The Taj Mahal in India re-opens from Wednesday

The Taj Mahal in India re-opens from Wednesday

The Taj Mahal Mausoleum in Agra, India's biggest tourist attraction, will reopen on Wednesday after another two-month hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the government announced on Monday.

The number of coronavirus-related infections and deaths in the country of 1.3 billion people hit a record high in April and May, prompting authorities to impose further restrictions to stem the spread of Covid-19.

The number of infections has decreased in recent weeks. Major cities, including the capital city of New Delhi and the financial center of Mumbai, began lifting restrictions on people's travel and activity.

The Taj Mahal was shut down in March 2020, as India imposed one of the world's most severe roadblocks at the start of the pandemic. It reopened in September 2020 to a limited number of visitors before closing again in mid-April 2021.

The mausoleum, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, was built in Agra in the 17th century by the ruler Shah Jahan of the Mughal dynasty in honor of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died prematurely in 1631 during the birth of his fourteenth child.

As a precaution in the Covid-19 compound, visitors will not be allowed to touch the shiny marble of the mausoleum, an official from the Archaeological Inspectorate of India explained to AFP. "All necessary precautions against Covid have been taken," he assured. (PAP)

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