Recommendation by Lemi
When the Himalayan black bears and sloth bears—both endangered species—were rescued from a life of harsh labor, the local villages were stripped of livelihood. The Kalandar -- or Qalandar tribe, as they are known -- have since then turned away from their bear-rearing practices and now anchor their income in taking tourists through the humble rural life of Agra. The life is simple, but the people are generous with what little they have. Homes are sparse earth and thatched structures. Some of their animal-performing traditions remain, however, and the men occasionally perform with a monkey when they’re not going through a routine of magic tricks. Agra is a city rooted deeply in its heritage and a welcoming glimpse into India’s rich history. A vibrant landscape exists outside of the Taj Mahal’s manicured gardens, if tourists are only open enough to explore.