Agra gears up for visit by royal couple

Agra: Hectic preparations are underway to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Prince William and Kate Middleton to Taj Mahal on April 16.

Local administration and police officials are making elaborate arrangements to ensure that the British royal couple has a memorable trip to the 17th century ‘monument of love’, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Officials said a review has been made of the security arrangements and hotels in the tourist complex area on the Fatehabad road have been directed to report the arrival of visitors from certain countries.

Prince William and Kate will arrive here on Saturday afternoon by a special plane. After having lunch here, they will head to the Taj Mahal at around 4 PM. They are scheduled to return late in the evening.

Superintending archaeologist Bhuvan Vikram said that the scaffolding around minarets for repair work will not be dismantled, nor visitors stopped to the iconic monument.

Officials clarified that the entry of visitors is restricted only for visits by heads of government.

The road from Kheria airport to the eastern gate of the Taj Mahal is being spruced up for the royal visit while Agra Development Authority (ADA) has arranged for a special battery -run bus from the hotel to the Taj gate.

Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports said UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav may welcome the royal couple in Agra.

The Central Industrial Security Force, which is in charge of security arrangements inside Taj Mahal, will provide the watch for the visit by Prince William and Kate.