New Delhi: The Union Minister of Tourism and Culture, Prahlad Singh Patel on Saturday announced free entry to women visitors at all ASI-protected monuments on the International Women's Day on March 8.
These include the world's most visited site Taj Mahal in Agra in Uttar Pradesh.
"In exercise of the powers conferred under Rule 6 of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Rules, 1959, the ASI Director General hereby directs that no fee shall be charged from women visitors to all centrally protected ticked monuments on March 8 (Sunday) on International Women's Day," a circular issued by ASI headquarters in New Delhi said.
Union Culture and Tourism Minister Prahlad Singh Patel told IANS: "Though the Women's Day is celebrated on March 8 every year, it has always been a tradition in India to respect women like 'devi' (godess); such are the values of India."
"On this Women's Day we will showcase our respect to the 'devis' by giving them free entry to any ASI monument. Har kaam desh ke naam (every work in the country's name)," Patel added.
Women will hence be allowed free entry to monuments like Red Fort, Qutub Minar, Humayun's Tomb, Taj Mahal, Sun Temple in Konark, Mamallapuram, Ellora caves, Khajuraho monuments, and the Ajanta caves.
Patel also talked about the initiatives taken by the ASI and Tourism Ministry for women tourists convenience.
"We have made sure that monuments across the counyty have baby feeding/childcare rooms. The service is available at the Taj Mahal," Patel said.
The Ministry has also deployed women security guards at these monuments, along with separate entry and exit points for women at some monuments like Red Fort and Taj Mahal.
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.