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Taj Mahal rings in a change

Long security checks at gates will soon be history, reports H Chaturvedi.
None | By Hemendra Chaturvedi, Agra
PUBLISHED ON JAN 30, 2007 03:23 AM IST

Long security checks at the gates of the Taj Mahal will soon be history — tourists are now allowed to carry their mobile phones inside as long as they keep it switched off. Plus, light edibles such as biscuits and chocolates can also be carried in. But smokers must continue to light up outside the premises.

Mobile phones were banned inside the Taj Mahal premises because these were perceived to be a threat to security. The phones would have to be deposited in locker rooms close to the main entrance gate. The exercise proved to be time consuming and a detriment to the overall experience of the visitors.

The CISF personnel in charge of security would also remove all things edible. And this just made getting into the Taj Mahal an even more lengthy and "irritating" process.

"Those carrying a mobile can take the phone inside but must keep it switched off. Light edibles are also going to be allowed henceforth," said CISF deputy commandant V Khamo Singh.

She added that the restriction on videography only up till the red sandstone platform will continue. The newly drafted information board also mentions that the ban on cigarettes remains.

"These changes are aimed at providing a tourist-friendly ambience at the Taj Mahal. But we will not allow anything that could harm the sanctity of this globally recognised heritage monument or dirty the premises," Singh said.

CISF officials have asked various tourism organisations to appraise tourists about the new changes.

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