Now a barrier-free Taj Mahal

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Agra, Sep 18: Taj Mahal, the famed 17th century monument of love in Agra, is being made barrier-free with construction of ramps inside the historic mausoleum to enable easy movement for the physically disabled. The monument is being made disabled-friendly by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which is responsible for the upkeep and preservation of the heritage and historical monuments in the country.

There were ramps earlier in Taj Mahal but that were restricted to the main gate of the monument. The ongoing construction of the ramps would enable the physically challenged people to have a much closer view of the exquisite monument and can even touch and feel it. Already many of the proposed ramps are ready. A tourist from Bangkok was extremely happy with the facility of ramps that made his disabled father enjoy a closer view of the Taj Mahal.

"The facility in Taj Mahal for handicapped persons is excellent. I think it's up to the standard. There should be no problem for anybody," said Chechown, a tourist from Bangkok.

Construction work of all the ramps, being made as per the international ratio of 1:12, with each ramp being one-feet high and twelve feet in length to ensure smooth movement for the wheelchairs, would be completed within a month, an ASI official said.

He added that care has been taken to ensure that the ramps don't hamper the beauty of the monument. "We take care that the ramps are created in such a manner that the beauty of the monument doesn't get affected. Tourists don't face any problem and actually benefit from it," said D N Dimri, ASI official.

The Taj Mahal that was built by Mughal emperor Shahjahan as a symbol of his enduring love for his wife attracts millions of tourists every year.

Built by an army of 20,000 stone masons, gem cutters, marble fitters and labourers who toiled for 22 years, the Taj Mahal stands on a marble platform surrounded by ornamental gardens.


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