INDIA ADDA – Perspectives On India

IBEF works with a network of stakeholders - domestic and international - to promote Brand India.



Dikshu C. Kukreja
Dikshu C. Kukreja
Mr. V. Raman Kumar
Mr. V. Raman Kumar
Ms. Chandra Ganjoo
Ms. Chandra Ganjoo
Sanjay Bhatia
Sanjay Bhatia
Aprameya Radhakrishna
Aprameya Radhakrishna
Colin Shah
Colin Shah
Shri P.R. Aqeel Ahmed
Shri P.R. Aqeel Ahmed
Dr. Vidya Yeravdekar
Dr. Vidya Yeravdekar
Alok Kirloskar
Alok Kirloskar
Pragati Khare
Pragati Khare
Devang Mody
Devang Mody
Vinay Kalantri
Vinay Kalantri

Leveraging Technology for the Protection and Promotion of India's Cultural Heritage

Leveraging Technology for the Protection and Promotion of India's Cultural Heritage

India has a diverse range of sculptures and artefacts, and the uniqueness of its traditional artwork reflects the dynamics of the country. The combination of both physical and intangible traditional sculptures and artefacts exemplifies the beauty of India's cultural history, which has been passed down from generation to generation. Each state generates and produces many kinds of art, and India is well-known throughout the world for the preservation and acquisition of various artefacts and sculptures. As of August 2022, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) currently protects 3,695 'Monuments of National Importance' (MNI) in India. The list contains temples, churches, mosques, stupas, forts, caverns, palaces, colonial monuments/sites, water systems (tanks and baolis), pre-historic sites, archaeological sites, and archaeological relics, among other things. India is home to 40 world heritage sites, of which 32 fall into the cultural category, 7 into the natural category, and 1 into a mixed category. The Archaeological Survey of India protects 24 of these monuments and archaeological sites. Out of 40 World Heritage Inscriptions, 10 have been completed in the last 9 years with a wide spectrum of diversity from all over India. India's Tentative List has grown by 37, from 15 in 2014 to 52 in 2022.

India, with its extensive cultural legacy, has made great efforts to use technology to preserve and promote its rich traditions and artefacts. Once reliant on age-old procedures such as microfilming, microfiche preparation, and meticulously controlled storage environments, the landscape has experienced a breathtaking transformation with the advent of digitization. The preservation of India's valuable cultural resources has been revolutionised in this modern era, overcoming previous boundaries and constraints. Almost every culturally valuable item, such as maps, manuscripts, images, and sound recordings, has begun to acquire new life and be efficiently preserved through digital methods. India has embraced this digital revival with open arms, pursuing a path that combines cutting-edge scanning techniques and innovative projects that serve as a testament to India's commitment to sharing its cultural treasure with the world.

Cultural Heritage in India

India has a complex liaison of diverse regional, linguistic, and religious traditions that have become ingrained in India's cultural identity through centuries. Indian cultural identity represents the country's diversified society. The diversity of its people, their shared diverse traditions, their distinct vibrant colours, and the rich history that they jointly share all contribute to the Indian cultural heritage. Art is essential in preserving the cultural identity of societies. Dance, music, painting, and architecture are examples of art forms in India that reflect the country's diverse and unique cultural traditions, which have existed for millennia.

A heritage management system's goal is to ensure the effective protection of cultural treasures for the present and future. Sustainable tourism is an appropriate management strategy for promoting cultural tourism while protecting cultural property and preserving its originality and integrity. The Indian Constitution divides jurisdiction over various monuments, cultural heritage sites, and archaeological sites as follows:

  • Union

Ancient and historical monuments, as well as archaeological sites and relics, have been proclaimed by Parliament to be of national importance by law.

  • State

Ancient and historical monuments other than those declared by Parliament to be of national importance.

  • Concurrent

Both the Union and the States have concurrent jurisdiction over archaeological sites and remains other than those declared by law and Parliament to be of national importance.

Article 253 of the Indian Constitution empowers Parliament to enact legislation to implement any treaty, agreement, or convention with any other country or countries or any decision made at any international conference, association, or other body, even if the subject matter of the legislation is an item on the State List of the Indian Constitution.


State/ Union Territory

Number of Monuments


Uttar Pradesh






Tamil Nadu



Madhya Pradesh









N.C.T. Delhi






Andhra Pradesh



West Bengal












Jammu & Kashmir (U.T)












Himachal Pradesh












Ladakh (U.T)






Daman & Diu (U.T)












Puducherry (U.T)






Arunachal Pradesh














Source: Economic Advisory Council to Prime Minister

Physical or tangible cultural heritage, such as artworks, is included in cultural heritage. These are often divided into two categories-

  • Immovable heritage comprises buildings, historic sites, and monuments.
  • Moveable heritage comprises books, documents, moveable artworks, music, and other objects that are deemed worthy of future preservation.


  • Economic significance

The cultural industries are important components of modern economies. The presence of cultural sites, services, and art forms tends to enhance tourism, sustain livelihoods, and attract investment.

  • Historical-Social Significance

The non-economic benefits of culture include the preservation of history, the development of knowledge, and the nurturing of creativity.


Initiatives such as the Indian Heritage in Digital Space (IHDS) project have emerged to use information and communication technology to document and share the country's cultural heritage. This research agenda focuses on leveraging digital technology to go beyond data storage and sharing. Computer vision, graphics, audio and video technology, and user interface design provide transformative opportunities for developing immersive experiences for the public to engage with the past. These tools also enable scholars to perform scholarly studies on India's cultural history, allowing for exploration, teaching, and scholarly inquiry. Furthermore, technological tools such as artificial intelligence (AI), laser scanning, and photogrammetry aid in the restoration, digitalization, and precise documentation of tangible heritage. This digital preservation brings up new opportunities for historical inquiry, public education, and cultural vitality. Government organisations like the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), as well as non-governmental organisations like INTACH and ITRHD, work extensively to preserve India's legacy. Cutting-edge technology including 3D laser scanning, LIDAR, and drone surveys are used in collaboration with organisations such as CyARK and international universities to comprehensively document monuments and locations. Collaboration with international colleges also brings in cutting-edge exploration and excavation techniques, which improves conservation practices. Several case studies demonstrate the successful application of technology-based solutions. To maintain and promote cultural artefacts and monuments, on-site 3D scanning, deep learning techniques, and robotic platforms are used. The generated digital models are used in virtual walkthroughs, augmented reality experiences, and 3D printing replicas.

International Initiatives

UNESCO’s List of World Heritage Sites

A World Heritage site is a landmark or area that has been legally designated by an international convention maintained by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). UNESCO designates World Heritage sites based on their cultural, historical, scientific, or other value. The places are determined to have "cultural and natural heritage that is considered to be of outstanding value to humanity" (OUV). As of April 2023, there are 1,157 World Heritage Sites in 167 nations (900 cultural, 218 natural, and 39 mixed properties). Italy (58), China (56), Germany (51), France (49), Spain (49), India (40), Mexico (35), the United Kingdom (33) and Russia (30) have the most sites.

Government Schemes

  • Recovery of Stolen Antiquities

More than 230 artefacts have been repatriated, demonstrating the government's persistent commitment to supporting Indian culture and heritage. 231 of the total 244 essential antiques of Indian origin brought back to India from abroad were brought back after 2014. Nearly 72 artefacts are being repatriated from various nations, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and Australia.

  • Preserving the past for the future with ‘Adopt a Heritage’ Scheme

Adopt a Heritage scheme aims to improve amenities at the sites. The adoption of sites might be proposed by either the public or private enterprises, called Monument Mitras. Currently, 27 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) have been signed with the Ministry of Tourism, ASI, and Monument Mitras for active participation in improving and developing amenities at tourism historical sites. The government announced in February 2023 that it will hand over approximately 1,000 monuments to the private sector for preservation under the supervision of the Archaeological Survey of India. The government intends to adopt 500 protected sites by August 15th, 2023, and another 500 sites shortly thereafter, representing a tenfold increase in the number of sites covered under the original 'Adopt a Heritage' scheme introduced in 2017.

  • Preserving Himalayan and Buddhist Cultural Heritage
    • Scheme of Financial Assistance for the Preservation and Development of Cultural Heritage of the Himalayas
      It offers US$ 12,195.52 (Rs. 10 lakh) per year to schools or institutions for Himalayan cultural heritage studies and research.
    • Scheme of Financial Assistance for the Development of Buddhist/ Tibetan Culture and Art
      It gives financial assistance to non-profit Buddhist or Tibetan organisations involved in the propagation and scientific advancement of Buddhist or Tibetan culture, tradition, and research in relevant subjects.
    • Buddhist Circuits
      The government is also building Buddhist Circuits with world-class infrastructure to provide devotees with a holistic spiritual experience. As part of the SWADESH Darshan plan, the Ministry of Tourism is also creating a Buddhist circuit encompassing Kushinagar Sravasti and Kapilvastu.
    • International Centre for Buddhist Culture and Heritage
      In May 2022, Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi lay the groundwork for a technologically advanced India International Centre for Buddhist Culture and Heritage in Lumbini at a cost of US$ 12.19 million (Rs. 100 crore).
  • First Indian Heritage University

The Government of India has authorised to establish the 'Indian Institute of Heritage' (IIH) as a Deemed to be University in Noida, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Uttar Pradesh, in accordance with the UGC (Institutions deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2019. It is expected to be the first of its kind in the country, delivering higher education and research in the subjects of Indian heritage and conservation.

  • Revival and Redevelopment of Heritage Sites

The restoration and rebuilding of heritage sites across India have received consistent attention. There are numerous examples, such as the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor and other initiatives in Varanasi that have changed the cities by ways, ghats, and temple complexes. The 900-kilometre Char Dham road project will enable all-weather access to the four holy Dhams of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri, and Gangotri. Other examples of redeveloping spiritual heritage include the Somnath Temple renovation project, the Ujjain Mahakal Corridor, and the current Ram Mandir construction in Ayodhya.

  • Building Monuments of National Importance

In the last few years, the government of India has created many monuments of national importance across the country, opening new avenues for Indian history and its appeal around the world. The government constructed the National War Memorial in New Delhi, the Statue of Unity in Gujarat, and the APJ Abdul Kalam Memorial at Rameshwaram, and several other projects. Adivasi museums are also being created throughout the country to showcase the magnificent history of Indian tribal civilisation.

Road Ahead

India's rich and diversified cultural heritage includes a vast corpus of constructed heritage, including ancient and historical monuments, archaeological sites and remnants. These monuments, places, and relics should be conserved and appreciated since they symbolise India’s distinct culture and history. While technology offers immense potential, challenges such as technological obsolescence, limited IT manpower, and the cost of conversion can be overcome through continued collaboration, research, and investment in emerging technologies. India's efforts to harness technology for the protection and promotion of its cultural heritage have generated encouraging outcomes. India is preserving, making accessible, and promoting its rich cultural past through digitization, enhanced scanning techniques, collaborative projects, and research. By embracing innovation and technology, India can preserve its past for future generations while also cultivating a greater awareness for its unique cultural tapestry.