
“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,” Mohammad Mustafa Hussain, a tourist from Hyderabad, told news agency ANI.
Another visitor Seikh Nizam said, “This will discourage tourism. Time slot should be increased”
Celina, who came from the US, said the tickets are almost 10 times costlier for foreign tourists as compared to Indians.
“Foreign tourists are required to pay ten times as compared to Indians. It would be really nice to stay long here but timings are limited,” she said.
The Supreme Court had in February slammed the Uttar Pradesh government for poor maintenance of the Taj Mahal and asked it to show seriousness in preserving the monument.
In July last year, the Uttar Pradesh government had submitted its draft vision document to the court on the restoration of Taj Mahal and assured that it will take several steps for the conservation of the heritage structure.