Who stays longer than 3 hours, pays double

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The Taj Mahal has been suffering from the tourist rush for a long time. From this week on, visitors are only allowed to spend a certain amount of time in the mausoleum.

How long does it take to let the landmark of India, the most famous tomb in the world, work its magic on you? Starting this week, tickets for the Taj Mahal will only be valid for three hours instead of a whole day. The reason is the enormous rush of sometimes more than 50’000 visitors a day. On public holidays there are even more.

“If tourists exceed their deadline of three hours, an additional amount equal to the ticket price will be charged to them at the exit gate. The entrance time will also be enforced. If tourists don’t show up at the time they’ve been told, they can’t enter and have to buy a new ticket,” Vasant Swarakar, head archaeologist at the ASI Institute, told the Times of India.

Symbol of immortal love

The entrance fee for foreign tourists is currently 1000 rupees (about 15 francs), for locals only 40 rupees (about 60 centimes). Especially the low priced tickets are sold very frequently, from now on they are limited to 40’000 per day.

The Taj Mahal is located about three hours from Delhi in the north Indian city of Agra and is both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the new seven wonders of the world. The Mogul Shah Jahan had the Taj Mahal built from white marble as a tomb for his deceased wife. Mumtaz Mahal died in 1631 during the delivery of her 14th child – a loss her husband could hardly bear. The mausoleum is therefore regarded as a symbol of immortal love. Among the eight million tourists a year are many newly wed couples who visit the place to confirm their love.