- Yogi Adityanath had skipped the Taj Mahal when he visited Agra in May
- Taj Mahal was not listed in Uttar Pradesh tourism brochure
- It "does not reflect Indian culture," Yogi Adityanath had earlier said
Here are the latest developments:
No BJP Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh has ever visited the Taj, built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as a tribute to his love for his queen, Mumtaz Mahal.
Before he walked into the Taj complex where he spent 30 minutes, he swept a small area outside the Taj, wearing gloves and a baseball hat as part of a cleanliness campaign.
After being made Chief Minister, he had skipped the Taj Mahal when he visited Agra in May. In June, he said that miniature replicas of the Taj, offered often as gifts to foreign dignitaries, were inappropriate offerings because they are not representative of Indian heritage.
After the Taj did not feature in a document released by the UP government to highlight top tourist spots in the state, BJP leaders went on a verbal rampage against the Taj, with Sangeet Som, a lawmaker from the state, alleging it was built by "traitors" who wanted to eliminate all Hindus.
As the controversy surged, the Yogi, who is a priest from eastern Uttar Pradesh, told reporters it had been built with "the sweat and blood" of Indians and and his visit to the monument was promptly scheduled.
The opposition has described the commentary of the BJP leaders against the Taj, one of the seven wonders of the world, as designed to divide Hindus and Muslims in the country's most-populous state.
About four helipads have been readied across Agra for use by the Chief Minister's helicopter today.
The Chief Minister, who also addressed a public meeting later, spoke about the state's development plan for the city including a dam to tide over Agra's water shortage and the proposed international airport at Agra.
Yogi Adityanath also took a swipe at his political rivals for only treated Agra as a picnic spot. But they did little for the city, he said, promising to change this approach.
The row has worried thousands in Agra who depend on tourist arrivals to the western Uttar Pradesh city, a few hours away from the national capital. According to government statistics, every fourth foreign visitor to the country visits the Taj but there has been a decline in the number foreign tourists to the white marble mausoleum widely considered one of the world's seven wonders.