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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Wah Taj: Meet Agra tourist guide Ritik Gupta who refused to do MBA

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Meet Ritik Gupta, an Agra local who forewent pursuing an MBA in order to develop Trocals, a tourism firm that helps travellers discover the city’s lesser-known marvels, from food to history and heritage.

Ritik Gupta, like many others in their twenties, was unsure what to do with his life.

While he was confident he wanted to produce something unique, he was unsure of the ‘whats’ and ‘hows’. Being from the tiny town of Agra, he believes he had just two options: join his family company or pursue further education.

Even after being accepted into a prestigious MBA programme, the 24-year-old did not feel like his life was heading in the right direction. He spent his days coming up with new ideas and hunting for new chances.

When he opted to turn down admission offers and not pursue an MBA, he had no idea that he would one day start his own tour company. He began researching the history of untapped parts of Agra, driven by a desire to exhibit visitors his hometown’s rich art, culture, and tradition.

Trocals guides tourists on walking tours of the city, giving personal and universal experiences about the area.

The Ancient Agra trip visits lesser-known locations like as Jama Mosque, Kinari Bazar, Mankameshwar Temple, and the spice bazaar of Rawat Para, Seth Gali, and others. The culturally rich sites of Aga Khan Ki Haveli, Darjah of Ahmed Bhukhari, Itmad ud Daulah, Chini Ka Rauza, and Mehtab Bhag are also explored on the walking excursions.

Ritik notes that the city is packed of historical landmarks. Itmad ud Daulah, for example, is the Mughal mausoleum of Itmad-ud-Daulah. Commonly nicknamed ‘Baby Taj’ or the ‘Draft of Taj’, it is a beautiful mausoleum with elaborate marble sculptures. It was created by Nur Jahan, the daughter of I’timd-ud-Daula, as a testament to a daughter’s devotion for her father.

Another testament to love may be seen at a peaceful catholic cemetery, which was erected by a sad widow Ann Hessings in memory of her husband John Hessings, who died defending Agra Fort from the British in 1803.

Trocals also offers an unusual method to learn about culture and food: cooking with locals. They organise cooking sessions with Ritik’s family so that tourists receive a real sight and flavour of traditional vegetarian Agra food like as bedai kachori, jalebi, and several types of chaat, among other things.

Ritik, in addition to pursuing his own profession, wished to provide work possibilities for the city’s residents and craftspeople.

The handicrafts workshops include marble inlay, leather shoe, and zardosi.

Trocals also plants a tree after each walk to help local artist groups.

Returning following COVID-induced lockdowns, he claims that the corporation is at an all-time high.

Trocals want to continue helping local artists and planting trees to make Agra greener in the future. They also intend to work with local schools for impoverished students.


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