Exploring iconic structures via Google: Good or bad?

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With Google street view, anyone can now explore the Taj Mahal with a 360 degree panoramic imagery of the monument. With other monuments in its plan, we try to understand how the new project can help tourism in India and particularly, Pune.

 

Travelling across the globe has never been cheaper or safer. However, with every country taking proper steps to encourage tourism, making travel plans no longer takes much thinking. To add to it, there are various websites that help you plan your trip and book tickets by yourself, in the comfort of your home.

However, for those who are unable to travel due to time or financial constraints, Google brings the sight of the most iconic buildings to you, via its new feature – Google Street View. You can explore the Taj Mahal and 29 other monuments of India, simply by making your way through Street View on Google Maps. The leading search engine brand had announced in October 2013 that it will be working with Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to bring the Street View Trekker to 100 Indian heritage and cultural wonders.

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With a 360-degree panoramic imagery of the monument, one can virtually experience the beauty of the monument, quietly, taking a sip of tea (chaha as we like to call it) along with bhajiya to munch on. Although it can, in no way, replicate the physical experience of being there, the virtual experience is convincing enough and leaves you thoroughly spellbound.

Nevertheless, there still are some drawbacks to this ambitious project. With terrorism on the rise, street view can be used as a tool by antisocial elements to raise havoc. Although Google maintains that it will make use of publically approved imagery and view only, the project seems to be similar to handing out blueprints to terrorists. Google was previously banned in Bangalore  for its Street View service in the city after objections from police. The Czech Government too has taken a similar stand, banning Google from taking any new photos for the service.

On the other hand, there are some plus points too! Other than the Taj Mahal, India houses various monuments and wonders that lie unexplored and, almost in dismay. Take the forts of Shivaji Maharaj for example. Imagine exploring the Sinhagad Fort sitting at home (though you will be missing out on the kanda bhaji, matkyatla dahi, pithla bhakri, ukadlelya shenga, plus the kickass workout you get climbing to the top) and enjoying the view (again, sans the strong waara). It’ll still be exciting, right? Pune’s other proud structures like the Shaniwarwada, Shinde Chhatri, Vishrambaug Wada, Lal Mahal, Pataleshwar Cave Temple, Aga Khan Palace, Parvati Temple and many more can be a part of this project too, helping tourists realise the amazing heritage and culture of our city.

This helps tourism in a big way. Exploring these wonders virtually encourages you to visit the place. Here’s the video of the Taj Mahal as shared by Google.

 

[embedvideo id=”-TtTwCNlulg” website=”youtube”]

 

Doesn’t it make you just pack your bags and take a trip to Agra? Or any other heritage wonder across the country for that matter? It is amazing how we have the world’s oldest and richest history to flaunt, yet are never taken seriously as a great tourist location. Bringing Google Street View will not just boost tourism but, it’ll also encourage us and the Government to enforce proper maintenance and protection of our historical monuments. Plus, it encourages us to explore our own history too, right?

So, what are your thoughts on Google Street View giving a virtual 360 degree view of the Taj Mahal and other heritage structures of India? Is it good or is it bad? Drop in a comment to share your thoughts.

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