Google India and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on Thursday announced their partnership for creating the 360-degree online imagery of 100 most important heritage sites in the country, including Taj Mahal, Khajuraho, Qutub Minar and Ajanta and Ellora caves.
“The collaboration, which will create virtual walkthroughs of our sites, is a gigantic step and, with ASI completing its 150th year, this will prove to be a big milestone for us. The aim of this project is to bring the heritage of our country closer to the people and to disseminate among the youth our rich cultural legacy,” Union Minister of Culture Chandresh Kumari Katoch said at the project's launch. Commenting on the criteria for choosing the sites, the minister said, “A hundred nationally-important monuments have been chosen on priority basis. The list will soon be finalised.”
On the other hand, Google aims to make information more accessible to users across the globe. In association with ASI, Google will bring the Street View Trekker, a wearable backpack with a camera installed at the top, to capture the imagery in remote places that can be reached only by foot. The concept is already a hit abroad —the Grand Canyon in the US and Mt Fuji in Japan have been covered by it.
Once published, the imagery will be available on Google Maps and on the World Wonders site with the Google Cultural Institute. It will allow people to explore the various historical locations in the country online.
Rajan Anandan, vice president and managing director, Google India, told reporters “India has vast cultural diversity and with the help of technology, we can share the Indian experience with the rest of the world more effectively than ever before.”
Google India will start collecting images of the approved sites by ASI from next week and publish them accordingly.
Google India and the Ministry of Culture had earlier partnered on the creation of virtual walkthroughs for the National Gallery of Modern Art and the National Museum in the national capital.