The Governments of India and Thailand are working together to generate a map of Buddhist historical sites across South East Asia, including India, as part of bilateral efforts to promote tourism.
The map would not only contain Buddhist archaeological sites but also detailed information which tourists usually seek such as accessibility, visiting times, nearby accommodations, and relevant historical information.
In addition, the map would also enable users to discover lesser-known archaeological sites spread across South East Asia.
Some of the historical sites which will be included in the map are: Bodh Gaya, Sarnath, Sanchi, Ajanta in India, Lumbini in Nepal, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa in Sri Lanka, Ayutthaya in Thailand, Ankor Thom in Cambodia, Borobudur in Indonesia, Nara in Japan and Lung-men caves in China.
According to Baisakhi Sarkar, Deputy Director at the National Atlas & Thematic Mapping Organisation in Kolkata, the agency has formally started working on the map a month ago after receiving approval from the office of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
With 11 nations contributing data to the joint initiative, Sarkar estimated that project to be completed within two years.
“While eight countries including Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar have already joined the league, others would join in soon. The issue is being discussed at the government level with those countries,” Sarkar said.
To prepare the map, experts are taking the help of satellite images from Cartosat - an Indian earth observation satellite.
“Even though we are now including only the existing archaeological sites, in the future, new sites which are being excavated and discovered by archaeologists would be included in the map,” he said.
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