Qutub Minar, Red Fort reopen for public. Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, June 16 : After the Central government's order allowing reopening of monuments for the general public from Wednesday, tourists are enthusiastically thronging historical sites like Qutub Minar and Red Fort in the national capital.

Historical buildings, memorial sites and museums protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) have opened their doors for tourists and local visitors as the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic is slowing receding.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the ASI had decided to close historical monuments and sites till June 15 this year.

Qutub Minar and Red Fort were sanitised properly before the arrival of tourists. The people will once again be able to visit the fort by booking e-tickets and scan the QR code using the Paytm app. Tourists must follow social distancing norms inside the monument.

Thermal screening of tourists would be done before entering the fort. They will be permitted to enter the premises only if their body temperature is normal.

Officials working in the Red Fort told IANS that since morning, tourists have started coming, and about 50 tourists have visited the monument so far.

Tourists will have to follow the Covid-19 guidelines. All the tourists who have come so far to the fort are residents of Delhi, we have not seen any foreign tourist till now, said officials at the Red Fort.

Shahzad, a Delhi resident, said the Red Fort had remained closed for a long time due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the people had been confined to their homes. But when the Covid-infected cases are declining it is a good decision taken by the Central government to open monuments for the people again. By visiting the Red Fort and other famous monuments, people will also experience mental recreation.

Archit, a local who visited Qutub Minar in Delhi, said, "I was waiting for Qutub Minar to be opened for people since a very long time. Although there was some problem in booking online tickets due to internet issues, but after some time I was able to book my online tickets. At present, I have visited the Qutub MInar. If there is more time left then I will visit other monuments as well." Minister of State for Tourism Prahlad Singh Patel, had tweeted on Monday saying "The Union Ministry of Culture and Tourism has given approval to duly open all the ASI protected monuments from June 16, 2021. Tourists can visit the monuments following the Covid-19 protocols. Best wishes to everyone." The ASI had earlier ordered closure of all centrally protected monuments from April 16 to May 15. The ASI had again issued an order on May 12 to keep all monuments closed till June 15.

Humayun's Tomb, Abdul Rahim Khan-i-Khanan's or Rahim's Tomb and other important historical places in Delhi have been opened for public viewing from Wednesday. The ASI has been ordered to open 3,693 monuments and 50 museums across the country. However, the final decision to open these historical sites will rest with the district administration.

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