Very soon,one can wander around the lawns of the Qutub Minar sitting continents away. A virtual tour of the monument is part of a new initiative to put Indias heritage structures online. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI),in association with the Ministry of Culture and Google,is creating a 360-degree online imagery of 100 of Indias most significant monuments including Taj Mahal,Khajuraho,and Ajanta and Ellora Caves.
Launched on Thursday at the Qutub Minar lawns,Rajan Anandan,Vice-President and Managing Director,Google India,said,This is on the lines of Googles Art project,wherein Indian museums tours were made available online. Now,these important Indian heritage sites will be available for the world to experience.
The Street View Trekker a 15-kilo wearable backpack camera with multiple lenses on top was brought to the launch to capture images of the monument from all angles. Once the data has been collected,it will be made accessible online. Using this camera,Google has already brought several tourists attractions and UNESCO heritage sites from across the world closer home including Grand Canyon (US),Palace of Versailles (France),Galapagos Islands (Ecuador) and Mount Fuji (Japan). The image bank will be available on Google Maps as well as the World Wonder website: http://www.google.com/ intl/en/culturalinstitute/worldwonders
Qutub Minar is the first Indian monument to go online,followed by Humayuns Tomb. While a final list is not ready yet,most of Indias favourite tourist attractions will be part of the project. Chandresh Kumari Katoch,Union Minister of Culture,said,Through this partnership,we hope to engage more people,here in India and around the world,in discovering our countrys rich history.