India Gate, Taj Mahal Stand Alone: Lockdown Empties Tourist Spots

Iconic tourist spots wear a deserted look as coronavirus pandemic forces them to shut down to keep crowds at bay.  

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Video Editor: Varun Sharma

Imagine the India Gate standing alone, or the Taj Mahal completely deserted, the barren ghats of Varanasi, the desolate beaches of Goa and Puducherry or the vacant houseboats in Srinagar’s Dal lake and Kerala’s backwaters.

The 21-day nationwide lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 24 March to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus also directs iconic tourist spots, heritage sites and places of worships to keep crowds at bay.

Following the lockdown, all the iconic tourist spots - the Red Fort in Delhi, the Rumi Darwaza in Lucknow, Kolkata’s Victoria Memorial, Mumbai’s Gateway of India, the Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai, the Charminar in Hyderabad, the Jantar mantar in Jaipur, Amritsar’s Golden Temple, Guwahati’s Kamakhya Temple, Odisha’s Konark Sun Temple or Bodh Gaya’s Mahabodhi Temple - all wear a deserted look.

Not just in India, tourist spots in several other countries have turned into ghost towns as well following lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic.

New York’s Times Square which otherwise buzzes with people at any given point of time, is nearly empty throughout the day.

Italy was one of the first countries to direct a total lockdown. Since then, some churches have remained open for individual prayer, but all public Masses are forbidden.

Many of Paris's iconic sites, including the Louvre and Versailles Palace, remain closed. The most impactful closure has been the shutdown of the Eiffel Tower, the most visited paid monument in the world.

Though Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro faced flak for downplaying the seriousness of COVID-19, Rio de Janeiro governor Wilson Witzel went ahead and declared a state of emergency. The city's iconic Christ the Redeemer statue is closed to visitors, and typically crowded beaches like Copacabana and Ipanema wear a deserted look.

(With inputs from AP)

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