10/27/2017, 09.07
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In rethink, Uttar Pradesh chief minister says Taj Mahal is 'gem of India'

Yesterday Yogi Adityanath visited famous Islamic monument dedicated to eternal love. The government had decided not to allocate maintenance funds. The site attracts between 40 and 50 thousand tourists per day.

Agra (AsiaNews / Agencies) – Following the tsunami of criticism that overwhelmed the government of Uttar Pradesh for the decision to remove the Taj Mahal from state tour guides, yesterday Yogi Adityanath visited the famous Islamic mausoleum dating to the moghul era. In televised statemnets he announced the u-turn by his administration: "The Taj Mahal is the gem of India and a gift for the whole world. It is an integral part of our culture and the government is committed to its conservation. "

Over the past few weeks, Adityanath's administration was slated for its decision not to budget funds for the maintenance of one of the most famous and visited monuments in the world. Known as a "hymn to eternal love," the emperor moghul Shah Jahan devoted it to the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. It is considered a masterpiece of Muslim art in India and for this reason hated by Hindu nationalists. In 1983, UNESCO incorporated it into the World Heritage Sites; since 2007 is among the wonders of the world.

The chief minister’s U-turn is due to the need to develop tourism in the Indian state. He himself stated that the Agra mausoleum "attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world. It gives the city recognition and creates job opportunities. " Every day about 40-50 thousand tourists visit it and according to Adityanath, "the number could reach 250-300 thousand visitors, with the development of the tourist facilities".

Analysts had pointed out that the choice of the local executives was likely to have a major impact on the profits generated by the monument. First of all, the trade of hundreds of stalls  selling souvenirs outside the site. On the contrary, the state government preferred to point to Hindu religious tourism, allocating funds for the development of the circuit of places dedicated to the worship of Krishna (Mathura, Vrindavan and Govardhan) and Ram, with the announcement of the construction of an "imposing statue "at Ad Ayodhya.

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