CURRENTLY THE LARGEST RELIGIOUS monument in the world, the 12th-century Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia, has long been considered an architectural wonder. Now, thanks to Google’s off-road Trekker program, people from anywhere in the world can go on a 360 degree walkthrough of this sacred site.


City of temples: Google Street View puts you right alongside the other tourists
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Google has been working to improve its Street View program for a while now, but only in recent years has it introduced the Trekker program. One of its missions is to digitally record many places that cars can’t go. To do so, the cameraman wears a backpack mounted with 15 cameras, each of which snaps a 75 mega-pixel photo every two and a half seconds. So far the program has digitized the Grand Canyon, Mount Fuji, the Great Barrier Reef and more. For this particular project, five local men trekked around the temple complex for up to eight hours a day, taking over a million photos.

Cambodia receives four million tourists a year. Hopes are that this new way of exploring the site will encourage more people to come and see the real thing. Visit bit.ly/angkorwat360 [http://bit.ly/angkorwat360] to start vicariously exploring the vast wonders of Angkor Wat.


The rig: A Cambodian technician carries a backpack mounted with a device housing 15 cameras used to digitally map the temple
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AFTER 150 YEARS OF SEPARATION, SECTIONS of one of the finest surviving manuscripts of the Ramayana have been brought together, digitized and made available online for anyone to enjoy. The Mewar Ramayana comprises some 24,000 stanzas and over 370 beautifully illustrated paintings.

The manuscript was produced in 1649 for Rana Jaga Singh, king of the Mewar kingdom in Rajasthan. According to an article from DNA India, it was written in seven volumes. Its 800 pages of text were penned by a Jain scribe, Mahatma Hirananda. Its paintings were created by various artists, including master painter Sahib Din. The artwork includes intricate paintings of Gods, battles, landscapes and animals.

Vivid storytelling: Text and paintings as seen on the Web, accompanied by explanatory captions.
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Pages of the original text were given to a British colonial in the early 1800s. The manuscript has since found itself divided between various organizations in the US and the UK. Through a three-year effort by The British Library and the CSMVS Museum of Mumbai, the masterful work has been assembled and restored.

The full digital version can be viewed here: www.bl.uk/ramayana [http://bit.ly/angkorwat360]. It may be slow to load, but it’s well worth the wait.

Rama heads into exile with his wife and brother.
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Sugriva divides his forces to search for Sita, while Rama gives his ring as a token to the esteemed captain, Hanuman, who will lead the expedition to the south.
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