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Google releases imagery of Indian heritage sites
Saturday February 22, 2014 9:56 AM, IANS

Enthusiasts can now explore 360 degree online imagery of 30 Indian heritage sites, including the Taj Mahal, Qutub Minar and Red Fort, which were released by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and Google.

The launch was the result of Google and ASI's joint initiative to make 100 of India's most important heritage sites more accessible for the world to experience. With this, Google intends to help share India's culture and heritage with people at home and abroad.

"It is commendable that the ASI is taking forward its mission of embracing partnerships for the future in order to preserve and propagate the rich heritage of India's past. I am happy to celebrate the successful culmination of an agreement that the culture ministry and the ASI entered into with Google in 2013," Culture Minister Chandresh Kumari Katoch said at the launch Thursday.

"This project makes it possible for billions of people across the world to see and explore our magnificent heritage virtually," she added.

The images of sites, including the Taj Mahal, Humayun's Tomb, Qutub Minar, Red Fort, Jantar Mantar, Fatehpuri Sikri, Itimad-ud-Daula, Agra Fort, Krishnagiri Fort, Rajagiri Fort, Chandragiri Fort, Nagarjuna and Raigad Fort, can be accessed on Google Maps through Street View.

"Google is committed to help in preserving and showcasing cultural heritage across the world. We hope the imagery will help make India's heritage and culture more accessible," said Rajan Anandan, vice president and managing director of Google India.

"Within the next six to seven months, we plan to get the remaining 70 sites online as well," Anandan told IANS.

Anandan added that this will allow people, who would never get to visit Agra, enjoy the Taj Mahal.

"Imagine 1/3rd of India's population being able to visit 30 of India's most prized heritage sites. It will be fantastic," he said.

Pravin Srivastava, director general of the ASI said the images will help preserve India's identity for generations to come.

"The images coming online through Google Maps and the Google Cultural Institute provide a new way for people around the world to view, interact with, and learn about some of the most important heritage monuments of India," he said.

The images have been captured using the Street View Trekker, which is a wearable backpack equipped with 15 lenses.

Each lens is pointed in a different direction enabling to create a 360-degree panoramic view.

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