Thousands of tourists flock to Madhya Pradesh every year to see the erotic sculptures of Khajuraho, the Buddhist stupas at Sanchi and the Bhimbetka rock shelters, but more often than not, lack of accurate information plays spoilsport.
To put an end to this problem, the state tourism department has drawn up a plan to embed QR or quick response codes at all three UNESCO World heritage sites.
QR codes embedded in pavements are being used to steer travellers around Rio de Janeiro and Seoul’s Gangnam district of PSY fame, but this is the first time the bar code mosaic will be used to guide tourists around heritage sites in India.
In about four months’ time, visitors should be able to get historical, architectural and other information simply by scanning the code with their smartphones.
Once the QR app on the phone scans the code, a visitor will be directed to a micro-website containing a detailed description and photographs of the site/monument. Audio guides in five languages – Hindi, English, French, Japanese and Mandarin – will also be posted on the site.
There is also a proposal to include a video guide eventually.
The project has got a nod from the Union tourism ministry as well.
Tourism officials have already carried out a recce of sites in Khajuraho where codes will be embedded in stone. “If a visitor scans the code at, say, Kandariya Mahadev he will get detailed, authentic information about the temple,” he added.
There are, however, concerns that the audio recordings might lead to an increase in noise levels. “We’re working on using an app that will provide audio only through earphones,” said the officer.
MPSTDC MD Raghwendra Singh said, “We’re trying to provide authentic information in a user-friendly manner that is in keeping with today’s technology.”