India’s iconic Taj Mahal has reopened its doors to visitors after six months - the longest it has ever been shut since it was built in the 17th century.
It was closed as the country went into a stringent lockdown in March to halt the spread of coronavirus.
It will now allow only 5,000 visitors daily and enforce Covid-19 safety measures as cases spike, reports BBC.
The Taj Mahal is one of the world's leading tourist attractions, and drew as many as 70,000 people every day before the pandemic.
The 17th-Century marble mausoleum was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his queen Mumtaz Mahal. It was last shut briefly in 1978 when Agra city, where it is located, flooded. And before that, the monument closed for a few days in 1971, during a war between India and Pakistan.
Selfies allowed, not group photos
The entire campus was sanitised before the doors opened at 8am and all officials were seen wearing masks and face shields, local journalist Yogesh Kumar Singh, who was at the monument when it opened, told the BBC.
Authorities said there would be temperature checks at the entrance, and visitors would be asked to use digital payment methods to buy tickets.
They have also been told to follow social distancing on the property.
While visitors can take selfies or solo photographs, group photos are not allowed.
"But there is no rush, it feels so unlike Taj Mahal," Singh said. "I think many people will not turn up as long as cases continue to spike."
India has reported more than five million cases so far, and Uttar Pradesh, where the Taj is located, has the country's fifth-highest caseload.
The Indira Gandhi Cultural Centre (IGCC), High Commission of India in Dhaka organized a virtual poem recitation event “Tribute to Bangabandhu- Kobir Konthey Kobita (Poems by Poets)” in collaboration with the Bongiya Shahitya Sangskriti Samsad (Bangiya Society for Literature and Culture) on Tuesday.
The event broadcasted live on IGCC's Facebook page on Tuesday night, showcasing 16 renowned Bangladeshi poets who performed solo recitations of self-composed poems showering tributes for the statesmanship, qualities of benevolence, his pragmatism and the supreme sacrifice the Father of the Nation made for his country.
Marking the ongoing 'Mujib Borsho' celebration (birth centenary of the Father of the Nation), the great leader has also been reflected in these poems as the subject and as an epitome of inspiration for the generations to come.
Ekushey Padak, Independence award and Bangla Academy Award winning eminent poet Nirmalendu Goon, Member Secretary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Memorial Trust Sheikh Hafizur Rahman, Bangla Academy Director General Habibullah Sirajee, Chief Coordinator of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Birth Centenary Celebration National Implementation Committee Dr. Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury, Ekushey Padak winning poet Nazmun Nesa Piari, Bangla Academy award winning poet Maruful Islam, former Secretary of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs Azizur Rahman Aziz, National Human Rights Commission Chairman Nasima Begum, among others, recited their self-written poems at the event, honoring the Father of the Nation and his eventful life.
The webcast is available for viewers on the Facebook page of IGCC at www.facebook.com/IndiraGandhiCulturalCentre/
Saied Muhammad Zareef Saleh, who is only 13-years-old, has become the youngest jury member of the International Art Contest ‘The Future We Want’.
Perception Change Project of UN Geneva on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations organised the programme, said a press release issued on Sunday.
US citizens or lawfully permanent residents from 44 countries participated (youth 13-15 years) the programme.
In the first step of the competition, the artworks received 17,000 online votes and finally the 3 winners were selected by the jury.
Director General Tatiana Valovaya of the United Nations office at Geneva appreciated Zareef on 27th August 2020.
Zareef is the child of Deputy Commissioner (Headquarters) of Barisal Metropolitan Police ARM Saleh and engineer Nishat couple.
Earlier, Saied Muhammad Zareef Saleh became winner of several national and international art contests including Kids4HumanRights of UN Drawing Contest.
Observing the National Mourning Day and 45th martyrdom anniversary of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman - Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) commemorated Bangabandhu and the martyrs of August 15 through various cultural programmes broadcast on its official Facebook page on Saturday.
The cultural organization arranged two virtual programmes as part of its ongoing month-long cultural arrangements titled 'Shilper Aloy Bangabandhu' (Bangabandhu through the Light of Cult), broadcast live on Facebook enthralling audiences from home and abroad.
'Baul er konthe Bangabandhu' (Bangabandhu through the voice of the Bauls) was the first event went live at 5 pm. The programme was joined by prominent cultural persona Syed Hasan Imam and Public Service Commission Chairman Dr Muhammed Sadique as its chief guests.
Prominent Baul artists Kangalini Sufia, Baul Shafi Mondol, Latif Shah, Samir Baul, Rakhi Shabnam, Diti Sarkar, Siddikur Rahman, Nasrin Jannat, Suman Kumar Das, Lalon researcher and singer Sardar Hirak Raja, instrumental artist Md Solaiman, recitation artist Mahmuda Akhtar and BSA singer Rukhsana Akhtar Rupsha presented enthralling musical performances as tributes to the Greatest Bengali of All Time at the event.
Presided by BSA Director General Liaquat Ali Lucky, the event was hosted by Ashraful Hassan Babu.
The Academy then hosted a special Webinar followed by a unique 'Jatra' segment at 8 pm from its official Facebook page.
Eminent artist Mustafa Monwar and veteran recitation artist - thespian Jayanta Chattopadhyay joined as the chief guests at the programme titled 'Bangalir Mohanayak: Jatra Shilper Nobojatra', along with poet Minar Monsur and instrumental artist Sushanta Das.
Prominent actress Aruna Biswas hosted the event, with BSA Director General Liaquat Ali Lucky as the chair.
Four Jatra troupes presented flamboyant Jatra performances at the show from different places of the country.
Netrokothon, a Jatra troupe from Netrokona performed 'Jatir Pitar Atmodan' (Sacrifice of the Father of the Nation), Bagura's Balaka Opera performed 'Bipoder Bondhu Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib' (Bangabandhu as the Rescuer), Jashore-based Jatra troupe The Caesers Jatra Unit performed 'Banglar Mohanayak' (The Great Hero of Bangla) and Shwadhin Bangla Natyagoshthi from Dhaka showcased Jatra titled 'Roktosnato 71' (Blood-bathed 71) at the virtual Jatra event.
The 44th death anniversary of national poet Kazi Nazrul Islam is being observed on Thursday.
Nazrul, revered as Bidrohi Kobi (a rebel poet) for his activism for political and social justice, breathed his last in Dhaka on 12th Bhadro of Bangla calendar year 1383 (August 29, 1976) at the age of 77. He was buried with full state honour beside the Dhaka University Central Mosque.
Nazrul produced a large body of poetry and music with themes that included religious devotion and spiritual rebellion against all sorts of oppression.
Different socio-cultural and political organisations are marking the day with various programmes following health guidelines due to coronavirus pandemic.
Television channels are airing special programmes on Nazrul’s works and life.
Nazrul’s powerful poems inspired people to fight against all kinds of odds and injustice and repression during the colonial rule while his songs and poems were also a great source of inspiration for the freedom fighters during the country’s Liberation War in 1971.
Kazi Nazrul Islam was born on May 24 in 1899 at Churulia village in Asansol subdivision of Burdwan district of West Bengal, India.
Also read: Nazrul’s death anniversary being observed