New Delhi: Google Doodle marked the 187th birth anniversary of Nain Singh Rawat, who was the first Indian explorer to survey Tibet, determine the exact location and altitude of Lhasa, map the Tsangpo (Brahmaputra River) and chart the trade route between Nepal and Tibet.
Rawat, born in 1830, belonged to the Johar Valley of Kumaon in Uttarakhand. He was one of the first of the late 19th century Indian explorers who explored the Himalayas for the British.
In 1863, Nain Singh Rawat and his cousin, Mani Singh Rawat, were sent to the Great Trignometric Survey office in Dehradun where they underwent rigorous training for two years. This included training on the use of scientific instruments and ingenious ways of measuring and recording and the art of disguise.
In 1865–66, Nain Singh travelled 1200 miles from Kathmandu to Lhasa and then to Lake Manasarovar and back to India. His last and greatest journey was from Leh in Ladhak via Lhasa to Assam in 1873–75. For his extraordinary achievements and contributions, Nain Singh was honored with many awards by the Royal Geographical Society.
On a second voyage, in 1867, Singh explored western Tibet and visited the legendary Thok Jalung gold mines. He noticed that the workers only dug for gold near the surface, because they believed digging deeper was a crime against the Earth and would deprive it of its fertility.
A book on Rawat’s achievement titled ‘Asia Ki Peeth Par’ (On the Back of Asia) was published in 2006, describing his feats and writings.
Rawat died of a heart attack while visiting Jagir, a village gifted to him by the British, in 1895.
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