New Delhi: Seeing his son download apps on his mobile phone, this Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) officer had a brainwave - to create an app for Delhi's monuments, both well-known and obscure, so that tourists could keep this information "handy" as a "self guide".
The 3.92 MB app "ASI Delhi Circle" has been available since April but has somehow not been promoted by the ASI.
"Those days are gone when people would carry their laptops or guide books to look for a place. When your phone has convenient applications to make your search easy, I thought we (ASI) too should have something like this to offer," the circle's superintending archaeologist Vasant Kumar Swarnkar told IANS.
"This app is made for tourists and the best way to describe it is as a self guide," he added.
This fascination for convenient technology led Swarnkar to his friend, Vijay Bharadwaj, whose expertise lies in software development. After several brainstorming sessions and understanding what a tourist would be looking for, the "ASI Delhi Circle" app was created.
"The idea was to expose tourists to other monuments that are not so popular but have traces of our history," said Swarnkar.
The app can be downloaded for free on smart phones.
There are four sections in it: monuments; gallery; plan your itinerary; and information about ASI.
Within the monument section, there are two sub-divisions: popular and all, Swarnkar said.
"There are around 158 ASI-listed monuments in the city and they come under the 'all' section, whereas monuments like Qutab Minar make it in the popular section," he said.
All these monuments come with a thumbnail photograph, description about their history, reference books for further reading and nearest Metro station.
The app is also connected to Google Maps and one can easily locate the monuments within their vicinity. It also shows different routes, estimated time, distance to be covered and traffic information to help the visitors to reach their preferred destination without much hassle.
"What usually happens is autos overcharge tourists and so if they can get the distance and location of these monuments on their phones, there won't be any room left for cheating. So this application comes in handy for tourists," he pointed out.
Apart from these features, the app also gives useful information like cost of the ticket and visiting hours of the monuments and has a photo gallery of its popular monuments at night to encourage tourists to visit them.