Bharat Kala Bhavan virtual tour to be launched with Google

VARANASI: For the first time, one can now explore the vast collection of miniature paintings, sculptures and terracotta present at Bharat Kala Bhavan (BKB) of the Banaras Hindu University from the comfort of one’s home, as the museum has opened its doors to a virtual tour with Google maps.

Adding another milestone to the centennial year celebration of the varsity, BKB is set to become the first university museum of India to provide experience of virtual tour via the Google Cultural Institute division.

“The museum has a unique collection of coins, artifacts and antiquarian remains related to ancient period of time. The virtual tour will provide a great opportunity to the art lovers to have an experience of watching those items around the world at any time in front of their computer screens in a 360-degree view. It will enable the people to have an unbroken view of the location through panning video footages,” said Ajay Kumar Singh, director of BKB.

Soon after the completion of the documentation work between BKB and Google, the online tour will enable the users to go through the collection of the museum in an extreme realistic way. “As the university was ready to enter in its centenary year, we decided to add into the glory of the museum as well. Hence, we contacted the Cultural Institute of Google in June last year. In reply to which, they contacted us to finalize the virtual tour of the museum in February. Soon after signing an agreement, their team will come to shoot the premises. By the month of December, the tour will be open for all,” said the director.

The virtual tour will enable the visitor to go through all the 14 galleries of the museum where the antique collection has been placed. It will show the ground floor where the eight galleries exhibit artifacts of Mahamana Madan Mohan Malviya and German artist Fred Pinn along with magnificent display of textiles, Indian paintings, terracotta sculptures and artwork of Nicholas Roerich and his son S Roerich.

The tour will also take the visitor to the first floor of the museum where they will be able to see a coin collection since its advent in 6th century BC. The museum’s one of its kind collections of 235 stone tools related to Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic cultures will also be available on the Internet along with 1300 antiquarian relics including jades, jewelleries, metal crafts, glass wares, ivory, weapons and other daily use objects of the Indian emperors.

Besides, the tour of BKB will settle the curiosity of those who want to see the heritage of Varanasi, which has been highlighted much on global level after becoming the parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The museum has a separate gallery to exhibit the ancient sculptures found during the excavation in the holy city.

Elated by the agreement of Google to include BKB in virtual tour, the director hopes that it will develop an urge in people to visit the museum in reality. However, he takes it as a challenge and opportunity to grow.

“It will be a serious challenge for the museum because we will have to live up to the user experience online. We will work to improve customer service and visitor services to ensure that the real-life experience is just as good as the online experience,” apprised Singh.

Assuring the uniqueness of the collection of the museum, the format of the tour will be kept in non-downloadable format, added Singh.