After remaining closed to tourists for over six months due to coronavirus, the world heritage site Taj Mahal in Agra reopened today with strict health safety guidelines, media reports said.
The Agra Fort is also open to the public from today. Both the sites were shut down since March 17 due to the pandemic.
All safety guidelines, including social distancing, masks and hand sanitising, issued by the government will have to be followed while visiting the 17th century monument of love and the fort, Vasant Kumar Swarnkar, Superintending Archaeologist of the Archaeological Survey of India (Agra circle), said in a statement to the media.
Only 5,000 tourists will be allowed each day at the Taj Mahal -- 2,500 before 2pm and the remaining thereafter.
At Agra Fort, 2,500 tourists will be allowed every day, he said.
Tickets for visiting the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort would be sold online and manual ticket counters will not reopen, Swarnkar said.
It is estimated that the Taj Mahal attracts seven million visitors annually and the Agra Fort nearly three million, contributing to to the revenue of Uttar Pradesh state government.
The move to reopen the heritage sites came as more relaxations under Unlock 4 went into force even though coronavirus cases across India are rising sharply.
A single-day spike of 86,961 new cases and 1,130 fatalities pushed India's total Covid19 tally to 54,87,580 and death toll to 87,882, according to the Health Ministry's updated figures today.
The number of active cases stood at 10,03,299 while 43,96,399 people have recovered so far, said the data.
Uttar Pradesh is among the five Indian states where cases have seen a sharp spike in recent weeks.