The musical pillars of the Vittala Temple in Hampi, currently out of bounds for tourists, will soon come alive if you point your smartphone at it.
So will the history of Nandi Hills, Devanahalli Fort, Belur-Halebid, Shravanabelagola, Gol Gumbaz and the Bahmani tombs. These are among the 20 heritage sites that will have virtual tours and augmented reality (AR).
“The AR – virtual reality components are being implemented by private entities. As they work and conduct research with existing amenities, the department is finalising a master plan for these sites, which will include developing physical infrastructure and training guides,” said TK Anil Kumar, tourism secretary. “Once a master plan is finalised for each site in about seven months, we will focus on creating and enhancing technological components at each site.”
As a pilot, AR interventions are already active in heritage sites in the city such as Cubbon Park, Bangalore Palace, Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace, Bangalore Fort, Lalbagh and some old structures on MG Road. The development of the 20 identified tourist sites is budgeted at ₹120 crore, which includes technological and physical amenities.
Vivek Jain, founder of AR platform FlippAR that is helping the tourism department with this initiative, said that with researched content in place, the team will identify specific areas of interest in every location.
The venture’s free mobile application uses image and object recognition, matches realtime photos with the database to display information on the smartphone. It has 30,000 downloads on Android and iOS platforms.
“Since most of these are Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)-protected sites, getting clearances for placing floor markers is taking time. Markers are areas where people can stand and activate AR on their smartphones,” Jain said.
FlippAR is among the eight Bengaluru-based startups that were chosen last year by the tourism department to create solutions for various aspects of tourism — from food and fuel pumps en route, to accommodation and tech-led touristic experiences.
Meera Iyer, convenor, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, Bengaluru, said that while the locations identified are already high on footfall, technology will provide additional impetus to improve visitor experience.
“In Sannati, for example, you only see statues and panels of sculptures. Knowing what it means and how it looked years ago will help people engage with it better,” she said. “The department will, however, need to be clear on how exactly it plans to implement technology on-site and whether getting ASI clearances will be possible for the same.”
This is as per a news report in the Economic Times.