After almost six months of closure due to the Covid-19 triggered lockdown, at 5.39 am on Monday morning, the Taj Mahal got its first visitor- a Chinese national named Liang Chiacheng.
Despite strict regulations to contain the spread of novel coronavirus, several tourists came to visit the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort. As per protocol, the district authorities had decided to allow only 5,000 visitors a day, in two batches — sunrise to noon, and 12.30 pm to sunset. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) said, 1,235 people visited the Taj, including 20 foreigners, Indian Express reported.
Though the Taj and this entire stretch of Tajganj were swinging back into action after a hiatus of over 180 days, the local businessmen and traders know it will be a while before they can get back to business as usual.
Keeping in mind the rapid spread of the virus, physical tickets have been discontinued and most visitors had e-tickets on their mobile phones. Visitors are let in after the mandatory thermal scanning and sanitising of hands and feet by staff in PPE gear. However, after every entry, the staff has a hard time sanitising the manual turnstile gates.
Among the visitors at the Taj are a couple from Delhi who are here to see the Taj “for the first time” and a Russian national who has been stranded in India since March this year.
“I was in Jaipur when international flights were discontinued, and I was stuck. I will hopefully return in a fortnight as the situation back home has improved. I thought I might as well see the Taj while I am here,” the tourist told IE.