NEW DELHI, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) — India is planning to cap the daily number of visitors to the Taj Mahal at 40,000 and the duration of each visit at three hours in order to protect the nearly 400-year-old national treasure.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) made the proposal to the Ministry of Culture after a stampede at one of Taj Mahal's entry gates injured five people last Thursday.
According to the ASI, the current number of visitors to the World Heritage Site is around 40,000 on weekdays and could reach 70,000 on weekends and holidays. Once the restriction comes into effect, the ticket sale will stop both online and offline when the limited amount is sold out.
This cap will only apply to the 40-rupee (0.6-U.S.-dollar) passes purchased by domestic visitors. The number of foreigners, who are charged 1,000 rupees (15.7 dollars), will not be limited.
Another measure proposed by the ASI includes separate entry tickets for visiting the crypt area, where replicas of the graves of Emperor Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal, are placed.
The monument, as a tribute to Mumtaz Mahal and one of the "Seven Wonders of the World," has suffered from overcrowding and air pollution in recent years.
"We have no option but to go by these measures," Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma told The Indian Express after meeting ASI officials and his staff on Tuesday.
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