Triggered by the status of unprotected monuments, the India Lost and Found Foundation (ILF) is working to create a heritage map of India and seed it on Google Maps. With approximately 200,000 unlisted historic sites in the country, the ILF has launched a challenge to help build a map to discover India’s heritage with youthful participation.
Participants are encouraged to submit pictures, describe the site’s folklore, mythological stories, design, history, geography, conservation, art, crafts, cuisine, culture, textiles and fashions of the time on the website, www.indialostandfound.com/challenge. The #IndiaFoundChallenge, which ends on June 30, helps one navigate through history and aims to create a resource to feed the heritage map of India with great images telling 360-degree panaromas and data. By seeding the information on Google Maps, it aims to place India’s heritage within the reach of every traveller, historian, student, architect and heritage enthusiast. The idea is to involve the younger generation and help them connect with their land, their past and take ownership and responsibility as guardians of their heritage.
For the initiative ILF reached out to colleges and heritage enthusiasts in March. It has the National Association of Students of Architecture, SPICMACAY and 10 colleges participating directly, and other national, regional and social media partners. Then on April 18, (World Heritage Day), the campaign hit social media with a tweet from actor Amitabh Bachchan: “We as Indians take great pride in our country’s heritage—a heritage that has adorned our land for thousands of years. Yet, many of us are unaware of its existence. This is the most exciting project that I have heard of in a long time. Make history again and dot the heritage map with us (sic).”
The brainchild behind
the initiative is panoramic photographer Amit Pasricha. “It’s a long-term project. We plan to accumulate and curate the data over a period of time, improve the quality of the pictures, categorise them properly and get all the correct Google coordinates to them. The project also aims to create awareness about various monuments and in a sense, become an aggregator of culture-specific knowledge,” he explains.A little over a year ago, ILF started a social media campaign with the view to create more awareness around India’s lesser-known built heritage.
The campaign is a creative common platform that attempts to build a ‘virtual museum of thought’ and rebrand lesser known sites as cultural symbols. The initiative is doing this by using the knowledge of an increasing umbrella network of experts, such as William Dalrymple, Laila Tyabji, Swapna Liddle and
The ILF has brought 250 experts on board and the circle is ever widening. Dr Vibhuti Sachdev, Professor and Dean at the Sushant School of Art and Architecture, Ansal University, is one of the programme’s patrons. He says, “We cannot afford to lose more of our past and these structures are a powerful reminder of the million stories that this land holds, many which are still untold. Mapping our heritage is a crucial step towards a stock-taking exercise of what we have and what we must protect.”