Taj Mahal, known as the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage, visit is now makes easy with online entrance ticket booking facility. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is making arrangements to provide such facility from Christmas day. Now tourists can visit Taj Mahal armed with identity proof and printout of the tickets.

This facility is being delayed since a long to put an end to unauthorised entry, fake ticket selling and other dubious means to gain entry to the world heritage monument,.Tourism professionals are hopping that this would give up long queues at the booking windows as advance booking of e-tickets would be available online.

Now the union culture and tourism ministry has given the green signal to the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (ICRTC) which in collaboration with the National Institute of Smart Governance, will operate and monitor the response beginning Dec 25, the birthday of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The Taj Mahal was visited by close to six million tourists in 2013. This year there has been a slight fall in the arrivals, according to industry sources. “But once air traffic increases, as it is most likely to after the announcement by the state government to reduce VAT on aviation fuel in Agra from 22 to just 4 percent, the number of tourists will rise,” said Rajiv Tiwari, president of the Federation of Travel Agents Associations

 ASI officials said the e-tickets would be covered with security features including a bar code. The ASI director general Rakesh Tiwari who visited the Taj Mahal three days ago held meetings with officials and gave the go ahead signal.

After the one-month trial stint at the Taj Mahal, similar facilities would be available for other monuments as well. ASI staffers are being trained and bar code scanners would be installed at the gates, ASI chief in Agra NK Pathak said.