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National Museum, in cooperation with Kalakriti Archives, Hyderabad
National Museum
Janpath
New Delhi
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An epic journey from mythological visions of the universe and religious symbolism to a scientific description of India: the exhibition showcases monumental 15th to 19th century paintings alongside some of the earliest historical maps of India featuring a wide variety of material such as painted and printed Indian maps, original manuscripts, scrolls depicting sacred rivers and pilgrimage sites, early examples of the cartography of the Indian sucontinent as seen by ancient European scientists. Also on display are the first vaguely accurate maps of India conceived in the wake of Vasco da Gama’s arrival in 1498 and a number of rare documents showing the evolution of map making in India. Finally the exhibition features unique images that bear witness to the birth of the modern Indian city. Visitors are taken on an imaginary trip from medieval Hyderabad and Bangalore to French Pondicherry to fascinating plans of the future metropolises of Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi.

The historical cartography of India charts a progressive quest for an accurate physical description of the subcontinent. Many maps fundamentally reflect a Europeans’ view of India and not necessarily India as it truly existed. Cosmography and Cartography seeks to kindle greater interest and understanding into in
India’s incomparable spiritual visual culture, an it enlightens Indian history through the prism of several of the world’s most impressive and ingenious monuments of cartography.

Picture: National Museum, New Delhi