Agra, Feb 13: The government on Tuesday hiked the ticket prices for visiting Taj Mahal to Rs 50 from Rs 40. Minister of State for Culture and Tourism Mahesh Sharma announced the price hike and said the new tickets will be valid only for three hours.

“We need to preserve Taj Mahal for the generations to come; new ‘barcoded’ tickets would cost Rs 50 from the earlier Rs 40 and it would be valid only for three hours,” said Mahesh Sharma. “All our monuments and the area around them would be polythene-free,” he added.

“Separate ticket of Rs. 200 will be needed to enter into the main mausoleum at Taj Mahal to ensure the protection of the built fabric and better crowd management,” the minister said.

Taj Mahal, one the seven wonders of the world, was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The monument was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for being “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage”.