After Hampi, will Tirupati get its heritage digitised?

Proposal sent to Sujana, State govt., says Vijay Chandru, who is building knowledge base for IDH project

: As Hampi hogs the limelight for getting its rich heritage in digital format, all eyes are now on the temple city of Tirupati to get a similar tag.

It all started with the Department of Science and Technology taking up the Indian Digital Heritage (IDH) project as a collaborative effort among cultural anthropologists, art historians and technologists to digitally document and archive the heritage sites, the historical facts and the rich folklore associated with them. Hampi was chosen for the novel experiment.

“The idea is to document every minute detail in all the historical sites and as well present them in an entertaining manner to the public,” says Vijay Chandru, who heads the Digital Heritage Technology wing at the International Institute for Art, Culture and Democracy (IIACD), Bengaluru, and is building the knowledge bank for IDH.

Painstaking efforts

In an exclusive interview to The Hindu , Dr. Chandru explained the painstaking efforts made in developing tools for the project.

While a group of architects mapped the structure and the ruins, the core team of technologists ‘digitally recreated’ the streets and shandies, besides enacting scenes such as locals buying commodities.

Basing on the clothing style in vogue those days, as found from the mural paintings, experts from the National Institute of Design developed costumes for the animated characters. After undertaking the geospatial imaging of Hampi village, section-wise images of the entire heritage site were captured with powerful cameras having 25MP resolution.

When the end-user clicks on a particular spot on his computer screen, say a mural painting on the temple ceiling, the panel will zoom in and show stories of the episode narrated in the mural.

To pep up user experience, the project also uses ‘Haptic interface,’ a tool that gives jerky feel, vibration and other forms of touch.

“The application is used for the famous array of pillars that gives different tones when tapped,” Prof. Chandru explained. This feature and ‘Girija Kalyana’ are part of the intangible heritage to be documented.

As the individual projects will be ready by this month-end, the job of collating the components and adding annotation will be finished in a year. “As it will be a replication of tools that we have already developed, the focus will very soon shift to Tirupati and Lepakshi, a proposed UN heritage site,” said Prof. Chandru, adding that a proposal to this effect had already been submitted to Union Minister of State for Science and Technology Y.S. Chowdary and the State government.


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