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Ajanta and Ellora Caves to reopen for tourists from today

The district administration has capped the number of tourists visiting each of these five monuments, including Bibi-Ka-Maqbara, Aurangabad Caves and Daulatabad Fort, to 2,000 in two sessions per day in the morning and afternoon.
By hindustantimes.com | Written by Susmita Pakrasi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JUN 17, 2021 05:38 AM IST
The Ajanta Caves, a Unesco world heritage site, is located 5km northeast of Aurangabad in Maharashtra.(HT file photo)

With the improvement in the Covid-19 situation, world heritage sites of Ajanta and Ellora caves along with three other historical monuments in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad district will reopen for tourists from Thursday after remaining shut for more than three months. The order to open these historic places was issued by Aurangabad district Disaster and Management Authority (DDMA) on Wednesday. They were shut more than three months ago due to surge in Covid-19 cases.

However, the district administration has capped the number of tourists visiting each of these five monuments, including Bibi-Ka-Maqbara, Aurangabad Caves and Daulatabad Fort, to 2,000 in two sessions per day in the morning and afternoon.

Booking of tickets is allowed through online more only and tourists are expected to follow the Covid-19 pandemic guidelines.

Given a steady decline in the number of coronavirus positive cases, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had announced the reopening of all centrally protected monuments, sites and museums from Wednesday.

"Following the orders of the ASI, Aurangabad district Disaster and Management Authority (DDMA) chief and district collector Sunil Chavan has given a green signal to reopen the tourist spots in Aurangabad from June 17 as the cases dipped," news agency PTI quoted an official as saying.

However, temples and other religious places under the jurisdiction of the ASI will continue to remain shut in the district. The official said that the Covid-19 case positivity rate in Aurangabad city has come down to 0.45%, whereas the same is 4.27% in rural areas of the district.

"We reviewed the tourist footfall at the above five monuments and also the case positivity rate. These monuments will reopen for tourists from June 17. Booking of the ticket shall remain online. Guides and others working near these monuments will have to undergo RT-PCR tests in the coming days. However, this test is not mandatory for those who are fully vaccinated," the official added.

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