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Taj Mahal to reopen at night

AGRA, India, Aug. 12 (UPI) -- The Indian government has decided to reopen the Taj Mahal, one of the country's most famous monuments, at night after 20 years of being closed after sunset.

The famous landmark may soon open on moonlit nights, beginning later this year, BBC reported Thursday.

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"Our proposal is to keep Taj Mahal open for five nights a month -- on the full moon day and two days preceding and succeeding the full moon," said Alok Sinha, senior tourism official.

The federal government, fearing damage by ongoing fighting in nearby Punjab, closed the 17th century mausoleum at night in 1984.

There is little chance the Taj Mahal will be open every night to tourists because that would require floodlights. Artificial night lighting is restricted at the site because it could attract insects that might lay eggs on the white marble.

Emperor Shah Jahan ordered construction of the tomb for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, in 1631. Twenty-thousand workers built the structure, which was completed in 1653.

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