A Walk Through 'Digital' Hampi Made Possible

NEW DELHI: In a first of its kind project, a team of experts from premier institutions like IIT has made a 3D imagery of Unesco World Heritage Site Hampi that will enable people to experience the rich cultural heritage of the ancient city in Karnataka.

A mobile app has also been developed, the users of which will be able to get to see the original Hampi structures which are in ruins now.

"For example if someone points his mobile towards the chariot of the Vittala temple which does not exist in its original shape today he will be able to see it in its full form as it existed," said IIT Delhi professor Santanu Chaudhury, who is involved in the ambitious project.

An exhibition is being organized on November 18-19 at India Habitat Centre where Digital Hampi would be unveiled by Union minister of State for Science and Technology YS Chowdary.

Experts from more than 10 premier institutions including IIT Delhi, IIT Bombay, Indian Statistical Institute and Delhi Technical University are involved in the ambitious Indian Digital Heritage Project, an initiative supported by the Department of Science and Technology.

Hampi is thronged by tourists from around the world throughout the year.

In his famous work "Discovery of India", Jawaharlal Nehru had quoted a Portuguese traveller who wrote that Vijaynagara, of which Hampi is a part, was "as large as Rome and very beautiful to the sight" during the zenith of its glory in the 15th-16th century.

Speaking on the ambitious initiative, Chaudhury said, "Following architectural principles and elements of conjectural recreation we have tried to bring alive the tangible and intangible aspects of the ancient city applying advanced technological methods."

A visitor to the exhibition would be able to take a walk through the spectacular Vittala temple complex or the once thriving Virupaksha Bazaar Street.

The usage of Kinect technology, basically the use of 3D cameras, has made it possible for a visitor to the exhibition to experience a certain level of "physical interaction" with the 3D printed miniature models of the structures, Chaudhury said, adding the "aspect of physical interaction would not be possible if was merely put on a web portal."

Going beyond merely recreating the physical structures, the project also attempts to put life into the cultural aspects of the period.

"We have tried to link the various cultural and geographical aspects at different levels of abstraction structuring them hierarchically," he said.

The Indian Digital Heritage Project aims to bring together technological and cultural perspectives in the representation of heritage involving a large number of academic institutions across the country.

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Source: PTI