Mamallapuram, a Tamil Nadu town classified as a Unesco world heritage site, has beaten the Taj Mahal in the number of foreign visitors, according to the Indian Tourism Statistics 2022 released by the tourism minister.
As per the report, 1,44,984 foreign visitors came to Mamallapuram, located about 60 km from Chennai, in 2021-22. The number amounted to 45.50 per cent of the foreigners who visited the top 10 most popular and centrally protected monuments with ticketed access.
The Taj Mahal, in Agra, occupied the second spot with 38,922 foreign visitors, accounting for 12.21 per cent of total such visitors.
Six of the top 10 monuments on the central list are in Tamil Nadu. They are the tiger-headed, rock-cut temple and two other monuments in coastal hamlet Saluvankuppam in Chengalpattu district, the Gingee Fort near Gingee district, the Vattakottai Fort near Kanyakumari district, the Thirumayam Fort, the rock-cut Jain temple and Sittanavasal in Pudukkottai district.
The Agra Fort (Uttar Pradesh) with 13,598 foreign visitors, the Qutb Minar (Delhi) with 8,456 visitors and the Red Fort (Delhi) with 5,579 visitors are some other monuments on the list.
The report also said the top five states for domestic tourist visits in 2021 were Tamil Nadu (115.33 million), Uttar Pradesh (109.70 million), Andhra Pradesh (93.27 million), Karnataka (81.33 million) and Maharashtra (43.56 million).
“These five states accounted for about 65.41 per cent of the total domestic tourist visits in the country,” the report added.