History buffs across the globe will soon be able to take virtual tours of 100 heritage sites across the country, with the Archaeological Survey of India making them available online.

The ASI has partnered with Google to create online imagery of the country’s important heritage sites. The objective is to popularise these sites globally, attract public-private partnership and digitally preserve these sites for future generations.

Generate awareness

Against the backdrop of Qutub Minar here on Thursday, Union Culture Minister Chandresh Kumari Katoch said the collaboration aims to generate interest and consciousness among Indians towards safeguarding the national cultural heritage.

The Minister said the ASI is keeping pace with the changing times, even in its 151st year.

She said: “We have always embraced technology. The new panoramic imagery of monuments will allow the ASI to boldly take forward its mission of embracing partnerships for the future in order to preserve and propagate the rich heritage of India’s past.”

360-degree online imagery

The Ministry of Culture and Google signed a Memorandum of Understanding which will allow the Street View Trekker, a backpack with a camera mounted on top, to capture 360-degree online imagery of sites including Humayun’s Tomb and the Ajanta and Ellora caves.

Designed to capture images in remote sites, the Street View Trekker has been used at the Grand Canyon in the U.S., Mount Fuji in Japan and the historic city of Venice.

ASI director general Praveen Srivastava said making a part of the country’s rich cultural heritage accessible was an important initiative. “The ASI identified the sites, including 20 world heritage sites, and our team did a commendable job. Apart from the images, there would be comprehensive background about each site.”

He said all the sites come under the jurisdiction of the ASI. These images will be available on Google Maps and on the website of the world’s wonders.

Google managing director Rajan Anandan said in a country like India, which has 5,000 years of history, technology can help in sharing the ancient heritage with rest of the world.