River Ganga: A Cartographic Mystery
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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Alexandria Anaximander Asia Assam Baffin Barros Bay of Bengal began boundary of India cartographers cartographic scenario Christian classical D'Anville Delhi Detail of Presqu Donald F earlier early East India Company eastern boundary eighteenth century empirical data entided Eratosthenes Europe European fallacies famous fifteenth century Ganga Gastaldi geographical information geography of India Gerard Mercator Greek Guenga Herman Moll Himalaya historian Ibid J.H. Parry James Rennell known lake Chiamay Lamas later Latin latitude legends Leo Bagrow literary London longitude Lou Sebock makers map of India map-makers Marco Polo Megasthenes mountains named northeast origin Orissa peninsular India perception of India popular portolan Portuguese Ptolemy published R.H. Phillimore R.P. Misra Ramusio's region river Ganges river Indus Robert deVaugondy 1758 Rochette Roman Scylax shown flowing sixteenth southern Ganga Susan Gole thirteenth century Thomas Jefferys trade travel accounts tributaries Tsanpoo upper course Vaugondy West Western writers