India Reopens Taj Mahal Despite Rising Covid-19 Cases

Published September 22nd, 2020 - 07:09 GMT

As India's "monument to love" re-opened on Monday after a six-month hiatus, special rules were introduced -- including no touching the white marble walls of the mausoleum built for a Mughal emperor's favourite wife.

Only 5,000 visitors are allowed daily -- a quarter of usual capacity -- and all have their temperature taken by staff wearing face shields, masks and gloves.

Neither the new rules nor the dangers of catching the coronavirus put off a steady stream of visitors to the breathtaking 17th-century monument on Monday morning.

The return of visitors is a huge relief to the many people of Agra who depend on Taj Mahal tourists for their livelihoods.

A lockdown imposed in March left tens of millions out of work almost overnight, while the economy shrank by almost a quarter between April and June.

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Tourists visit the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP

Tourists visit the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP

Tourists have their pictures taken at the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP

Tourists have their pictures taken at the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP

Tourists visit the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP

Tourists visit the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP

The sun rises behind the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP

The sun rises behind the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP

Tourists take pictures as the visit the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP

Tourists take pictures as the visit the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP

A soldier wearing a facemask as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus stands guard at Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP

A soldier wearing a facemask as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus stands guard at Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP

A view of the Taj Mahal is pictured in Agra on September 21, 2020. India's famed Taj Mahal and some schools reopened on September 21 as authorities pressed ahead with kickstarting the nation’s coronavirus-battered economy despite soaring infection numbers. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP

A view of the Taj Mahal is pictured in Agra on September 21, 2020. India's famed Taj Mahal and some schools reopened on September 21 as authorities pressed ahead with kickstarting the nation’s coronavirus-battered economy despite soaring infection numbers. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP

A security personnel patrols at the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP

A security personnel patrols at the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP

Workers clean the ground at the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP

Workers clean the ground at the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP

Tourists visit the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP

Tourists visit the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP

Tourists visit the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP
Tourists have their pictures taken at the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP
Tourists visit the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP
The sun rises behind the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP
Tourists take pictures as the visit the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP
A soldier wearing a facemask as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus stands guard at Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP
A view of the Taj Mahal is pictured in Agra on September 21, 2020. India's famed Taj Mahal and some schools reopened on September 21 as authorities pressed ahead with kickstarting the nation’s coronavirus-battered economy despite soaring infection numbers. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP
A security personnel patrols at the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP
Workers clean the ground at the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP
Tourists visit the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP
Tourists visit the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP
Tourists visit the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP
Tourists have their pictures taken at the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP
Tourists have their pictures taken at the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP
Tourists visit the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP
Tourists visit the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP
The sun rises behind the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP
The sun rises behind the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP
Tourists take pictures as the visit the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP
Tourists take pictures as the visit the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP
A soldier wearing a facemask as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus stands guard at Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP
A soldier wearing a facemask as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus stands guard at Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP
A view of the Taj Mahal is pictured in Agra on September 21, 2020. India's famed Taj Mahal and some schools reopened on September 21 as authorities pressed ahead with kickstarting the nation’s coronavirus-battered economy despite soaring infection numbers. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP
A view of the Taj Mahal is pictured in Agra on September 21, 2020. India's famed Taj Mahal and some schools reopened on September 21 as authorities pressed ahead with kickstarting the nation’s coronavirus-battered economy despite soaring infection numbers. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP
A security personnel patrols at the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP
A security personnel patrols at the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP
Workers clean the ground at the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP
Workers clean the ground at the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP
Tourists visit the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP
Tourists visit the Taj Mahal in Agra on September 21, 2020. The Taj Mahal reopened to visitors on September 21 in a symbolic business-as-usual gesture even as India looks set to overtake the US as the global leader in coronavirus infections. Sajjad HUSSAIN / AFP