No longer does one have to worry about ignorance about Bidar, while on a trip to this hill-top city on the Deccan Plateau in Karnataka State, thanks to the initiative of RC Bidar, District 3160, and the district administration to install QR codes at the city’s monuments.
Quick Response (QR) Codes are technological tools that, when scanned with smart phones, will lead to Wikipedia pages that provide information about the place, its monuments, etc, and visitor can access the info on their mobile phones at the site.
This is probably the first time QR Codes have been used to promote tourism in Karnataka and Bidar is the only district in the State to have so many articles on Wikipedia in so many languages, observes Kishor Joshi, Assistant Director of Tourism.
The Bidar Wikipedia initiative began in January when 20 students from the local schools led by Channaveer Patil, a faculty from GND Engineering College, met members of the Wikimedia Foundation. They wrote articles about the various tourist spots in and around Bidar, which were then edited and translated by Wikipedians and writers from around the world. Nearly 50 articles on Bidar have been uploaded on Wikipedia now and been translated into 30 languages, including Sanskrit, Mandarin, French, Polish and Arabic.
A Wikipedia Edit-a-thon was conducted for college students the same day by the club in association with the District Heritage Committee. Several students and staff from various colleges submitted their articles on various monuments and pilgrim spots dotting the city. The club secretary Khaja Mohteshamuddin said that his club intends to adopt this as an ongoing project and more school and college students will be encouraged to contribute content for the initiative.
Workshops were also conducted for the students where noted Wikipedia Coordinator from Bangalore, H L Omshivaprakash, Wikimedia India Project Director A Ravishankar and other Wikipedians shed light on various topics such as writing and editing articles, photography and uploading pictures and about the Wikimedia Copyrighting and the Creative Commons Policy.
The district’s Deputy Commissioner Dr P C Jaffer said that his administration plans to place boards with excerpts from Wikipedia along with QR codes in other tourist places and train school children in computing skills and encourage them to dig into the history of various places and contribute articles to the web portal.
QR Code for Bidriware
More recently, in June, the Club tied up with the Department of Tourism and the District Administration and Wikipedia to provide QR Code for the city’s famed Bidriware. This would provide economic benefits for the Bidri artisans, who received their first order for Bidri key chains with QR Code, from the Rotarians, said Mohteshamuddin.
Bidar is an ancient heritage city that holds archaeological prominence. The book Bidar Heritage published by the Department of Archaeology, Museums and Heritage, states that 30 of the 61 monuments listed by the department are located in and around the city and thus it earns the nickname, ‘The city of whispering monuments.’ The 500-year old Bidar Fort, Bahmani and Barid Shahi tombs are some of the historic attractions of the city.