Owing to the jump in the number of COVID-19 infections, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has decided to temporarily shut down many of its sites under select city circles. According to the latest news, sites under Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Trichy, Patna and Raiganj circles will be shut for different durations as mentioned by the central body.
In Delhi, all ASI monuments will be closed until January 20 unless the government decides to ease pandemic containment restrictions according to media reports. ASI manages 174 monuments in Delhi, including the Red Fort, Qutb Minar, Humayun&rsquos Tomb, etc. This is also in line with Delhi Disaster Management Authority restricting all kinds of gatherings in the national capital from January 4.
Monuments under the Kolkata and Raiganj circles will remain closed until January 15. West Bengal has declared partial lockdown until January 15 this year. Some of the popular ASI protected monuments in Kolkata are St John&rsquos Church, Metcalfe Hall, Currency Building, etc.
Monuments under the Patna circle will also remain shut until January 21. Some of the popular monuments under this circle include the ruins of Nalanda Mahavihara, ruins in Rajgir, Mr Ashraf&rsquos Jama Mosque in Patna (city), etc.
Down South, ASI monuments under the Chennai circle will remain shut on January 9 because most of these monuments see a surge in the number of tourists on Sundays. The ASI has also said that to keep the crowd in check, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mahabalipuram and the Tiger Head Caves of Saluankuppam will remain shut between January 7 and 9.
ASI has also decided to shut the monuments under the Bengaluru, Hampi and Dharwad circles over consecutive weekends &ndash January 8 and 9, and January 15 and 16.
While the monuments may be out of bounds for the time being, you may catch a glimpse online here.