New Delhi: Union Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel has announced that opening hours of 10 historical monuments across the country has been increased and now these monuments will remain open from sunrise to 9 PM for common public.

This extension in the visiting time was made by the government to increase the footfall at these popular sites and to promote India’s tourism. Earlier, most of the monuments were closed for the public by 6 PM. However, the new timing lets them visit the monuments until 9 PM. This change in timings will be effective for a period of three years, noted the Union Culture Minister said.

News agency ANI tweeted a list comprising the 10 monuments present in various districts across the country.

Apart from the Humayun’s Tomb and Safdarjung Tomb in Delhi, the extended timings will apply to Rajarani Temple in Bhubaneswar, Dulhadev Temple in Khajuraho, Shekh Chilli Tomb in Kurukshetra, Group of Monuments at Pattadakal in Karnataka, Gol Gumbaj in Karnataka, Group of Temples in Maharashtra (Markanda), Man Mahal in Uttar Pradesh (Varanasi) and Rani ki Baav in Paatan Gujarat.

“Some places in this list are temples that are popular both among tourists and locals. People also visit temples at night. Hence, a decision was taken to extend their visiting time beyond 6 pm,” the minister said.

A committee which was formed by the two ministries earlier to discuss the proposals coming in from the states had discussed 35 such monuments which were proposed to be kept open till 10 pm for the public. However, a decision was taken by the committee to introduce the new timings in 10 of the sites in the first phase and restrict the time till 9 pm.

At present, no popular monument is kept open beyond sunset. The visiting hours of Taj Mahal are from sunrise, i.e, 6 AM to sunset which is 6:30 PM. However, Taj Mahal is not found in this list.

The proposal to keep some tourist sites open till 9 PM was first proposed by the then Culture and Tourism Minister Alphons Kannanthanam who had said that tourists should be given the maximum opportunity to visit heritage sites.

(With Agency inputs)