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Taj City Agra slips to third among great places in India

Thursday, November 12, 2009 08:37:27 PM, UNI

Taj Mahal in Agra is among the seven wonders of the world

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New Delhi: For several decades, Agra has been home to iconic heritage sites which are India's ''crowning glory'' for their historic appeal and breathtaking splendour.


The sheen of Agra, the city that houses the Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri and Agra Fort, however, seems to be fading with a latest survey placing it as third among the great places in India.

The survey by the 'Traveller' magazine of world's greatest places puts the city on the third position, after Rajasthan and Kerala backwaters.


In a list of 133 of "world's greatest places", listed by the survey in the December issue of the magazine, Rajasthan is on the 19th position with a score of 64 while Kerala backwaters is 23rd with a score of 60 and Agra city lies at the 30th position with a score of 52.


In an indication that environmental degradation could be one of the reasons for the fall in the city's ratings, the magazine said, ''Agra, the home to three iconic world heritage sites, is in dire need of environmental planning. Though things are getting better for these historic sites, mainly through the efforts of local heritage protection activists, the town lies in utter neglect,'' it added.


Talking about Rajasthan, the survey said improved tourist facilities in the area, coupled with the "strong sense of identity" and "remarkable appeal and mystique" had fuelled an 8-point jump from a survey five years ago.


About the Kerala backwaters, which was put at number 23, the magazine said, ''The lakes, rivers and canals in this Southern Indian state, which visitors ply aboard houseboats, presents a unique travel and cultural experience.''


Conducted by the National Geographic Society's centre for sustainable destinations, the survey revisits some of the iconic destinations the survey first revisited in 2003 and rated in April 2004.


The conditions of any destination has been rated on the basis of what local governments, residents and business can control -- pollution, cultural quality and authenticity, tourism management -- and what they cannot, such as natural disasters and global economic meltdowns.




















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