The tourist entry to Taj Mahal, which is listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, has been capped at 40,000 a day and the duration of each visit will be three hours. The decision was taken by central government acting on a proposal from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). A high-level meeting was held in New Delhi on Tuesday in which senior bureaucrats, ASI officials and police and paramilitary officers discussed the issue of uncontrollably high crowds at the historic monument on weekends and holidays.

“Several measures have been proposed by the ASI to ensure a smooth experience at the Taj Mahal and avert any tragedy, including limiting the number of visitors at 40,000 and limiting the validity of entry to three hours. We have no option but to go by these measures,” Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma told The Indian Express.

The 40,000 limit for Indian tourists at the Taj Mahal would include free entry for children aged less than 15 years. At present, children under 15 are given entry without any ticket. The cap on the visitor limit will be put from January 20 and the sale of the tickets will automatically stop when the number reaches 40,000. The option of buying the tickets is advance is also available. As of now, there is no limit on the number of people visiting the monument complex at any point of time.

The move comes after five people were injured in a minor stampede at one of the entry gates to the monument last Thursday. According to ASI, 35,000-40,000 people visit the monument on daily basis. But on weekends and holidays, the numbers become uncontrollably high and the crowd management at the monument becomes a task. Earlier, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), who manages the security at the Taj Mahal had requested ASI to come with solutions to deal with crowd at the monument.