The wonders and majesty of the Taj Mahal and 29 other important architectural treasures in India are now on display for online visitors around the world to explore through spectacular color images in Google's Street View galleries.
The images were collected recently by Google personnel who used the company's innovative Street View Trekker backpack-mounted cameras to walk amid the sites and capture amazing 360-degree full-color images that are then digitally processed and added to Google's expanding Street View collections.
The new images were unveiled by Gautam Gandhi, the Street View program manager, in a Feb. 20 post on the Google Lat Long Blog.
"India's Taj Mahal, with its majestic symmetry of white marble structures, is considered one of the top places to see during your lifetime," wrote Gandhi in his post. "Starting today, anyone with an Internet connection can explore the Taj Mahal and 29 of India's most iconic national monuments through Street View on Google Maps and the Google Cultural Institute."
Virtual visitors can see a wide array of sites in the new collection, including the vast grounds of Humayun's Tomb, the red sandstone walls of Red Fort and the ancient temples at Muvar Koil, wrote Gandhi.
"These Indian heritage sites have historically been admired by those lucky enough to journey to and across India," he wrote. "With the new panoramic imagery live on Street View, people around the world can now visit these iconic monuments online."
Images are also included from Agra Fort in Agra, India, which is the site of one of the capital forts from the Mughal Empire; and Qutb Minar in Delhi, India, which is the home of the tallest brick minaret in India, wrote Gandhi.
The project was completed with the help of the Archaeological Survey of India, he wrote. Virtual visitors can even take a behind-the-scenes look at the Taj Mahal to experience it in a whole new way through Google Maps, he added.
"In a country as rich with heritage as India, technology can change the way we learn about and understand the past," wrote Gandhi. "We hope the Street View imagery of these 30 iconic Indian monuments will help share and preserve these sites, their stories and more of India's diverse heritage for generations to come."
Google's Street View program is always growing with new images and destinations that bring amazing places to online viewers.
Earlier in February, Street View expanded its coverage of Russia just in time for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, adding new images for Vladivostok, Yakutsk, Irkutsk and Sochi. Google Street View cars traveled more than 186,000 miles in Russia during 2013 to capture the newly added images.
In December 2013, Street View added images of Venice, Italy, to its collections, featuring lovely images of the city of canals, water, and beautiful and historic architecture.
In October 2013, Street View cameras began capturing the emotional power of thousands of military graves at Virginia's Arlington National Cemetery, as well as the first-ever Street View images from the African nation of Swaziland.
The huge and amazing physics laboratories and research areas at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, in Geneva, Switzerland, were captured by Street View cameras and released in September 2013, providing spectacular photographic images of the massive facility. Included in the online photo tour are images of the 16.7-mile-long Large Hadron Collider, which is the world's largest and most powerful particle accelerator used for scientific research, according to CERN. The collider began operating in 2008.
In August 2013, Street View released images of some of the world's most spectacular zoos and wildlife parks so that online viewers can see a wide assortment of wild animals from around the world right on their own computers and mobile devices. Using Street View, online visitors can now see panda bears eating bamboo plants and tumbling around the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in China, where more than 30 percent of this endangered species lives in a conservation and breeding facility. The new Street View images also include other animal parks around the world, including the San Diego Zoo, as well as zoos in Houston, Atlanta and Chicago in North America.