A 40-year-old woman from Brazil was one of the early tourists to step inside the Taj Mahal premises as the monument reopened on Wednesday after being closed for around two months due to the Covid pandemic.
Melissa Dalla Rosa shared that it was a "special moment for her to see the Taj Mahal during sunrise and being totally alone at the wonderful place".
The Archaeological Survey of India had announced the reopening of all centrally protected monuments, sites and museums from Wednesday. However, the Agra administration capped the number of visitors at the Taj Mahal to 650 people at a time.
Melissa, who was on a nine-week Yoga tour in India when the lockdown was announced, said, "I came to Agra yesterday from Lucknow only to explore the city as I knew monuments were closed due to the pandemic. But I got information from locals that Taj Mahal will be reopened from Wednesday so I rushed to book my entry ticket."
"I managed to book a ticket by afternoon and today, I came here very early and was the first tourist who stepped inside the premises," said Melissa.
"The experience was magical. Thank you India for this opportunity," she said.
Another tourist, an Indian couple from Lucknow, shared that it was a pleasant experience as there were few tourists.
"I've visited the Taj Mahal many times but today's visit was memorable. I booked tickets online and was able to see the most beautiful white marble mausoleum in the world," said Amir.
"It was a 'waah Taj' moment as it looked so beautiful, birds were chirping, the sun was rising and the premises was clean," he added.
Mamta Tomar, who travelled from Ghaziabad along with her family members, said they had been waiting for a long time to visit the monument.
"Me and my other family members clicked photos from the central tank and captured every moment on our mobile phone," she shared.
Tourists at the Taj Mahal were asked to follow Covid protocols and were thermal screened and sanitised before entering the premises.
Masks were mandatory for everyone and a staff member was available to assist tourists book tickets.
On the first day of its reopening, everyone seemed enthusiastic. Nearby shopkeepers were busy arranging items and cleaning their shops while tourist guides were also spotted at the Shilpgram parking with a smile on their face.