Mar 10, 2017 | By Tess

India’s Science and Technology Ministry has announced a plan to reproduce monuments from the country’s Buddhist Circuit using 3D technologies. Though the ministry has not released many details about the project so far, it says it is part of the effort to virtually promote India’s architectural heritage.

The Buddhist Circuit is a transnational tourist circuit that visits many sites and monuments that are holy or significant in Buddhism. The circuit includes locations such as Bodh Gaya, Vaishali, Rajgir and Kushinagar in Bihar, Sarnath, Shravasti, as well as Kapilavastu and Lumbini in Nepal, Buddha’s homeland. The plan is to recreate the most famous monuments and architectural sites from the Buddhist Circuit using 3D technologies.

Bodh Gaya, India

The announcement for the 3D reproductions of India’s famous Buddhist monuments was made at an Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) conference focused on artificial intelligence and robotics. According to Professor Ashutosh Sharma, secretary of the Department of Science and Technology, the idea for the project is to have people virtually visit these places, to learn about them in an interactive way while sitting in one place.

He said: “Without going for Bharat Darshan, you can sit in one place, in Delhi maybe, and visit all the monuments, get all the information about them better than a guide can tell us because of the whole force of Wikipedia is behind you in that."

Ghats of Benares, India

Hmm. While we’re not sure that sitting in a room and virtually visiting some of world’s holiest locations will have the same effect as actually being there—it’s not only about the buildings, but also the air, the people, the environment—the project is interesting from an education and conservation perspective. Also, it could give people who are not able to visit the Buddhist Circuit themselves a means to catch a glimpse of it.

There is a precedent for this project, as a few years ago IIT Delhi, IIT Bombay, the Indian Statistical Institute, and the Delhi Technical University teamed up to capture the ruined city of Hampi in 3D. Hampi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is found within the ruins of Vijayanagara, once one of the largest and wealthiest cities in the world.

Hampi ruins, India

The project, supported by the Department of Science and Technology, recreated the ruined city using 3D technologies in an effort to help share its rich cultural heritage. The project also included a mobile app which let tourists see the now-ruined Hampi structures as they once were. That is, by simply pointing their smartphone at a ruined monument, the tourist could see a digital image of how it looked when it was first built. For the Hampi initiative, Kinect 3D scanning and 3D printing technologies were employed.

"They recreated the lost city of Hampi, 3D printed it, and also embed all the information related to the monuments, sculptures, their whole history in this physical model,” explained Sharma. "We are going to reproduce using the same technology now all the monuments—starting from Ghats of Benares, if you take a boat-ride in the Ganges you see all the facades, all the history of the place, (will) reproduce Buddhist circuit.”

While details on how or when users will be able to benefit from the Buddhist Circuit 3D initiative are scarce, we are intrigued by the project and can’t wait to learn more.



Posted in 3D Technology



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