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Bad idea: Turning the Taj Mahal into a theme park

There are disasterous plans in the works to enhance visitor experience at the Taj Mahal by building a Ferris wheel nearby and surrounding the iconic mausoleum with ropewalks, a suspension bridge, and cable cars.

‘Tourist trap’ threat to Taj Mahal, our headline said this morning. The Taj Mahal, has, of course, long been a tourist trap, one of those sights that we can take in only as part of a swarm of camera-clicking visitors. Nearly three million people a year are drawn to visit it. Somehow, 360 years on, it is still surviving the swarm. The threat to it now has less to do with improvement than with greed, a greed that infantilises rather than enhances experience.

OP Jain, the mild-mannered spokesman of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, has commented that “the people who come to see the Taj are not the kind of people who like to go by ropeway or see it in front of a Ferris wheel”.

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