Shah Jahan's 'Urs' boosts tourism in Agra

Agra: Scores of tourists visited Taj Mahal on the occasion of 364th death anniversary of Shah Jahan. The ‘Urs’ of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, is a religious occasion which is observed every year at the Taj Mahal to commemorate the death anniversary of the emperor.

The visitors carried a 1221m long, multicoloured chadar and marched towards the grave of the Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz. Emperor Shah Jahan’s death anniversary came as a boost to the tourism in Agra, as it is the only time of the year when anyone, be it a foreign tourist or a local citizen, can see the original graves of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz located in an underground chamber.

The chamber with original graves is placed underneath the fake graves, which are the ones usually viewed by tourists under the main dome. On the occasion, the monument gates were opened for everyone for free. Visitors from all across the globe participated in the celebrations.

Mohbesh Shabi, who came all the way from Kerala to visit the monument said, “I am here with my family and it is so good to be a part of the celebrations. The best part is that there is no entry fee, as one generally needs to shell out INR 50 as the entry fee.” Syyed Munawar Ali, one of the organisers, said, “Today we have waived the entry fee, people as per their devotion can offer colourful cloth pieces (chaadar chadana) at the grave.”

The Taj Mahal observed the annual Urs of Emperor Shah Jahan from April 2 to April 4. Standing majestically on the banks of River Yamuna, it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for being "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage". In 2007, it was declared a winner of the New7Wonders of the World (2000–2007) initiative. According to the official website of Uttar Pradesh Tourism, the Taj Mahal attracts around 7 to 8 million visitors annually, with more than 0.8 million from overseas.

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