From the golden temple of amritsar to the rock-cut architecture of Ellora and Elephanta Caves, from the Sun Temple of Konark to the hill forts of Rajasthan and the great temples of the Chola dynasty, you can tour some of the most amazing places in India from your armchair—or even while waiting in line to enter a popular store during these days of Covid-19. How? See Google’s site artsandculture.google.com/partner/incredibleindia.
For the mobile version (which has enhanced creative features), download the Google Arts & Culture free app, and search “India.”
The India section is arranged in three sections: 26 “stories” (slideshows), an “In this collection” section (six offerings, ranging from twelve items for “New Delhi” to 144 for “India”) and another 153 “Items” (individual photos). In all cases, the photography is exceptional and the captions informative.
The masterful stone carving art of ancient India is beautifully depicted, particularly in the Hampi, Pattadakal, Khajuraho, Ellora, Rani Ki Vav and Chola temple slideshows.
Most captivating is the showcase video “Explore Incredible India in 360,” made in partnership with India’s Ministry of Tourism. You’ll drone over a beautiful seashore, speed down a river and through crowded streets, drive across a bridge high above a pool formed by converging waterfalls. As a temple tank at dawn strikingly reflects the image of an imposing gopuram, with a light shining brightly at the top, you’ll want to pause the video and just be there, part of the stillness. Finally proceeding, you’ll stand among groups of devotees in a huge temple courtyard at Hampi and be greeted by a lone sadhu. You’ll see a huge stone chariot, witness an abhishekam to a Sivalingam, and join a laughing group of women sitting by a river as one applies a mehndi design to another’s hand. You’ll cycle through green fields along an empty, palm-lined road, ride in a fishing boat in Goa as the fisherman casts his net. You’ll join worshipers in the Golden Temple of Amritsar and attend a meal served in the traditional manner to hundreds.
Beyond the India subset, you can peruse collections, artworks and historic places from over 80 countries. That includes 2,000 museums, 10,000 famous sites in Street View, and eight “Insane Views from the Tallest Skyscrapers.” Sprinkled throughout are 360° images you can “walk around” in.
The entire Google Arts & Culture site is vast, with countless treasure waiting to be appreciated and fun ways to explore and interact with them. Each section is precious: take just this one: “Time, navigate from artifacts of pre-history to the present day.” Wow.