The Indian authorities have hiked fivefold ticket prices for the Indian visitors to the Taj Mahal, in the latest attempt to lower tourist numbers and reduce damage at the country’s top tourist site.
Indians make up the majority of the Taj Mahal’s10,000-15,000 average daily visitors. As many as 6.5 million people marvelled at the white marble 17th-century masterpiece in 2016.
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An all-inclusive ticket for Indian citizens including entry into the Taj Mahal was raised from 50 rupees ($0.70) to 250 rupees.
Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as a tomb for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. Tourists from outside of India will pay roughly $19 to enter the UNESCO World Heritage complex in northern India, up from $16.
“We want people to pay more to limit the footfall,” an official from the Archaeological Survey of India, the government body responsible for upkeep.
“This will cut down the number of visitors to the mausoleum by at least 15-20 percent and generate revenue for its conservation,” the official said.
The latest move comes only months after Indian authorities restricted the number of tourists to 40,000 per day. Previously up to 70,000 people would throng the site at weekends.