Tourists dwindle as Agra sizzles at 46 degrees

Agra: Tourists visiting Agra to catch a glimpse of Taj Mahal and other historical monuments are facing a tough time as the mercury soared beyond 46 degrees Celsius here, officials said. On Saturday, most of the markets wore a deserted look as tourists chose to avoid visiting the Taj Mahal and other popular spots.

“These days, tourists throng to the Taj either in the morning or after 4 p.m. One can see lots of colourful umbrellas. The sale of cold drinks and filtered water has gone up,” tourist guide Ved Gautam said. A tourist from Orissa complained of heat as red sand-stoned pathways were converted into “sizzlers”. The sight of a dry Yamuna river was also not a delight, Santosh Kumar said.

Many tourists have complained of lack of free drinking water facilities at the monuments, particularly at the Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri.

Amit Sisodia of Agra Beats, a travel group, told IANS: “The foreigners’ presence is negligible and we are noticing a massive drop in the arrival of domestic tourists. Water facilities are not adequate in the monuments.”

“From the Royal Gate of the Taj Mahal to the main structure, it is one long gruelling walk, with no shade. A number of elderly tourists find it tough to cover the distance and are seen waiting under the trees.”