ASI to spruce up Taj Mahal, other world heritage sites
The ASI is working on mobile app and other technologies that can help tourists locate spots, narrate the significance and history of the monuments and perform other functions of a guide.india Updated: Oct 17, 2017 17:41 IST
The Archaeological Survey of India is set to spruce up facilities at the Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world in India which has been caught in a controversy following comments by a BJP leader.
“The ASI’s director general Usha Sharma visited Taj Mahal on Monday to prepare a checklist of features to be added for this monument of 17th century built by Shah Jahan,” said P L Sahu, joint secretary, ministry of culture.
“We have zeroed in on 27 monuments, including Taj Mahal and Hampi, to improve visitors’ delight,” Sahu said, adding that new features would be added and other facilities improved.
The monuments which have been listed as world heritage sites by the UNESCO lack adequate facilities like clean toilets, easy access, and face other issues like encroachments, touts and unauthorised guides, ASI officials admitted.
The ASI is also working on mobile app and other technologies that can help do away with tourist guides. A mobile app may help tourists locate various spots, narrate the significance and history of the monuments and perform other functions of a guide.
Other features include virtual museums, permanent exhibitions and interactive touch-screen monitors, besides offering top-of-the-end facilities such as books/souvenirs shops, landscaping, lightings on monuments, brail systems for visually impaired, ramps for specially-abled tourists and standardised signage.
Sahu said these features would be added in three-, six- and 12-months time in phases. After the completion of the work, the number of sites may be increased to 100 gradually.
Interestingly, officers of ASI have been asked to individually take the responsibility of at least one monument each.
On Monday, controversial BJP MLA Sangeet Som triggered a controversy by saying that the Taj Mahal was built by someone who wanted to wipe out the Hindus.
The 17th century mausoleum, India’s top tourism destination, has also seen a steady decline in footfall in recent years and is battling mounting pollution.
The heritage site at Hampi in Karnataka is a group of structures belonging to the 14th century Vijayanagara kingdom.