NEW DELHI: The alluring romance of famous monuments seems to be getting a little jaded with lesser-known ones tucked away in mofussil India garnering increased interest by domestic and foreign tourists. While the iconic Taj Mahal continues to maintain its top position in earnings through entry fees, smaller monuments in states witnessed a spike in revenue. The Palace of Tipu Sultan in Bengaluru almost doubled its revenue with Rs 22 lakhs last fiscal.
Last year, the Taj Mahal lost nearly Rs 60 lakh in revenues earned through entry tickets. In the 2014-15 fiscal, the ‘monument of love’ earned Rs 21.78 crore, while in 2012-13, its revenue was Rs 24.58 crore and Rs 22.40 crore in 2013-14. Lesser known monuments such as, the Charminar in Hyderabad and Golconda Fort saw a surge in revenues this year; Rs 91 lakh in 2014-15 over Rs 84 lakh in 2013-14, and Rs 1 crore, up from Rs 92 lakh in the previous fiscal respectively.
Taj Mahal apart, some other big attractions showed a downward revenue trend. Revenues from UNESCO monument Red Fort dropped by Rs 10 lakh to earn Rs 5.9 crore, while the newly restored Humayun Tomb earned nearly Rs 70 lakh during 2014-15. In Delhi, Jantar Mantar made Rs 23 lakh in the last fiscal, a drop of Rs 5 lakh. The Khajuraho Temples lost Rs 20 lakh to earn Rs 2 crore in 2014-15 and Ajanta and Ellora also saw a drop of Rs 2 lakh each.
According to the latest Ministry of Culture figures, many of the 116 ticketed monuments under the jurisdiction of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) were helping fill government coffers. In 2013-14, the ASI earned Rs 96.85 crore from monuments, which dropped to Rs 93.38 crore in 2014-15. Ironically, the money does not to go to the cash-starved ASI’s kitty but to the national treasury. Its battle to get the money for conservation of monuments has come to naught. The excavated remains in Nalanda in Bihar and Rani-ki-Vav (queen’s step well) in Patan, Gujarat, increased their revenues by over Rs 6 lakh each. Rani-ki-Vav was given a Unesco World Heritage Site status this year.
Other monuments that showed increase in revenues, though marginally, include the Rock-cut Hindu Temple at Undavalli and Buddhist Monuments at Guntuplli, both in Andhra Pradesh; Ahom Raja’s Palace at Sibsagar and Ranghar Pavilion at Bisnhudol, both in Assam; ruins of Vikramshila, and Sher Shah Suri’s Tomb in Bihar. On the other hand, the famed remains of Pataliputra in Patna showed a decrease in ticket earnings.