Cap on number of visitors to centrally-protected monuments lifted
The restrictions on the number of visitors allowed to access centrally protected monuments was lifted by the Central government on Friday, officials familiar with the matter told Hindustan Times.
The Archaeological Survey of India, in its notification issued on Friday, however, said that the number of visitors to the monuments may be limited by the superintending archaeologist with concurrence of the District Magistrate.
Selling of personal tickets and sound and light shows have also been allowed to resume.
The monuments will be expected to follow the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to prevent the transmission of Covid-19, including norms of social distancing and preventive practices.
The cap on the number of visitors was issued to monuments, which after being shut for over two months due to the Covid-19 crisis, were allowed to open from June 8, Hindustan Times reported.
The list included temples, mosques and churches, with 114 monuments in the North region, 155 in the Centre, 170 in the West, 279 in the South and a 103 in the East circles. Places of worship were officially closed on March 24, after the nationwide lockdown was announced. The highest number of monuments was allowed to open in Karnataka (153) with 69 in Bangalore, followed by Uttar Pradesh (111) with 65 in Lucknow, Tamil Nadu (77) with 75 in Chennai and Andhra Pradesh (75).
The monuments allowed to open included the Taj Mahal, Afsah-wala-ki-Masjid situated outside the west gate of Humayun’s Tomb with its dalans and paved court, Nizamuddin, the Qutub Minar and Nizammudin dargah in Delhi. According to the list, the Nizamuddin dargah sees nearly 5000-6000 worshippers every day. In Agra, the Taj Mahal masjid sees a footfall of 2,500 worshippers, while the Tomb of Sheikh Salim Chisti, which has also been allowed to open sees 2,500 worshippers daily. The Govind Dev Temple in Mathura (1,500-2,000 worshippers daily) has also been allowed to open. The famous Basilica of Bom Jesus, Old Goa (700-2500) visitors per day depending on the time of the year) has also been allowed to open. The Ambernath Temple, which sees a footfall of 8 lakh a year, will also open.
Union Minister for Culture and Tourism had told Hindustan Times that the move would allow the ministry to observe and gauge the way forward as the Central government eases restrictions.
“Hotels and restaurants have also been allowed to function starting tomorrow,” Patel told Hindustan Times. “The standard operating procedures issued by the health and home ministry will be followed at the places of worship that have been allowed to open.”
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