Bangladesh president's delayed arrival leads to Taj Mahal chaos

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Agra, Dec 21: Hundreds of tourists who had purchased entry tickets to visit the Taj Mahal were left in the lurch, when they had to return without being able to view the monument due to the delayed arrival of the Bangladesh President M Abdul Hamid.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had informed the public earlier that the site would remain closed for a couple of hours in the afternoon but the dignitary's delayed arrival Saturday led to chaos at the entry gates, where thousands had to wait for several hours.

"And when our turn came, the gates were closed for the day," said Ramesh Bhai, a tourist from Ahmedabad.

Most tourists were not aware of the arrival of the foreign dignitary and the weekend pressure added to the trouble.

"The least the ASI could have done was to allow tourists to visit the Taj the following day with the same tickets," said hotelier Surendra Sharma.

"It is the local administration and the security agencies who decide these matters. We can do nothing about this," said N.K. Pathak, ASI chief, Agra.

Tourists blamed the travel agents for the situation.

The Bangladesh president who spent about half an hour at the site wrote in the visitors' register: "I am truly delighted to visit this great architectural wonder of the world epitomising eternal love and the height of human excellence. The great monument reminds us of the glorious past of the subcontinent. Let the spirit behind Taj Mahal's creation inspire all with love for humankind."

IANS

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