From using 360-degree panoramic views to holding online sessions, is virtual travel the next big thing?(Photo: Shutterstock)
From using 360-degree panoramic views to holding online sessions, is virtual travel the next big thing?(Photo: Shutterstock)

Could virtual travel be a solution for our wanderlust during coronavirus pandemic?

Several art and heritage sites in India have been turned into virtual tours, as with the lockdown travelling is not an option for a long time to come.
By Grace Cyril | Hindustan Times, Delhi
UPDATED ON APR 22, 2020 11:51 AM IST

With the travel ban being imposed all around the world, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many art and heritage sites in India have resorted to virtual tours. From using 360 degree panoramic views to holding online sessions, it helps viewers enjoy beautiful locations digitally and experience the joy of travelling from comfort of the house.

Purav Shah, founder of QuaQua, a virtual travel company says, “Virtual travelling is a very responsible way to connect with the world. It’s not possible to travel each and every place in our lifetime, so we show such places in 360 degrees in virtual reality to people.” He adds, “The basic idea of it is that people get to consume visual content of a destination before visiting it.”

Travelling should be about fulfilling desires. Shah adds, “Even though we all have travel constraints, we can explore the world. Our content is very real. For example, many people would love to visit Venice but have preference over day and night. So, through virtual travelling from our website, they have a choice to travel there any time of the day, sitting at their homes.” The recent ban on travel has led to a surge on the company’s platform.

Dekho Apna Desh

Given the current crisis, India’s Ministry of Tourism recently launched an initiative that allows people to explore the depth and expanse of the culture and heritage of Incredible India, virtually. Named “Dekho Apna Desh” or “See Your Country”, it is a series of webinars that hosts sessions on different cities of India to highlight their tourist attractions, history and culture.

Rupinder Brar, Additional Director General, Ministry Of Tourism, Government of India, says, “The idea came to us because we saw how people have been using technology a lot these days. So we thought about curating and showcasing the beautiful destinations of India that people can travel to from home. India is so diverse that there would be so many places Indians have not travelled to. We are trying to build a narrative around the various experiences of India and make the country accessible to everyone.”

For the love of art

While some of the finest museums globally have always had some virtual tours online, most of the museums and art galleries in India have also taken the route. Some of them which are a click away are National Museum, New Delhi, Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad and Victoria Memorial, Kolkata among others. From online exhibitions showcasing some rare sculptures, manuscripts and inscriptions to detailed descriptions, it has it all.

Tour operator Aditya Goswami says, “Even though virtual travelling is a good alternative but the experience is not as fulfilling as being physically present. However, it’s a good way to provide information to the people in the current situation.”

Famous landmarks on your fingertips

India has a wealth of heritage sites and iconic historical monuments. Some of them are offering 3D experiences of a virtual walk-through. In Delhi tourist hotspots like India Gate, Mughal Gardens, Red Fort, Akshardham Temple, Humayun’s Tomb and Qutub Minar among others, are just a click away, available at their websites. Even the state of Rajasthan, a popular tourist attraction with domestic and international travellers has curated virtual experiences around its monuments, cities, wildlife and culture, available for free on their government’s website. The interactive digital pathways of Taj Mahal include routes around the mausoleum, reflecting pool, the gardens and ornate red sandstone mosque.

Exploring the city of dreams – Mumbai is also easy now, thanks to virtual tours. From the famous The Gateway Of India displaying the grandeur of Indo-Saracenic architecture and Chhatrapati Maharaj Shivaji Terminus with its remarkable stone dome, turrets and pointed arches to an exquisitely sculpted structure of Flora Fountain among others, the city offers a treat to the eyes virtually.

Tour guide Ashish Chandoskar says, “Mumbai indeed is beautiful and this is true from the aerial views of the city’s monuments shown online. Earlier, it used to be so crowded but now you can easily sit at home and browse the famous places here. The camera clarity is also perfect it makes you feel you are standing there.”

And if that’s not enough, Bambiayya VR, a virtual reality drive-in taxi takes you on a digital tour of Mumbai where iconic places of the city from the Iranian café to the chawls – have been depicted through illustrations.

Unwind and connect to nature

Hopping into the virtual bandwagon are some wildlife parks as well. Gawk at cuddly pandas from Wolong Valley in China, or enjoy watching the orcas gracefully playing, online. In India, Vandalur zoo, Chennai is doing online streaming of animals for free on their website.

A space quest

If you are tired of travelling in the land (virtually), why not explore the space? No kidding, NASA is offering multiple virtual tours and activities through their website. Take this chance to explore NASA’s various space centres on earth, the famous Hubble Control Centre and NASA’s flying observatory called SOFIA.

Follow more stories on Facebook and Twitter

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
Representational Image(Unsplash)
Representational Image(Unsplash)

Air travel quarantines are getting longer and lonelier

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON FEB 24, 2021 07:35 PM IST
Quarantines continue to frustrate travelers and strangle airlines a year into the pandemic, with the threat from highly infectious coronavirus variants meaning enforced isolations are mostly getting longer and stricter rather than easing up.
Close
Covid-19: Heathrow touts Britain to lead revival of mass international travel(Photo by Tomek Baginski on Unsplash)
Covid-19: Heathrow touts Britain to lead revival of mass international travel(Photo by Tomek Baginski on Unsplash)

Covid-19: Heathrow touts Britain to lead revival of mass international travel

Bloomberg
UPDATED ON FEB 24, 2021 05:30 PM IST
'We will work with the global travel task-force so that Britain can become the first country in the world to safely restart international travel and trade at scale': London Heathrow airport's Chief Executive Officer John Holland-Kaye
Close
Unilateral moves by EU member countries to combat the spread of new coronavirus variants has disrupted the flow of goods within the bloc's 27-nation single market and risks shutting parts of the Franco-German border.(Pixabay)
Unilateral moves by EU member countries to combat the spread of new coronavirus variants has disrupted the flow of goods within the bloc's 27-nation single market and risks shutting parts of the Franco-German border.(Pixabay)

EU to keep Covid-19 curbs on non-essential travel amid chaotic border measures

Reuters, Brussels/berlin
PUBLISHED ON FEB 24, 2021 12:34 PM IST
European Union government leaders will agree on Thursday to maintain curbs on non-essential travel within the EU despite the bloc's executive asking six countries to ease border restrictions on Tuesday.
Close
File photo of Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai. (Abhijit Bhatlekar/ Mint)
File photo of Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai. (Abhijit Bhatlekar/ Mint)

Covid-19 effect: Passenger traffic at Mumbai airport dipped by 73% last year

By Neha LM Tripathi
UPDATED ON FEB 24, 2021 10:25 AM IST
In the pre-Covid days, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Iinternational Airport got an average of 42,000 international passengers per day but this number fell to 18,000 by mid-March last year. Domestic traffic too dropped by 15-20%.
Close
Covid-19 variants dampen hope of travel rebound, quarantines get longer-lonelier(Photo by Ellen Jenni on Unsplash)
Covid-19 variants dampen hope of travel rebound, quarantines get longer-lonelier(Photo by Ellen Jenni on Unsplash)

Covid-19 variants dampen hope of travel rebound, quarantines get longer-lonelier

Bloomberg
UPDATED ON FEB 24, 2021 07:47 AM IST
While the efficacy of vaccines on mutated Covid-19 strains are under debate, the tightening of quarantine models to contain the threat from highly infectious coronavirus variants is damping hopes of a swift rebound in international air travel.
Close
Johnson told parliament that meant there was still time for Britons to plan summer holidays.(Pixabay)
Johnson told parliament that meant there was still time for Britons to plan summer holidays.(Pixabay)

UK PM says foreign travel curbs to stay until at least mid-May

Reuters, London
PUBLISHED ON FEB 23, 2021 09:36 AM IST
The ban on non-essential international travel to and from England will stay until at least May 17, prolonging the pain for airlines, airports and holiday companies hit by the pandemic travel slump.
Close
Italy extends non-essential travel ban till March 27 as Covid-19 variant spreads(Photo by Dan Novac on Unsplash)
Italy extends non-essential travel ban till March 27 as Covid-19 variant spreads(Photo by Dan Novac on Unsplash)

Italy extends non-essential travel ban till March 27 as Covid-19 variant spreads

ANI
UPDATED ON FEB 23, 2021 07:40 AM IST
Italy's regional travel ban does not apply to travel for work, health or emergency reasons or to anyone who needs to travel to return home. However, travel within Italy for tourism remains prohibited till March 27 due to the spread of the Covid-19 variant.
Close
Covid-19: Non-essential international travel banned to and from UK till May 17(Photo by Viktor Forgacs on Unsplash)
Covid-19: Non-essential international travel banned to and from UK till May 17(Photo by Viktor Forgacs on Unsplash)

Covid-19: Non-essential international travel banned to and from UK till May 17

ANI
UPDATED ON FEB 23, 2021 07:25 AM IST
As the new Covid-19 strain spreads in United Kingdom, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a ban on non-essential international travel from and to the country till at least May 17, domestic overnight stays and self-contained accommodation will be allowed no earlier than 12 April
Close
 (Pics: Shutterstock)
(Pics: Shutterstock)

Committing to wellness

By Swati Chaturvedi
UPDATED ON FEB 22, 2021 09:39 PM IST
In this new era of health consciousness, individuals are willing to spend on living a full life and are constantly looking for destinations to make memories for a lifetime. A yearning for cultural vibrancy and authentic experiences force these travellers to indulge  in holistic programs like spa getaways, detoxing cleansing with food, which in turn fosters an emotional and a life-changing wellness journey for eternity.
Close
Representational Image(Unsplash)
Representational Image(Unsplash)

Travel industry sees glimmers of recovery in Africa, Antarctica post Covid-19

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON FEB 22, 2021 06:11 PM IST
After a year of pandemic, travelers are looking for open spaces, safety, and sunshine—and are ready to put down serious cash to get it.
Close
Vaccination passport: Air New Zealand to trial digital travel pass amid Covid-19(Photo by Sébastien Goldberg on Unsplash)
Vaccination passport: Air New Zealand to trial digital travel pass amid Covid-19(Photo by Sébastien Goldberg on Unsplash)

Vaccination passport: Air New Zealand to trial digital travel pass amid Covid-19

AFP
UPDATED ON FEB 22, 2021 05:16 PM IST
  • For restarting international travel as global vaccine rollouts get underway, Air New Zealand to trial digital Covid 'vaccination passport'
Close
Thailand extends emergency to contain Covid-19, bars and nightclubs to reopen(Photo by Florian Wehde on Unsplash)
Thailand extends emergency to contain Covid-19, bars and nightclubs to reopen(Photo by Florian Wehde on Unsplash)

Thailand extends emergency to contain Covid-19, bars and nightclubs to reopen

Bloomberg
UPDATED ON FEB 22, 2021 04:40 PM IST
While Thailand approves a proposal for the 10th extension of the nationwide state of emergency to contain the Covid-19 outbreak ahead of coronavirus vaccination drive, bars and nightclubs can now reopen and serve liquor to patrons until 11 pm
Close
Osian, Jodhpur
Osian, Jodhpur

Dive in the dunes

By Prerna Gauba
PUBLISHED ON FEB 22, 2021 04:30 PM IST
From labyrinthine bazaars to royal forts and blue houses, Jodhpur will enamour you with its regal charm and historic tales.
Close
New Delhi, India - Nov. 10, 2020: A passenger arriving at Terminal 3 of IGI Airport amid heavy smog in the early morning hours, in New Delhi, India, on Tuesday, November 10, 2020. (Photo by Vipin Kumar/ Hindustan Times) (Vipin Kumar/HT PHOTO)
New Delhi, India - Nov. 10, 2020: A passenger arriving at Terminal 3 of IGI Airport amid heavy smog in the early morning hours, in New Delhi, India, on Tuesday, November 10, 2020. (Photo by Vipin Kumar/ Hindustan Times) (Vipin Kumar/HT PHOTO)

Arriving passengers to be tested for Covid-19 via RT-PCR at Delhi airport

By Anvit Srivastava
UPDATED ON FEB 22, 2021 03:47 PM IST
As per the SOP given by the ministry of health and family welfare dated February 17, passengers from these high-risk countries can get their tests done at the airport before proceeding for home quarantine
Close
Lt Governor Manoj Sinha assures tourists safe, pleasant, memorable visit to J&K(Photo by Arif Khan on Unsplash)
Lt Governor Manoj Sinha assures tourists safe, pleasant, memorable visit to J&K(Photo by Arif Khan on Unsplash)

Lt Governor Manoj Sinha assures tourists safe, pleasant, memorable visit to J&K

PTI
UPDATED ON FEB 22, 2021 01:29 PM IST
'I assure the tourists across the globe a safe, pleasant and memorable visit to J&K, the paradise on earth. Come and witness the scenic beauty, rich culture and heritage of J&K': Lt Governor Manoj Sinha on the closing ceremony of Pahalgam winter carnival
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP