Fodor’s Travel Guide has included the Taj Mahal in its list of places not to visit in 2018, as the monument will be under restoration.
Has restoration made Taj Mahal lose its photo-op potential?
The Taj has suffered years of neglect, and as a result, is in poor shape. The attempts to restore its lustre are thus necessary, even if it means that tourists will face some disappointment while the restoration work is underway.
All valuable assets need periodic restoration and care. The Taj Mahal is an important historical monument whose only purpose cannot be to provide visual delight to the world all the time. Even to that end, it still requires maintenance, much like any other ancient structure.
The idea that monuments need upkeep is a universal one. Bit by bit, the structure has been degenerating; its need for restoration is inevitable and a good investment. If a wing of a cathedral was falling down, attempts would be made to bar it from public use. Similarly, roads are often also shut down in order to maintain them. When your primary attraction is facing a problem, you have to fix it.
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Bhartendra Singh, MP from Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh
Attempts should be made to minimise the inconvenience; in particular, if options can be found by which tourists can still get a perfect photograph of the Taj, these should be explored. But since it is the dome that needs restoration, it is possible that the Taj will temporarily lose some of its magic.
In the short run, there will be some loss of tourism revenue, but in the longer run, this will only add to the attraction of the monument and extend its life.
That some international agencies are warning tourists about this renovation is only to be expected. It is the job of travel agencies like Fodor to keep their audiences informed about the latest happenings with regard to tourist destinations. The Taj Mahal’s aesthetic inaccessibility is an important note for those travelling solely to visit it. After having viewed magnificent pictures of the Taj Mahal, it is but obvious that you will feel a little let down if you can’t witness it in all its glory in person.
All in all, this necessary restoration is not good news for anyone while this happens. Not for the tourists who want to see the monument, and definitely not for the Taj itself, because it is not in its best shape. However, the purpose of the action is for the greater good.
Santosh Desai is a columnist and author.
As told to Deeksha Bhardwaj