Jubiliation over Taj's inclusion in Seven Wonder's list
The city of Taj led the celebrations on the monument of love being named as one of the new seven wonders with the custodian of heritage, the Archaeological Survey of India terming it as a vindication of the marble marvel's standing in the world.
Groups and enthusiastic youngsters distributed sweets and set off fireworks in Agra on its inclusion in a global poll as the announcement was made in wee hours of the day in Portuguese capital Lisbon. The visitors to the monument were garlanded on Sunday by representatives of the city hotels association.
"We did not officially participate in the campaign, but we are happy that Taj has made it among the seven wonders in the worldwide poll," C Babu Rajeev, consultant with the ASI and formerly Director-General, said.
"In any kind of list of global architectural wonder, Taj must be there, it is a rightful thing. It is the vindication of Taj Mahal's standing," Rajeev told PTI.
Terming the selection as a "positive development", he said it will help in tourism promotion and draw more attention to the 17th century monument of love.
It will also increase the responsibility of the ASI, he said. Asked if the increased attention will mean more pressure of the ASI, he said the body will have to devise efficient conservation policies and improved the management system as well as the facilities for tourists.
Union Minister and Lok Janshakti Party President Ramvilas Paswan congratulated countrymen on the inclusion of the Taj Mahal among the new Seven Wonders of the World.
"India's pre-eminence as a votary of universal brotherhood and love has been long established. The inclusion of Taj Mahal, the symbol of eternal love, in the list of seven wonders has reinforced India's position as a nation dedicated to the ideal of love and peace," Paswan said in a message.
Overwhelmed with the Taj making it to the elite list, chosen through an online and SMS vote conducted by Swiss non-profit group New 7 Wonders Foundation, actress and social activist Shabana Azmi said "we are absolutely thrilled".
Azmi, who actively took part in the campaign for Taj, appealing to people to vote for it, said she hoped the selection would make the government gear up and improve the infrastructure in and around the monument in Agra.
She said the authorities should wake up and take note of the environmental pollution affecting the marble monument.
Asked about the fact that there was no official sanction for the list of the new seven wonders, Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam, who also took part in the "India Unites for Taj" campaign, said "if it gives a chance for us to market the tourism potential of Taj, there is no harm in it."
The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) also expressed happiness over the devlopment.
"However, we always knew that Taj is the best monument in the world," INTACH co-convenor Shobita Punja said.
In Delhi, many people were glued to their TV sets till 4 am in the morning to watch the results of the poll. "It was a thrilling and exciting moment," Sudipta Gupta, a Rohini resident, said.
Rakesh Chauhan, the President of the Agra Hotel and Restaurant Association said, "The inclusion of the Taj would certainly give a boost to tourist traffic to India and the monument of love. On a moderate estimate, there should be a 15 per cent increase," he said.