According to the popular history, Mughal ruler Shah Jahan ordered the construction of Taj Mahal to commemorate his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. After 20 years of hard work from nearly 20,000 workers from the Indian subcontinent, Persia and Europe; the fascinating architectural design crystallised into a magnificent monument. Its sheer brilliance is such that it is routinely included in the list of 7 Wonders of the World and draws a huge number of tourists from across the globe. It used to be the top draw in terms of revenues among all the tourist attractions in the country but over the years the revenues have been spiralling downwards.
Taj Mahal Issues
Earlier in March, Union Ministry of Culture said in a report that revenues generated through entry fee at the Taj Mahal have seen a steep decline in the recent years. Divulging the report, the ministry said that the revenues in 2013-14 stood at Rs 21.8 crore while in 2014-15 it was Rs 21.2 crore and dipped down to alarming levels in 2015-16 to Rs 17.8 crore. Although it still ranks at the top but the iconic Mughal monument has apparently taken a hit in the last 3 years and the growing controversies around it will certainly not do any good to it.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath further dampened the gloomy condition of the Taj Mahal by leaving it out from Uttar Pradesh’s cultural heritage. When the annual state budget was presented earlier in July, the Taj was not included in the list of heritage monuments that would benefit from it. The Agra-based monument was dealt another blow after state authorities evicted it from the list of tourist attractions in Uttar Pradesh. To appease the growing dissent, UP CM later announced a cash injection Rs 156 crore for the development of Taj Mahal.
A huge storm has triggered in the past one month over Taj Mahal as one after another politician, especially the ones affiliated to ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, keeps attacking the UNESCO world heritage site. Taj Mahal has enjoyed a glorious past and has survived several natural calamities over the years but whether it will survive through the fierce political tests, only time will tell.