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U.P. to approach court over night viewing of Taj Mahal

LUCKNOW: The Uttar Pradesh Government is planning to move the Supreme Court early next year seeking relaxation for tourists visiting the Taj Mahal at Agra for moonlit viewing. The government would approach the apex court in January when the resumption of night viewing of the world famous monument -- following an apex court order -- completes one year.

The State will also petition the court for reduction in the night viewing fee from the current Rs 750 for 30 minutes.

Hinting at the State Government's move, Tourism Minister Kokab Hamid said at present tourists were allowed only a distant glimpse of the Taj during night viewing schedules. ``We will plead the court to allow tourists up to the main edifice so that they can marvel at its beauty,'' he added.

Observing that the entry fee for night viewing was steep for the common man, Mr Hamid said the apex court would be urged to reduce the same so that more people could avail of the facility.

Night viewing is permitted for five nights at a stretch during a full-moon (one full-moon night and two nights each before and after the full-moon). However, any Friday falling in the midst of the schedule is excluded from viewing. Seven teams of 50 tourists each are allowed per night.

Night-viewing of Taj Mahal was banned in 1984, but it resumed for a couple of days in December, 2000 for special reasons. -- UNI

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