Monumental screening

The history of Humayun's Tomb has been captured on a software programme

By Seema Kalra
Published: Saturday 15 April 1995

-- IMAGINE finding out all about Humayun's Tomb -- its history and appearance -- without moving an inch. Thanks to a multimedia software package that includes photographs, graphics and narration, the monument's past can now be recreated at the touch of a button.

The software on Humayun's Tomb also carries a brief history of the Mughal Empire, its rulers, their lifestyle, gardens and the architecture of their time. Whats more, you can browse through the software package at your own pace and choose what interests you.

Developed by the Delhi-based Matra Informatiks in collaboration with the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, the software allows the use of a mouse to click on any of the items a user wants to look up. For instance, you may start by looking up only the Humayun Tomb: this will give you all the information directly related to Humayun and his tomb, but while you are there, you can ask for information on the structures neighbouring the tomb like the grave of Nizamuddin Awliya and go on cross referencing according to your preference.

The configuration on which this application can be run is a 486-computer with a VGA (video-graphic-adapter) monitor. A sound card has to be installed in the machine for the audio. The entire system including the hardware costs about Rs 90,000.

Says Ashok Kumar Singh of Matra Informatiks, "We developed this software with the purpose of attracting and educating the tourists visiting the Humayun Tomb about our heritage." To make it even more attractive, a projector can be attached to the computer and the package can be viewed on a large screen. This can enable group screenings.

"We screened the programme at the Humayun tomb for a fortnight and got a fairly good response from visitors. We would like to design similar software for other Indian monuments. However, we would need sponsors and permission from the Archaeological Survey of India to carry the projects through," says Singh.

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