Google today celebrates the 187th birthday one of India’s renowned cartographers, Nain Singh Rawat with a special doodle. Hailing from the hills of Kumaon in modern day Uttarakhand, Nain Singh Rawat was the first man to explore Tibet mapping the exact location and altitude of Lhasa, and Tsangpo (Brahmaputra River). Today’s doodle represents Nain Singh Rawat as an explorer with binoculars against the background of mountains. The doodle has been specially illustrated by Hari Deepti Panicker.
For his explorations in Tibet, Nain Singh Rawat disguised himself as a Tibetan monk. He started his journey from his home Kumaon and walked till places like Kathmandu in Nepal, Lhasa in Tibet, and Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. Google says that he is known to have “maintained a precisely measured pace, covering one mile in 2,000 steps, and measured those steps using a rosary”. More disguises in his journey included hiding a compass in his prayer wheel and mercury in cowrie shells. He also maintained his travel records in the form of prayers.
Prior to his survey in Tibet, Nain Singh Rawat visited different centers in the country with his father. During this time, he learned the Tibetan language including customs and traits of Tibetans. With good knowledge of Tibet already at hand, it helped him quite sufficiently during his explorations in Tibet. ALSO READ: S Chandrashekhar’s 107th birthday celebrated with a Google Doodle
Nain Singh Rawat’s last recorded journey took him to Ladakh which he explored taking the route from Lhasa to Assam between 1873 and 1875. His notable achievements earned him many awards from the Royal Geographical Society. He was also featured in an Indian postage stamp on June 27, 2004 celebrating his role in the Great Trigonometric Survey. Later in 2006, his biography with records from three of his travel diaries were penned down by Shekhar Pathak and Uma Bhatt. ALSO READ: Begum Akhtar’s 103rd birthday celebrated with a special Google Doodle