ASI monuments to remain open till 9PM? Government plans so
Almost 4,000 historical sites under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) may have to junk their "closed-after-the-sunset" dictum and remain open for visitors till 9 pm, if a blueprint being prepared by the Ministry of Culture sees the light of day. The Ministry of Tourism also has proposed that at sites with considerable footfall, activities should be arranged to draw more visitors. Know more.
"A major issue with our historical sites is that they close at sunset. This means that a tourist has nothing to do post-evening. We can have more light-and-sound shows, exhibitions and even plays to draw more tourists," said a senior official. "Those who come to India for business trips get free time in evenings and want to visit the sites, but cannot," he added.
Also, the commercial establishment around the sites will be able to generate more revenue consequently, the official noted. While these plans are currently being finalized, sources said Cultural Minister Mahesh Sharma himself is keen to push the closing time of the 3,686 centrally protected monuments/sites under the ASI till at least 8PM. However, one major concern remains security issues in and around the monuments.
Many of the monuments, in fact, are not even illuminated at night because of this reason, Sharma said. In fact, the Tourism Ministry has proposed to the ASI to not only keep these monuments open after the sunset but also to illuminate them sufficiently.
"Before we keep them open till late, we'd need infrastructural upgrades- more toilets, benches, additional guards and most importantly, we need to plan activities every day to keep tourists engaged," the official said. India has seen a 15.6% spurt in foreign tourists in 2017, as compared to the year earlier. Also, foreign tourist arrivals this March was 10.26L as compared to 9.05L last March.