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Major monuments see scant footfall in first week of reopening

A worker sanitises the ‘Diana bench’ as tourists visit the Taj Mahal on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Some of the major Centrally-protected monuments that reopened on June 16 after a closure due to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic saw only about 1% to 7% of their average pre-pandemic daily footfall in the first eight days of the reopening, according to Archaeological Survey of India data.

The Union Culture Ministry on June 14 ordered that all monuments under the ASI be opened to the public from June 16, subject to local administration rules, including State-wise weekend lockdown orders. The monuments, sites and museums of the ASI had been closed since April 15.

From June 16 to Wednesday, Taj Mahal in Agra was open for five days due to the weekend lockdown in Uttar Pradesh. The daily footfall ranged from 2,128 on June 16 to 4,322 on Monday, according to ASI data accessed by The Hindu. In February 2020, i.e., before the pandemic, the UNESCO World Heritage Site used to receive 16,000 to 17,000 visitors on an average, with the numbers increasing on weekends and holidays, said an ASI official.

While tickets are sold only online to maintain crowd control and social distancing, the number of visitors at Taj Mahal was not limited, according to the official. In Delhi, however, tickets at each monument were capped between 7,000 to 10,000 a day.

In Delhi, popular tourist destinations of Humayun’s Tomb, Qutub Minar and Red Fort saw a few hundred visitors a day on an average, down from the thousands of visitors seen earlier.

On average, Humayun’s Tomb had 631 daily visitors from June 16 to Wednesday, with June 20, a Sunday, seeing a spike with 1,770 visitors. The official said Humayun’s Tomb used to receive 7,000 to 8,000 visitors a day on average before the pandemic. Similarly, Qutub Minar had an average of 743 daily visitors, ranging from 432 on June 16 to 1,677 on June 20, which was around 7% of the 9,000 to 10,000 visitors on an average pre-COVID-19. Red Fort, which remains closed on Mondays, had an average of 152 daily visitors over seven days, around 1%-2% of its 7,000 to 9,000 daily visitors prior to the pandemic.


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Printable version | Aug 1, 2021 7:41:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/major-monuments-see-scant-footfall-in-first-week-of-reopening/article34957012.ece

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