India may restrict tourist entry to preserved ancient monuments


NEW DELHI, India – Worried over complaints of tourists sitting on ancient monuments and inscribing graffiti on them, officials of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) are mulling over a proposal to restrict the entry of visitors from getting close to the preserved structures.

“We are receiving complaints from tourists that some persons are sitting on structures, which are already quite old and needed to be preserved with great care. The shore temple at Mamallapuram is one such site and tourists who touch the centuries-old structure and stain the sculptures with sweat,” K. Lourdusamy, Superintending Archaeologist of ASI said.

At present, tourists are allowed to go near the temple, which is also one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

“They go near these monuments intending to take selfies. It is very difficult for our field workers to keep an eye over all the tourists. If we allow the tourists entry only around the structure and not inside the temple, it would help,” he said. Though this has been an issue for ASI officials in other old sites too, such as the Big Temple at Thanjavur, the shore temple at Mamallapuram needs more protection, as the monument built in the 8th century AD, is located close to the sea, facing strong winds with salt content.

“We are also thinking whether we should cover the structure during the nights to reduce the impact of winds for at least 10 to 12 hours,” he said.