Visitors to ancient Nalanda university site may soon experience lost grandeur through augmented reality

NewsDrum Desk
25 Jan 2023

New Delhi, Jan 25 (PTI) Visitors to the ancient Nalanda university site in Bihar may soon be able to get an immersive experience of the grandeur of the historic institution as the Culture Ministry is working on an augmented reality-virtual reality project to digitally reconstruct the lost heritage.

Interacting with reporters here, Union Culture Secretary Govind Mohan said the plan is to launch the pilot project by April.

"We wish to give visitors an enhanced experience through the use of digital technology. Today, visitors can only see the ruins of Nalanda university.

"But in the past, it saw immense glory and was visited by Chinese traveller Fa-Hien, among others. Research is currently underway and we want people to feel the grandeur of the historic Nalanda through this AR/VR project," he said.

Mohan said similar projects have been planned for sites like Rakhigarhi in Haryana and Dholavira in Gujarat -- both Harappan-era sites.

"We wish to start with Nalanda and sort of set an example," he said.

The Union culture secretary said the ministry has envisioned an immersive experience for visitors, similar to Hiroshima in Japan which has digitally reconstructed the city before the atomic bombing in August 1945.

Asked if the technology will be provided by a partnering agency, he said, "We will rope in someone to deliver the technology part, but vision, research and execution will be from our side." The ruins of Nalanda are a Unesco World Heritage Site, the coveted tag it earned in 2016 from the world body. Nalanda stands out as one of the most ancient universities in South Asia, Unesco had then said in a statement.

"The archaeological site of Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University) comprises the archaeological remains of a monastic and scholastic institution dating from the 3rd century BCE to the 13th century CE," it had said.

Nalanda ruins is Bihar's second World Heritage Site after the iconic Mahabodhi Temple complex in Bodh Gaya in Gaya district which was included in the coveted list in 2002.

Augmented reality (AR) is an interactive experience that combines the real world and computer-generated content, while virtual reality is a simulated experience that employs cutting-edge technology to give a user an immersive feel of a virtual world. PTI KND NSD NSD

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