The Taj Mahal, one of the wonders of the modern world, will open its doors late to meet the demand of the many crowds that wish to visit it. Tourism officials from Agra, the city of India where the famous white marble palace resides, told CNN Travel that it will open its doors to visitors five nights a month, during full moon nights and the dates on each end of these.
The Taj Mahal has been open to the public at night on several occasions since 2004. This time around, the measure strives to promote responsible tourism and reduce the monument’s high daytime traffic. Previously, Taj Mahal visiting hours were between Saturday and Thursday, from dawn to dusk. The palace is closed to the public on Fridays and during the Muslim celebration of Ramadan.
Other additional measures have also been implemented to minimize the effects of from overtourism on the Taj Mahal, as well as adjacent natural environments such as the Yamuna River. These measures include capping each visit to a maximum of three hours and raising the entry ticket fee.
A Gesture of Love
The palace has been a symbol of romance since its inception. Shah Jahan, emperor of the Mughal dynasty, built it to serve as a mausoleum in memory of his fourth wife, mother of 14 of his children. He adored her such that he gave hear the pet name “Mumtaz Mahal” – the princess, jewel, beloved ornament, cherished or privileged one of the palace, depending on how one interprets the original Persian phrase.
Jahan named the palace in honor of his late love. He complimented her mausoleum with a mosque, multiple buildings and a beautiful front garden with a crossing canal. After his death, Jahan was buried there next to the object of his devotion. Centuries later, in 1983, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) included the whole structure in its World Heritage List.
Taj Mahal, Majestic Also at Night
The history of the Taj Mahal is just as striking as its architecture, which is an imposing combination of Persian, Islamic, Hindu and Turkish styles. Perhaps that is what attracts so many couples in love to the palace. The Taj Mahal stands out as a tourist destination for lovers, both for couples photographs and for marriage proposals.
Now, thanks to the new initiative, hopeless romantics will have the privilege of witnessing how the moonlight lights up the white marble of its domes, columns and arches. Those who take the opportunity to see the Taj Mahal at night will help preserve it for future generations.
Taj Mahal daytime tickets can be purchased at the palace’s ticket offices. Night visits must be arranged with the Office of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) at +91 562 222 7261.