It’s a source of great shame at the bpb office that neither of the Secret Scouters have been to The Taj Mahal. Have we lost our marble, you ask? We certainly have. While you glare at us angrily, Mumbai-based entrepreneur Gautam Shewakramani goes one step further to recommend his newly developed Taj Mahal Official Tour app for Android and iOS .
Launched on June 6, 2012, this app is also officially available as an audio tour at the Taj Mahal monument site in nine different languages. And today, in honour of Shah Jahan’s 357th death anniversary, you can download it for free (the Android app however, isn't available for free). The app has been developed by Audio Compass, a company that has been working closely with the Indian Tourism Board since April last year, to create audio tours for heritage sites in India like the Agra Fort, the Buddhist monuments at Sanchi, Salarjung Museum at Hyderabad and khajuraho Temple in Jabalpur.
“While we do work with researchers and historians, the apps and audio tours aren’t just about straight up information. It’s also about fun, about creating an experience,” says founder Gautam, who holds degrees in Film and Computer Science from University of Notre Dame and an MBA from MIT. So for instance, if your Taj Mahal app/audio tour device is on while you’re at the monument site’s garden, you can tune into the Emperor and Mumtaz’s audible love story, complete with background sounds that transport you to Meena Bazaar, where the couple first met (free trial on their website here). Similar aquatic sounds are recorded while you hear about Shah Jahan’s massive, luxurious bath tub. Some people at the office are intrigued to know what historical sounds would make up the khajuraho app. Talking dirty?
Bombay Sound Check
Starting first week of July, Audio Compass will also launch two Mumbai multi-media walks – one in South Bombay that compares the city in 1947 and 2012 through two fictional characters; and the other is a Bollywood tour complete with star home visits. While these still sound a bit clichéd to us, Gautam promises that the slickly-produced multi-media will set the walks apart from the other tours already available in the city.
The Audio Compass apps also come with disclaimers that advise you not to look at your phone while crossing the street at Horniman Circle or around the Taj. Take their advise or you might have to sacrifice more than your skilful hands for the love of India.
Getting there: Visit www.audiocompass.in, download the app for free today June 19, 2012, after which it costs USD 1.99.
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