The e-Heritage Project: Digitally Enhancing India’s Heritage
A capacity building programme to empower cities to create a digital presence of their heritage.
Almost every Indian city is replete with rich culture, traditions, sacred spaces and historical sites that illustrate the country’s unique heritage. Most of these heritage sites in India are not featured online. With the aim to give these rich spaces a digital presence, in 2013, Digital Empowerment in partnership with UNESCO and IHCN launched the e-Heritage programme – Digitally Enhancing India’s Heritage. A capacity building programme to empower cities to create digital presence of their heritage, to encourage and build the capacity of the municipal authorities and local communities in documenting and presenting heritage through a digital media (website).Currently the programme has been launched in four cities across India: Old Delhi (Shahjahanabad), Chanderi, Pune, Shekhawati.
The strong Mughal influence on Delhi’s rich history is undeniable. Thoughts about Delhi’s heritage conjure images of Red Ford, Jama Masjid and Chandni Chowk. A lot of heritage study has already been done on Purani Dilli, but there are still elements that remain to be explored such as street names, koochas, havelis, workers and architects that make up the collective memory of the area.
Link to the website: www.olddelhiheritage.in
Situated in the Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh, the town of Chanderi is comprised of intricate lanes full of archaeological remains that bear testimony to its long and dynamic past. It seeks to take its audience through these lanes and collective memories.
Link to the website: www.chanderiheritage.in
Pune is the cultural capital of Maharashtra, often referred to as the Queen of Deccan and the Oxford of the East, has a rich tradition of classical dance, music and theatre. Pune’s vast heritage of traditional houses, temples, old precincts, colonial buildings, and hills and lakes can be traced from the Stone Age, through its early development in the 17th century, to its flourishing culture in the 18th century under Peshwa rule. The website attempts to convey this history and culture.
Link to the website: www.puneheritage.in
Shekhawati is a region in Rajasthan with an abundance of finely executed frescoes in havelis, temples, cenotaphs, shops, sarais and water tanks. With such a large concentration of painted structures, the region is rightly referred to as an open-air art gallery. The website takes visitors through the region of the famed merchants of Shekhawati who patronized the art of fresco-making.
Link to the website: www.shekhawati.in
To take the project to the next step, and namely to start involving the local community members in documenting and populating the website, the present project has also launched ‘e-Heritage Fellowship’. This fellowship will train local youth with focus on imparting the notion of heritage, methodology of documentation and presentation of heritage data as well as the basic IT skill to upload data. Currently the fellowship will undergo in Old Delhi (Shahjahanabad) as a pilot case.
The m-Heritage Project: Mobile application for Shahjahanabad
Taking forward the e-Heritage project, Digital Empowerment Foundation has also worked on launching a mobile application for the same called ‘M-Shahjahanabad’. Currently the application is being launched for Old Delhi. It would allow users to navigate through the streets, lanes and by lanes of Shahjahanabad. Users will also be able to upload their own content and comments. This mobile application is available for android phones only and can be downloaded free of cost.
In an effort to reach out to local communities, Digital Empowerment Foundation has taken the initiative to save an old library – ‘Shah Wali-ullah library’ based in Shahjahanabad, Old Delhi. This project will help develop a website for the library, giving it a strong web presence and also help them digitize and catalog data.