Reopened monuments in Delhi find few takers

A view of Qutub Minar, at Mehrauli in New Delhi. File.

A view of Qutub Minar, at Mehrauli in New Delhi. File.   | Photo Credit: V. Sudershan

Iconic historical monuments in Delhi that used to see between 5,000 and 10,000 visitors every day received well under 100 visitors on average this week as the Archaeological Survey of India opened its sites from Monday after an almost four-month closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the numbers went up slightly on Saturday and officials expected the footfall to increase on Sunday. Union Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel had announced on July 2 that all Centrally-protected monuments under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) would open from July 6, subject to rules of local administrations and guidelines of the Union Health and Home Ministries. The number of visitors was capped between 5,000 to 2,000 each day for different monuments, and ticket sales moved to online-only mode.

Also read | Reopened monuments wear a deserted look on first day

According to the ASI’s online ticket portal, Qutub Minar had the highest number of visitors from Monday to Friday, with 100 to 125 tickets being sold daily on an average. An official said the monument used to see around 10,000 visitors daily. On Saturday evening, just 174 tickets out of the 1,500 available for the slot of 12 p.m. till 6 p.m. had been sold as of 5 p.m. Similarly, Humayun’s Tomb which used to receive 6,000-7,000 daily visitors, according to the official, had got 50 to 75 this week, with 132 tickets out of 1,000 being sold for the afternoon slot on Saturday by 5 p.m. The Red Fort, which normally gets around 8,000 to up to 12,000 visitors on holidays, received just 30-40 visitors daily this week. Of the 1,000 tickets available on Saturday afternoon, just nine had been sold for Purana Qila, which used to see about 5,000 to 6,000 visitors daily, the official said.

While the ASI has made arrangements for temperature checks, hand sanitisation and online booking of tickets at entry points of monuments, officials said the number of visitors was unlikely to bounce back till public transport, particularly the Metro, re-starts.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2020 8:47:23 PM |

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