River Ganga: A Cartographic Mystery

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Manohar, 2005 - Cartography - 110 pages
The Western perception of India has varied widely since antiquity. Early Egyptians and Babylonians had a vague idea about the region; Greeks on the other hand were more aware; geographical perspectives and perceptions changed rapidly; science of cartography swiftly advanced; means of collecting empirical carto-geographical data multiplied rapidly; map-makers were kept busy. Many inaccuracies or fallacies crept in the early stages of map-making, some inevitable, others not so. Map-makers carried on with these inaccuracies not for years or decades, but for centuries. In one map the author was surprised to see that a river Ganga shown flowing in the south-central region of India, and falling into the Bay of Bengal in Orissa. This river was south-west of the great delta of the real Ganga or Ganges, coming from the north-west in Bengal, called Bengala in the map. Two Gangas or Ganges in one map! And this in the map by a well-known map-maker of the time. This was one of the reasons for the authors quest for early geographical literature to find out the reasons behind showing Ganga in peninsular India, and the perpetuation of the fallacy for centuries by other respected cartographers as well. This important volume would go a long way in deciphering the mystery and fascination the Indian subcontinent, especially the holy river Ganga has held for cartographers from time immemorial.

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