India’s Taj Mahal reopens after a six-month hiatus
September 21 2020 11:50 AM
Taj Mahal is one of the most pictured monuments in the world.
Taj Mahal is one of the most pictured monuments in the world.

AFP

From Princess Diana to President Trump, everyone wants to visit the Taj Mahal, but in the middle of a global pandemic the bucket-list experience is just a little less special.

As India's ‘monument to love’ re-opened today after a six-month hiatus, special rules were introduced – including no touching the white marble walls of the mausoleum built for a Mughal emperor's favourite wife.

Only 5,000 visitors are allowed daily – a quarter of usual capacity – and all have their temperature taken by staff wearing face shields, masks and gloves.

Visitors can whip off their masks for a photo, but security personnel are quick to remind them to put them back on once the shutter has been pressed.

And the famous bench where people usually sit to have their picture taken has been laminated in plastic, to help cleaning between every photo op.

"We have all the safety measures in place," said Vasant Swarnkar from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which oversees the Unesco world heritage site in Agra south of New Delhi.

"We want to send out the message that things are not so bad and you will be safe if you follow the instructions."

Neither the new rules nor the dangers of catching the coronavirus put off a steady stream of visitors to the breathtaking 17th-century monument today morning.



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