New Delhi: In a pleasant development for thousands of tourists visiting the Taj Mahal every year, the government has now decided to open the ticket window 45 minutes before sunrise to enable visitors to get tickets well before the gates to the historic monument open.
The announcement was made by Minister of State for Culture Mahesh Sharma in Lok Sabha on Monday.
The minister informed that while the opening and closing time of the Taj Mahal has not been altered, the ticket window will open earlier to facilitate movement of visitors inside.
"The ticket window would open 45 minutes before sunrise and close 30 minutes before sunset to facilitate the entry of visitors of Taj Mahal," Sharma told lawmakers in Lok Sabha.
According to an order by the Archaeological Survey of India, dated January 25, 2018, the gates through which tourists enter the Taj Mahal open 30 minutes before sunrise and closes 30 minutes before sunset.
The Mughal-era monument remains closed for visitors on Fridays.
Earlier both the gates and the ticket windows used to open between sunrise and sunset.
The government has recently fixed a time span of three hours for tourists to be allowed inside Taj Mahal and also hiked the entry fee to Rs 50 from Rs 40.
It has also introduced an additional fee of Rs 200 for visiting the main mausoleum from April 1.
'' High-Value Tickets" for tourists visiting the Mughal heritage site have also been hiked - for foreign visitors, the ticket would cost Rs 1,250 and for domestic visitors, it would be Rs 400.
As of now, there is no restriction on the number of people entering the iconic monument complex at any point in time. The average footfall at the monument has increased at a rate of 10-15 percent per annum.
Many times, during peak tourist season and other occasions, the number of tourists inside the complex crosses 60,000 to 70,000 per day.
(With PTI inputs)