New Delhi: As part of the Central government’s ‘Unlock 2’, all historic monuments protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) are set to reopen for the public from Monday. An announcement to this effect was made by Union Culture Minister Prahlad Patel said on Thursday.Also Read - Red Fort to be Shut From July 21 Till Independence Day, Delhi Police Raised Security Concerns: ASI
Taking to Twitter, Union Culture Minister Prahlad Patel said, “I have taken a decision along with the ministry of culture and the ASI to open all monuments from July 6. This, however, will be done with the compliance of the state and district administration.” Also Read - Asteroid 3 Times The Size of Taj Mahal to Pass Close to Earth on July 25, Is It Dangerous?
Over 3,691 Centrally-protected monuments and archaeological sites maintained by the ASI were shut for public from March 17 in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Out of this, 820 are centrally protected monuments which have places of worship. Also Read - Iconic Places & Monuments From Around The World Re-created in Minecraft, Including Taj Mahal | See Pics
The Union Ministry of Culture had earlier in June reopened 820 monuments out of the over 3,000 ASI-maintained monuments where religious events take place.
Prior to opening of the monument, the central government has issued coronavirus-related protocols and these guidelines would be followed by the monument authorities.
The Taj Mahal, which is one of the historic monuments of the country to be opened from Monday, was closed in the last week of March, due to surge in Covid-19 cases. This was the first time in the monument’s almost 375-year-old history that the doors were shut to visitors, for over 100 days.
As per updates, during the 1971 war with Pakistan, the Taj Mahal was closed for 15 days. In 1978, visitors were not allowed for almost a week due to flood in Yamuna.
Apart from Taj Mahal, the Red Fort in Delhi and the Charminar and Golconda Fort in Hyderabad are also all set to open from Monday.
General guidelines from Centre:
1) Only those monuments and museums which are in the non-containment zone will be open for visitors.
2) The ASI said has put a cap on the number of visitors in select monuments. Taj Mahal will accept 2,500 visitors, while Qutub Minar and Red Fort will allow 1,500 visitors in two slots each.
3) Entry tickets shall be issued by e-mode only. No physical tickets will be issued.
4) At the parking, cafeteria etc, only digital payment will be permitted.
5) The entrance of each monument will have mandatory hand-hygiene and thermal-scanning provisions.
6) No group photography within the premises.
7) All sound and light and films shows at monuments will also remain suspended till further order.
8) No food and eatables are allowed inside the premises.
Instructions for visitors:
1) The visitors shall follow social distancing norms.
2) The use of face cover and mask is mandatory for all visitors.
3) Entrance of each monument to have mandatory hand hygiene and thermal scanning provisions.
4) There will be designated routes for entry and exit and movement within the monument.
5) The ASI has the authority to restrict access to vulnerable and interior parts of any monument.
6) Visitors shall be asked to stick to time limits inside the monument.
7) The security staff inside the monument shall ensure that there is no crowding at any point inside the monument.
8) Vehicles shall be parked in designated areas.
9) Guides and photographs who have valid license are allowed to work.