Armchair offers virtual Taj tour

16th Dec 2005

Armchair Travel are making available its Explore the Taj Mahal virtual tour that includes descriptive files and pictures.

Teachers, students, and armchair travelers may visit the Taj Mahal at any time via their computer screens, and download MS Word files including pictures, for non-commercial use.

The Sunday Times reviewed many virtual tour websites, including the “Explore the Taj Mahal” Website. Explore the Taj Mahal was the only site to receive their top-rating of 5-Stars.

Tourists, teachers, historians and students may now take a free, interactive, “virtual tour” around the Most Beautiful Building in the World, as if they were there. They will be able to see and hear everything about the site, its gardens and history by simply connecting to our website.

Explore the Taj Mahal is the third in a series of ‘World Heritage Explorer series’ web sites.


The London-based company has employed a technique it has developed over ten years called Virtual Travel, based on proprietary photographic techniques, Macromedia Flash, and the Java PTviewer Panoramic Display Engine.

Sites like Explore the Taj Mahal are inspirational in terms of the way Armchair Travel have translated a three-dimensional lived experience into an online 2-D format,” says The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Full Text of the entire tour is integrated completely into the interactive website, which makes it ideal for the Hearing-Impaired.

The site displays 360¡ panoramic views, movies, narration and music to create a photo-real, interactive tour. The site also includes a full set of downloadable Microsoft Word files, including pictures, for use by schools, teachers and students.

“A comprehensive virtual tour of this stunning monument,” says Open Directory Project.

Upon entering the grounds of the Taj Mahal ( ), ‘virtual visitors’ can look around by panning left and right on the small pano. Having spotted something of interest they can click to open a window with a much larger and higher quality panorama, and then zoom in and pan around for closer looks, for example: To view the inlaid semi-precious stones on the dome itself.

An easy-to-follow map also ensures that, unlike the real tourist, they can jump around the gardens and monument at the click of a button. There are even exclusive 360¡ panoramic views taken from the Roof and in the Crypt of the monument - these areas are Off-Limits to tourists at the site itself. All of the panoramas have descriptive narration, music and MS Word files with pictures.

William Beckett from Armchair Travel said, “If a user wanted to see and hear everything on the website, it would take over two hours to view it all, thus making this the most comprehensive guided tour of an historic site yet produced on the world-wide web. This site should make this monument available to a wide range of virtual visitors who would otherwise never be able to see its splendor. Armchair Travel’s “World Heritage Explorer” programs will help alleviate the burden for access to internationally important sites, such the Taj Mahal, while producing income for preservation through donations. Many of the most famous monuments are threatened with closure to prevent the damage caused by admitting yet more tourists.”

Four hundred years of the monument’s history are brought to life, with the key figures in the story of the Taj Mahal being presented in 25 specially produced movies (suitable for both broadband and dialup connection). These include video essays on the main features of the monument, such as its dome, the crypt cenotaphs, Islamic inscriptions and art, etc, and especially those features not visible to most tourists. The Website is now available in English, French, Hindi and Japanese.

“An excellent interactive Flash presentation of the Taj Mahal, with a map of the complex, and panoramic photos of both the grounds and the interiors of the buildings,” says Greg Cruey, Asia for Visitors,

William Donelson from Armchair Travel said: “People are increasingly looking to the web for entertainment as well as information, and travel seems likely to prove one of the most popular subjects. Armchair Travel are at the forefront of this new technology.”



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