The Indian Digital Heritage (IDH) Project was a unique initiative of the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India, supporting collaborativ projects between researchers in the areas of technology and humanities for the digital documentation and interpretation of our tangible and intangible heritage. The goal of the India Digital Heritage (IDH) Research Project was to extend the power of digital technologies to well beyond monuments to art, architecture and all forms of cultural and historical knowledge. The aim of the project was to go beyond simply storing and sharing the heritage data and knowledge, and use emerging technologies in computer vision, graphics, audio-video technologies and user interface design to create vivid experiences of the heritage for common users. It also aimed to provide analytic tools for the art-historian, the architect or any scientist who may be interested in conducting scholarly studies of Indian heritage.

The basic goal of the IDH project was to bring about a fine synergy of Geospatial technologies with matured ICT technologies and develop technology tools to help preserve, use, and experience India's vast heritage in digital form. Such a task could only be achieved by collaboration among different communities and agencies : the technology community consisting of scientists and engineers from 12 premier research and academic institutes of India, who would invent, innovate and develop appropriate technologies, the culture community consisting of 11 teams of artists, arthistorians, archaeologists, architects, anthropologists and other experts from the humanities and the social sciences who know and understand the heritage, government agencies who as custodians of India's vast heritage bring the necessary executive power to enable the collaboration, and private agencies, companies and other organization interested in this for a variety of reasons including tourism. This was perhaps the first such effort in India attempted as a major multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional, multi-crore project supported by the Department of Science and Technology through its arm NRDMS. The project was launched on March 25, 2011 at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore.

The World Heritage Site of Hampi in Karnataka, the capital of the Vijayanagara empire from the mid 14th to mid 16th century, provided an ideal canvas for this novel experiment with its rich, diverse and dazzling legacy of architectural ruins, temples, art and living traditions. Technologies employed have ranged from laser scanning, modeling and gesture based interactive displays, haptic explorations, experiential multimedia renditions and ontological explorations. The well-known artistic and architectural splendours provided a fertile ground for this exercise ranging from the Narasimha colossus, the luminescent murals of Lepakshi and the Virupaksha temple, the Vitthala temple complex and some of its enigmatic colonnades which emit musical tones, whether intentionally or not, and the remains of the bazaar, which was once the topic of much admiration by travellers from the Mediterranean. Some other heritage artefacts documented and interpreted from digital approaches in this project include the portable Vijayanagara bronzes with study of their iconometry and modelling; the vibrant living crafts such as painting and carpentry for making chariots; living traditions such as the Dussera tradition (harking back to the Mahanavami festival of Hampi), related crafts, and the legacy of the Girija Kalyanam ritual concerning the marriage of Siva and Parvati.


The book represents the culmination of a hugely successful heritage preservation project initiated by the Government of India's Department of Science and Technology. It presents extensive research on the digital preservation of the history, mythology, art, architecture and culture of the world heritage site Hampi in Karnataka, the seat of the Vijayanagara dynasty in medieval India. Further, the book introduces readers to a range of techniques developed by Indian technical research groups for digitally preserving both the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of the region. These techniques are sufficiently generic to be applied in heritage preservation efforts for other historical sites around the world as well.

Technological advances have made it possible to not only create digital archives of these heritage artifacts, but to also share these resources for people to view, explore, experience, and analyze. This book showcases how cutting-edge technology can be combined with cultural and historical research to digitize and preserve heritage. It is the consolidation of work conducted under the Indian Digital Heritage project, a unique initiative of the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India. The project involved collaboration between researchers in the areas of Technology, Computer Science, Architecture and the Humanities for the digital documentation and interpretation of India's tangible and intangible heritage. It highlights the art, architecture, and cultural legacy of the world heritage site of Hampi in Karnataka, the medieval capital of the 14th-16th century Vijayanagara dynasty. The contributors to this book are scientists and technology experts from prominent academic institutes in India such as the IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology), NIIT, and NID (National Institute of Design) working in collaboration with some of India's top architects, art historians, anthropologists, heritage groups and multi-disciplinary cultural institutions such as the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS). Their papers will introduce readers to cutting-edge technologies from research areas such as computer vision, 3D modeling and artificial intelligence as they are employed to preserve art and culture in the digital domain.

The book is divided into four parts. Part 1 details efforts and techniques for modeling and representing the tangible heritage of Hampi, such as the reconstruction of damaged structures, realistic walk-throughs, and haptic rendering. Part 2 includes chapters detailing the analysis and digital restoration of artifacts such as mural paintings, inscriptions and sculptures, as well as mobile-based visual search for artifacts. Part 3 includes chapters on conjectural re-constructions of the architectural life, social life and traditions of Hampi. Lastly, Part 4 addresses the knowledge-based archiving and exploration of cultural heritage.

USP of the BOOK

  • This book will acquaint the reader with a set of advanced scientific techniques and technologies developed for the digital archiving and preservation of tangible and intangible cultural heritage encoded in monuments, inscriptions, murals, sculptures, as well as in the folktales, art, crafts and living traditions.
  • This book will provide the reader with comprehensive knowledge of the history, mythology, art, architecture, folk-lore, living traditions and culture of the Vijayanagara period, specially focused around the Hampi locales. It will provide information about the ruins of Hampi, their current state and efforts being made by various research groups and institutions for preserving their heritage.
  • It will provide information that helps in the development of hardware and software for building tools and applications in the areas of image processing, computer vision, 3D modeling and reconstruction, haptic and visual rendering, virtual walk-throughs and ontology based multimedia access. It will showcase multimedia applications in the domain of cultural heritage preservation. For example, building of Heritage collections and Virtual museum creation.

Table of Contents


The contributors to this book are scientists and technology experts from premier academic institutes of India such as the IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology), and NID (National Institute of Design), in collaboration with some of the top architects, art historians, anthropologists and sociologists of India. The book represents the culmination of a hugely successful heritage preservation project of the Department of Science and Technology under the Government of India. Thus the reader will learn about cutting-edge technology from research areas such as computer vision, 3D modeling and artificial intelligence, employed for preserving art and culture in the digital domain.

Indian Institutes and Organisations to which authors belong :

  • B.V.B. College of Engineering and Technology, Hubli (BVBCET)
  • Delhi Technological University, New Delhi (DTU)
  • Dhirubhai Institute of Information and Communication Technology, Gandhinagar (DAIICT)
  • International Institute for Art Culture and Democracy, Bangalore (IIACD)
  • International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad (IIITH)
  • Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB)
  • Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IITD)
  • Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IITM)
  • Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata (ISI-Kolkata)
  • Kannada University, Hampi (KU-Hampi)
  • National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore (NIAS)
  • National Institute of Design, Bangalore (NID)


  • Dr. Anupama Mallik (IITD)
  • Anupama Mallik received her B.Sc in Physics (1986) and her Master's in Computer Applications (1989) from Delhi University, subsequently completing her PhD (2012) in Electrical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi. Her PhD thesis dealt with ontology-based exploration of multimedia contents. She is currently associated with the Multimedia Research Group of the Electrical Engineering Department, IIT Delhi and has worked as a Research Scientist in projects sponsored by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. She has been teaching courses related to semantic web technologies as visiting faculty at several universities of the Delhi government. She is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and a co-author of the book 'Multimedia Ontology: Representation and Applications' published by the CRC press. She is the founder- Director of a technology start-up focusing on the application of technology in heritage preservation, currently being incubated at IIT Delhi.

  • Prof. Santanu Chaudhury (IITD)
  • Santanu Chaudhury completed his B.Tech (1984) in Electronics and Electrical Communication Engineering and his PhD (1989) in Computer Science and Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur. He is a Professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi. He was also the Dean of Undergraduate Studies at the IIT Delhi. He was awarded the INSA medal for young scientists in 1993. He is a fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Sciences, India. He is a fellow of International Association of Pattern Recognition (IAPR). He has more than 250 publications in international journals and conference proceedings, and has authored /edited several books. He is currently working as Director of CSIR-Central Electronics Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-CEERI), and is on lien from IIT Delhi.

  • Prof. Vijay Chandru (IIACD)
  • Vijay Chandru is an academic and an entrepreneur. As an academic, he completed his PhD in the mathematics of decision sciences at MIT in 1982 and has taught at Purdue University (1982-1993) and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) since 1992. He has co-authored and co-edited several books and published over ninety peerreviewed research papers. In 1996, he was elected a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences and subsequently of the Indian National Academy of Engineering. As coconvenor of the Perceptual Computing Laboratory (PerCoLat) at IISc for a decade (1995-2005), he participated in semantic web language development, in advances in visualization for scientific data and in development of the Simputer. The International Institute for Art, Culture and Democracy (IIACD) is a Bangalore based research institute. It was founded in 2008 by a multidisciplinary group of academics and practitioners including Professor Chandru. At IIACD, his work in digital humanities have been in the representation, organization and investigation of knowledge-bearing artifacts which have been documented, annotated and archived. As a technology entrepreneur, Professor Chairman serves as the Chairman of Strand Life Sciences, a spinoff from IISc. He was named a Technology Pioneer of the World Economic Forum in 2007 and for contributions to science and society, Professor Chandru was awarded the Hari Om Trust Award by University Grants Commission in 2003.

  • Prof. Sharada Srinivasan (NIAS)
  • Sharada Srinivasan, Professor and Dean, School of Humanities at National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore, specialises in technical art history, archaeological sciences, archaeometallurgy, archaeometry and material culture studies. She has a PhD. from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London (1996) on Archaeometallurgy of South Indian bronzes; MA from School of Oriental & African Studies, London (1989) and B.Tech in Engineering Physics from IIT, Mumbai (1987). She is Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, World Academy of Art and Science, and has been Homi Bhabha Fellow, Charles Wallace and V&A Nehru Fellow and Smithsonian Forbes Fellow at Freer Gallery of Art. Her awards include the Dr Kalpana Chawla Young Woman Scientist Award, the Indian Institute of Metals Certificate, Materials Research Society of India Medal, Malti B. Nagar Ethnoarchaeology Award, DST-SERC Young Scientist Award and Flinders Petrie Medal. She was recipient of British Council funded UKIERI grants for studies on on Indian wootz steel and for Split-site PhDs with Exeter University in Archaeology and Drama. She is a Member of the Advisory Boards of Centre for South Asian Studies, University of Exeter, Institute of Archaeometallurgical Studies, London, Ethnoarchaeology Journal, USA and Standing Committee Member of the Beginning of Use of Metals and Alloys (BUMA) conference series. She is first author of 'India's legendary wootz steel' and more than 70 papers and is also a reputed exponent of classical south Indian dance. She was featured as one of India's top ten women scientists in the Conde Nast magazine 'Make in India' issue of Jan 2017.