In April this year, with the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had announced that monuments and museums under the central government's control will remain closed. Now, with cases declining, ASI is reopening some of the sites.
The ASI protects 3,691 monuments of which several are ticketed sites. In Delhi alone there are about 170 historical structures under the ASI. Some famous ones such as Red Fort, Humayun&rsquos Tomb, Purana Quila, Qutub Minar, Safdar Jung&rsquos Tomb, and Hauz Khas are among the most visited sites in the city receiving almost 10,000 visitors every day.
On Monday, the Union Minister of culture and tourism Prahlad Singh Patel tweeted that from June 16, all ASI-protected sites will be opened again and visitors have to follow all the required COVID guidelines and protocols.
However, ticket bookings will only be done online right now, an ASI official said. Check here for more information on how to book.
India being rich in history and heritage has thousands of these sites in different parts of the country. Apart from monuments, ASI also protects 50 museums. These sites receive a huge influx of tourists every year due to their architectural beauty and historical importance. In an ongoing effort to market these sites, ASI had announced musical shows in 12 new places in August. Of the heritage sites which have sound and light shows, the memorable ones include the Golconda Fort in Telangana, Chittorgarh Fort in Rajasthan and Purana Qila in Delhi.
Among the 12 new locations approved by the Ministry of Culture, worthwhile mentions are the Leh Palace in Ladakh, Shore Temple in Tamil Nadu and Raigad Fort in Maharashtra. The new events will take place every week to attract more tourists. Reports indicate these can be held in ticketed monuments only which account for about 143 sites out of the total 3,691 monuments managed by the ASI.
India is also a home to 38 UNESCO heritage sites where Maharashtra tops the table with 5 sites. Taj Mahal, Red Fort, Hampi, Amer Fort, Konark Sun temple, Ellora Caves are some of top visited sites in our country.