For the first time in the country, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has launched a free mobile phone app to assist tourists in exploring the undiscovered, less-frequented monuments of Delhi as well as plan their itinerary in the national capital. If successful, the initiative might be emulated in other states too.
Titled ASI-Delhi Circle, the 3.92 MB app is the brainchild of ASI Delhi chief, Superintendent Archaeologist Vasant Kumar Swarankar, who suggested the idea to the heritage conservation agency at a meet in Aurangabad earlier this year. The app is available for all smartphones and can be downloaded from PlayStore.
Divided into four major sections, the app gives complete information about the ASI as well as monuments under its supervision. The first section ‘Monuments’ gives two separate lists — one, of all the popular monuments. The other gives a list of every heritage structure in the city under ASI protection — including archaic gateways, stepwells and places even Delhiites might not have heard of.
“Delhi is an ancient city and many monuments, located in posh localities or heavily crowded residential complexes, are often forgotten when compared to popular heritage sites such as India Gate, Red Fort and Humayun’s tomb. For example, how many people know of Bade Khan and Chote Khan tomb or Bagh-e-Alam Gumbad in Defence Colony in South Delhi? We go to Hauz Khas village so many times for its fine-dining restaurants. But I never knew that a monument, Biwi-aur-Dadi-ka-Gumbad, existed just steps away from the market until I used this app,” Monika Sharma, an IT professional, said.
Along with the name, a picture and brief description of the monument, the app lists its historical importance, names in local parlance and published works for academic references. Moreover, it mentions the nearest Metro station, railway station and bus stand for the convenience of tourists, particularly foreigners. There is also a provision to share the details on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and other sites.
For the convenience of tourists, Google map facility has been added to each monument to ensure visitors have no problem finding the exact location.
The second section of the app titled ‘Gallery’ has a slideshow of pictures of all monuments captured in moonlight.