All tourist hubs in Madurai are under lock and key

A display board outside Gandhi Museum in Madurai announcing temporary closure of the premises to visitors.

A display board outside Gandhi Museum in Madurai announcing temporary closure of the premises to visitors.  

‘Sorry, we are closed’

Acting on the orders of the State government, popular tourist destinations in Madurai have closed their gates to visitors in the wake of COVID-19.

On Wednesday, staff members of Gandhi Museum displayed a board outside stating that the premises was closed to visitors.

Administrative Officer K.R. Nanda Rao said that although between 500 and 1,000 people visited the museum every day, they were taking all precautions to ensure that tourists steered clear of the premises. “Only the staff are present and we are practising social distancing.”

Weekly classes and the library on the premises too were off limits, he added.

Curator of Tirumalai Nayak Palace K. Sakthivel said the government’s instructions came on March 16, when the second sound and light show was taking place. “We tried to wrap it up early and closed the premises immediately.”

S. Shanmugarajan said tourists, who were led by tour guides like him, were aware of the shut down. “Occasionally, north Indian tourists come and seek permission to be allowed inside the palace. But they are denied entry.”

An official from the Tamil Nadu Archaeological Department said Keeladi was off limits to tourists. “The excavation work will continue for now, but tourists are not allowed to visit now. Many seem to think that this is a holiday and want to engage their children. It is not safe to bring them to tourist spots,” he cautioned.

Security personnel at World Tamil Sangam said students studying for competitive examinations were asked to leave the campus. “A large number of students come here to study. We have been asking them to vacate,” said a security guard.

Since the closure of several public places, many students without study material were having a hard time, S. Prem Kumar, a civil service aspirant, rued.

“We try to study on Corporation ground, but the guards just told us that we cannot sit there any more. Those of us who share study material or do group study no longer have space. We understand the importance of isolation but it is a difficult time for us,” Mr. Prem Kumar said.

All tourist spots and 53 parks under the Corporation are expected to stay closed until March 31.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 6:43:24 AM |

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