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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Trip or tweet?

Sneha Mahale, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, February 13, 2013
First Published: 16:44 IST(13/2/2013) | Last Updated: 01:25 IST(17/2/2013)

Last Sunday, tweeple from India and countries around the world gave up an opportunity to catch up on their sleep and instead, logged on to Twitter to participate in a virtual ‘tweet walk’ of the Taj Mahal in Agra. They followed the conversation using #TM. The walk was conducted by Mumbai-based audio tour creators Audio Compass  with @cyclingsultan, a heritage enthusiast. 


“Our core business is audio guides and making our heritage and culture more accessible to all. We got to know of @cyclingsultan over the last few months. He is a heritage enthusiast and used to informally tweet about Delhi’s heritage monuments while walking through the city. So we got in touch and thought it would allow the thousands of people who follow him to visit the Taj Mahal through his eyes and through our audio tour,” says Gautam Shewakramani, founder, Audio Compass. The two earlier collaborated on a tour of the Agra Fort. It had over 39,414 unique accounts tweeting about the event.

These tweet walks were conducted @cyclingsultan. He decides on what must be covered and uses the Audio Compass guide to help him navigate. So in the case of the Taj Mahal, there were 16 different points of interest and several optional layers of information, including details of how Shah Jahan met Mumtaz, the design and construction of the Taj, the famous Urs ceremony held annually and so on.

“Typically, we find that he sticks to the route suggested by the guide (since we have done extensive research on the best way to visit the monument). But given his enthusiasm for the topic, we find that he adds his own touches and elements to it, some steeped in history and culture while others are observations about the surroundings,” says Shewakramani.

Though they don’t have dates fixed for the next tour as yet, the plan is to promote their other heritage tours in a
similar manner.

For those who may have missed out on the walks, they can be accessed at http://storify.com/audiocompass.


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