Humayun’s Tomb among 10 monuments across India to stay open till 9pm; Taj Mahal missing
Visitors to Humayun’s Tomb will soon be able to spend time in the sprawling garden complex housing the monument till 9pm.
The 16th-century monument housing the grave of Mughal emperor Humayun is among 10 monuments, managed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and other committees, that will be kept open till late to attract more tourists.
The announcement was made by union minister for tourism and culture Prahlad Singh Patel while speaking to reporters in the Parliament complex on Monday.
Another Delhi monument, Safdarjung’s Tomb, also features in the list prepared by a committee comprising officials of the culture and tourism ministries.
Bijapur’s Gol Gumbaz, Sheikh Chilli’s Tomb in Kurukshetra, Bhubaneswar’s Rajarani Temple Complex, Khajuraho’s Duladeo Temple, Varanasi’s Man Mahal, Rani-ki-Vav stepwell in Gujarat’s Patan, a cluster of monuments in Karnataka’s Bagalkot, a UNESCO Heritage site, and a clutch of temples in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district make up the list.
Culture ministry officials said the new plan will be implemented within the next few days and will be in place for an initial term of three years.
As of now, the monuments that come under ASI , the body entrusted with managing tourist operations at heritage sites, are mostly open till sundown.
“These 10 monuments are in the first phase (of the plan), and we are considering (keeping) more such monuments (open till later) in the near future,” Patel said. He added that the few temples in the list, which are not manned by the ASI, were included due to their popularity. The temples are run by different temple management committees.
ASI’s most popular monument, the Taj Mahal, did not find a mention on the list. The 17th century monument premises, though, is open for midnight tours five days every month -- on full moon nights and two nights before and after it.
Officials said that proposals from states to keep 35 monuments and heritage sites open till 10pm for the public came to both the culture ministry and tourism ministry during the last tenure of this government. Subsequently, a committee of officials of both ministries was formed to find out the viability of the proposals. The committee decided that selecting 10 monuments would help them gauge the feasibility of the plan.
Historian Sohail Hashmi said that while the move is welcome, the government should strive to keep monuments open around the clock. “The government also needs to ensure that the monument or heritage site is sufficiently lit, has adequate security and has the basic amenities of a functional toilet and eateries in the complex.” he said.