Now a visiting Taj Mahal will burn a bigger hole in your pockets from November, 2015. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has increased the ticket prices of Taj Mahal and other heritage buildings by a crazy 200%. This price hike comes after more than a decade and will surely make a deep impact on your travel budget to India.
The ASI for World Heritage Sites has hiked the ticket price from Rs 10 to 30 for Indians and from Rs. 250 to Rs. 750 for foreign tourists. However, tourists in Agra will have to spend more as the Agra Development Authority charges toll tax as well. So now, Indians who want to visit the Taj Mahal will have to pay Rs 40, inclusive of the toll tax, and foreigners visiting Taj Mahal will have to pay Rs 1250.
For category ‘A’ monuments, which include World Heritage sites, ticket price has been raised from Rs 10 to Rs 30 for Indians and from Rs 250 to Rs 750 for foreigners. For category “B” monuments, the rates have been increased from Rs 5 to Rs 15 for Indians and Rs 100 to Rs 300 for foreigners.
This is something which will not go well with the foreigners coming to India who already face a lot of government taxes in hotels & restaurants. Moreover there is a huge price difference between the foreigner & Indian ticket prices, and now this insane hike of over 200% will be a crucial factor in deciding which monuments to visit & which to skip. This move would severely affect the tourism industry which is already facing a slump due to fall in number of tourists in Agra in the last three years.
This increase in ticket price is very questionable as we don’t see any increase in facilities around the monuments or proper conservation methods for maintaining the heritage monuments. Since Taj mahal is in the bucket list of every tourist coming to India, we have absolutely no idea where the huge amount of money earned from the tickets is going. There is no control on hawkers & un-authorised guides who constantly harass the visitors and push them for shopping fake products. There are absolutely no proper toilet facilities or medical assistance for aged visitors. Although government repeatedly promises to provide wheelchair assistance and doctors while the ground realities are vastly different. In terms of facilities, we do not see any noteworthy changes around Taj Mahal or other monuments in Agra. Seems like officials are only interested in minting money from the tickets sold without providing anything in return to the visitors.
Agra being the only city in the world having 3 World Heritage Monuments – Taj Mahal, Fort & Fatehpur Sikri, this price hike of 200% will seriously affect the tourist inflow. These tourists, who were paying Rs 900 upto now to see all the three world three heritage sites, will have to pay Rs 2,000 after new rates become applicable from November, 2015.
In my opinion, the increase should be more on the Indian visitors & locals who use such monuments like a picnic spot and spend whole day rolling on the grass. When we are talking about 200% hike, we should not forget that every tourist that comes to India is not a luxury tourist having millions of dollars in pocket. Not every couple can afford a 60$ ticket for visiting just 3 monuments in a day. There are family tourists and backpackers too who try to live for much less than that while in India. The day is not far when Taj Mahal and other heritage monuments of India will lose their charm owing to such faulty official policies.