Mughal Heritage Walks and Trail Make Sustainable Livelihoods in Heritage Cities, Agra

Two Heritage Walks and a Heritage Trail have been developed in Agra to promote sustainable livelihoods for the city's poor. Structured as community business enterprises, these paid Walks showcase the lesser known heritage and culture of Mughal Agra. The Mughal Heritage Walk (MHW) is a 1 km walking loop that links the ancient village (Kucchpura), the first Mughal observatory, the Humayun Mosque and the Mehtab Bagh. The Walk itself is a subset of a longer heritage trail connecting four ASI conserved monuments - the Itamt-ud-Daulah, Chini ka Rauza, Ram Bagh with agricultural dykes, fields and the riverbank. The Taj Mumtazabad Walk in Tajganj, the city's core area, presents the Mughal culture marble inlay, zardozi embroidery, pottery, the kite and pigeon flying, Sanjhi art form, as also the private heritage belonging to the descendents of the builders of the Tajmahal - the House with Nine Pillars, the Tazia courtyard and private artifact collections. Community youth were trained to facilitate the Walks and organize courtyard plays. Using an ecosystems approach, other local businesses were spawned along the walk route - souvenir making, tea terrace, bag and shoe making, etc. to ensure wider community engagement and benefits.

Income generated from these Walks is banked in a Community Development Fund that is managed by a committee with community representation. The money is spent on making payments to contributors and the remaining is available to the community for development of their settlement.

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