Geographical knowledge of ancient Indians –


The myth of the churning of the milk ocean is analyzed. The words given in the
myth are interpreted. The meaning of the names ‘milk ocean’, Badabaanala and Kala
Kuta are discussed. The meaning of the word Patala is explained. Mandara, the
greatest of the mountain ranges, is identified. Use of the expression ‘the great
turtle’ in the myth is explained. Some aspects regarding the birth of some ‘divine
animals’ of the myth are discussed. Use of cryptology by ancient Indians in writing
legends is brought to light.


The Rig Veda mentions ships with 100 oars. Such ships sailed over seven oceans and
returned to India. The oldest coins in the world which depicted ships were found
on the east coast of India. Many Puranas also say that ancient Indians traveled
over seven oceans. The travel accounts appear as myths because names of the oceans
and islands mentioned in them differ from those of the present. Only a close
examination and analysis will reveal the geographical knowledge of the ancient


The Cambrian Period in geology deals with the oldest known soils, which are some
500 million years old. The word was named for sedimentary rocks on Cambrian
mountains in Wales of Britain. With a relatively rich fossil content, sedimentary
rocks of Cambrian age are the oldest strata that can be studied using modern
correlation dating method. It may be observed that the name Meru Nagam (Mount
Meru) of the Puranas has similar sounding consonants as Cambrian (MRNGM vs KMBRN).
Further, the name Meru Naga has the cryptic word Apara Agni indicating knowledge
of ancient Indians that it is the oldest volcano in the world. (The consonants of
the names Meru Naga and Apara Agni are the similar sounding). The Puranas say that
the continents are located around mount Meru and stars used to rotate around it.
This gives the cryptic meaning that the North Pole was once at the Cambrian


The following are the selected lines from the myth of churning of the Milk Ocean:

“A great war ensued again between Devas and Danavas (demons). Hundreds of Devas
were killed in the war. Lord Brahma addressed Devas on the summit of Mount Meru
that they should make peace with Bali, king of the Danavas in Patala. He further
advised them to churn the Milk Ocean employing a big mountain as the churning
stick to obtain nectar. They should also take help from Mount Mamdara and the
Danavas. Sesha, the noblest of all serpents, should be used as the string for the
churning stick. Accordingly, Mount Mamdara was hurled into the Milk Ocean but it
sank in the waters. An incarnation of Lord Vishnu became the great turtle Kurma
and lifted Mount Mamdara on his back. The ocean was churned for one hundred
Divine years. When the Devas and Danavas were overcome with fatigue in the process,
Lord Indra caused rains and wind to refresh them. Many animals have fallen down
into the ocean. The fruits, flowers and medicinal herbs falling into the ocean
were churned along with it and the contents of the ocean assumed a curd like
appearance. Innumerable living beings were powdered in that violent churning.
Coming in contact with the waters, the fat and marrow of their bodies produced
wine. Many of the aquatic beings living in Patala also met with the same fate. The
ocean turned like milk, and clarified butter came out of it with the admixture of
various saps. Shortly after, the Devas and the Danavas found the sky covered with
smoke which gradually spread in every direction. The smoke turned out to be the
unbearable Badabaanala (sub-marine fire). Afterwards came out serpents with long
teeth and red coloured snakes which lived on air alone. Next came forth innumerable
kinds of venomous insects and terrible beings. Further, the Devas and the Danavas
beheld in that vast ocean a terrible form of blue colour, the most deadly poison
Kaala Kuta which is strong like fire. It was throwing off awful breath. It’s fumes
pervaded all round and turned divine beings into cleaned coals. Under its deadly
influence, many became petrified, senseless and unconscious, and several were
killed. The deadly poison was swallowed by Lord Siva. Next came out the broad-eyed
lady Madira (wine goddess), the nectar, and the divine cow Surabhi” [1].


Let us now analyze which mountain on earth was named Mandara in the myth. In
Matsya Purana, the height of Mamdara Mountain is given as 100 yojanas (9812
miles). We know that there is no mountain on our planet having a summit of this
height. The original text (which is now lost) from which the Matsya Purana account
was translated may have used the word ‘ extent’ to give the meaning ‘length’. The
encyclopedias say that the Greatest of all mountain ranges on the globe is the
submarine Mid-Atlantic Range which is 10,000 miles long [2]. The figure of 100
yojanas given in the Matsya Purana tallies with the length of submarine Mid-
Atlantic Range if we understand that it is a rounded off figure during
translation. The Ancient Indians may have named the Atlantic Ocean as Padamara
Ocean; Padamara in Telugu means ‘west’. Accordingly, the submarine Mid-Atlantic
Range may have been named Padamara Mountain. The consonant form of Padamara is
PDMR. Inverting the two consonants in the middle, it becomes PMDR which is cognate
with the name Mamdara in Sanskrit.

The following are some facts according to modern science about the ‘churning’
process that occurs in the oceans. Under-sea canyons, mountains and ridges block
and channel the movement of deep water and aid in the churning and over-turning of
the oceans. The most prominent part of the submarine mountain system of the planet
is the Mid-Atlantic Range. It is the only one among the other ranges that is
situated exactly in the middle of the ocean. It’s crest stretches from the north
to the south, has the same contours as the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, and
equally divides it into eastern and western parts.

Energy from the sun heats surface waters causing them to expand. Temperature
and density differences have some effect, but prevailing winds are the main
propellants which cause Ocean Currents. The increased volume of water flows
outward as warm Ocean Current toward the poles where it sinks to the bottom. As
a result, the waters that have flowed away are replaced by cold waters coming up
from the ocean depths. The Ocean Currents churn the oceans bringing up rich
mineral nourishment from abysmal depths. They form a great whirl thousands of
kilometers wide which, in North Atlantic Ocean, rotate in a clockwise direction.
Apart from Warm Currents, Cold Currents also exist and their impact on life is

The Warm Current of the North Atlantic Ocean is called the Gulf Stream. A
submerged mountain chain located south-west of Britain divides it into two parts.
The upper part flows north of Scotland and Scandinavia, and peters out under the
ice cover of Arctic Ocean. The lower part flows southward as the Canaries Current
which flows by the side of peninsular Spain and North-West Africa and transports
cool northern water towards the equator. Eventually, the huge North Atlantic whirl
is completed as the Canaries Current merges with the west-ward moving North
Equatorial Current, which derives its energy from the north-east trade winds. It
is in the North Atlantic Ocean that the Warm Currents of our planet have their
most remarkable effect. The Gulf Stream is a real wonder and a rare gift of
nature. It enormously influences the climate of Western Europe. The Gulf Stream
carries vast quantities of tropical warm water into higher latitudes. The amount
of water it carries is so large that it is about ten times the outflow of all the
rivers of our planet. Water in the eastern portions of the Gulf Stream is warmer
than that in the western part. The prevailing westerly winds carry the warmth and
moisture of the ocean to western Europe. Subtropical vegetation thrives in Ireland
and Britain because of warming of the region by these winds. In south western
England, the climatic modification produced by the Gulf Stream is reflected in the
extraordinary mildness of the winters at this northern latitude, including the
growing of winter vegetables and flowers, and the presence of lemon trees in
southern Devonshire. But for the Gulf Stream, Britain might be an ice-covered
wasteland like the one which lies on the same latitude in Canada. In winter, the
air over the ocean west of Norway is more than 22 degrees Centigrade warmer than
the average for that latitude. This probably is the greatest atmospheric
temperature anomaly in the world according to the Encyclopedia of Britannica.


On a map, the Gulf Stream with its extensions appears like a giant serpent moving
along a vast curved path. It meanders like a huge ‘blue’ river amidst the ‘green’
waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The Ancient Indians may have likened it to Sesha
serpent in the myth. The Puranas say that Sesha wears a blue apparel. His abode is
also said to be the place of Varuna, the lord of waters and oceans, in the west.
The Gulf Stream was so named because once it was thought that it originated in the
Gulf of Mexico. The Ancient Indians also might have had the same opinion. The myth
states that the Milk Ocean was churned with Devas holding one end of the serpent
Sesha and the Danavas holding the other. Mexico lies beneath the southern tip
latitude of India on the other side of the globe. Modern history knows about Maya
civilization in South America who built big rock pyramids and temples. In the
Puranas, Maya was the architect of the Danavas. The name Ketu Maala, described in
the Puranas, was the ancient name of South America. The name survives as Gautemala
at present. In the Puranas, the name Ketu usually appears in the compound names of
the Danavas. Bali means sacrifice in Sanskrit and Telugu; the word was used as the
name of a king of Danavas in the Puranas. Modern history knows that the Mayas
killed visitors to their land in the name of sacrifice to their gods and used to
eat the bodies as part of the ritual. What else should we expect of people to be
called Danavas?

Then, who were the Devas? The ancient name of Europe could have been Edope. The
word Vada in Telugu means ‘north’; it is also used to designate lands at higher
latitudes in the north. The name Vada is an inverse cognate of the word Divi which
means ‘heaven’ in Sanskrit. In the ancient Sanskrit geographical texts, Divi was
the technical terminology word used for interpreting the name Edope. Consonants P
and V are equivalent because they are labials. Accordingly, the people of Europe
were the Devas. It may be noted here that the Sanskrit word Deva has the
additional meanings ‘ the highest’ and ‘the best’. Deodar tree (Deva Daaru in
Telugu) was called Deva Tharu in Sanskrit to mean that it gives the hardest and
the best wood needed for building ships which can with stand the travel in
mid-ocean. Another reason for calling Europeans as Devas could be that their land
is blessed with the most unusual gift of divine nature – warm winds and rains
provided by the Gulf Stream. The rains and winds of the myth provided by Lord
Indra to refresh Devas refers to this aspect. In Andhra Pradesh, Divi Seema was so
named to mean that it is the most beautiful place in the state. Similarly, ancient
Indians may have used the name Divi for Europe to mean that it is the most
beautiful place on earth. It also has the extended meaning that Europeans are the
most beautiful people on earth. In some tongues, consonant D is replaced by it’s
soft form R, which can be seen in the name Howdah becoming Howrah. In later times,
the name Edope became Europe.

The technical meaning of the name Patala is “the lowest” or “nether region”.
Another civilization of the South America is Inca; the name is cognate with the
word Naga. The Puranas say that Patala is the land of Nagas, and that there were
snakes with 5 to 100 heads in that land. The cryptic meaning of this expression is
that the longest span of the Antarctic island was 500 yojanas in the olden days.
The Indian sub-continent plate of 100 yojanas separated from the Anatarctic island.
The longest span of the Antarctic island at present is 400 yojanas or 6000
kilometers (approximately).


The bodies of the living beings that die in the ocean sink to the bottom. After
this organic debris reaches the ocean floor, bacteria and scavengers transform
much of it into nutritious inorganic salts of nitrogen and phosphorus. When cold
polar waters clash with warm surface currents during the churning, the nutritious
matter is brought up to the ocean surface leading to population explosion among
microscopic marine plants. The region of Cold Current becomes a great breeding
ground for fishes that feed on the vast plant life. There is a consequent
population explosion among birds which eat fishes of this region. The wealth of
food on these fishing regions is difficult to comprehend. The Canaries Current
region off West Africa is bountiful enough that, in modern times, it attracts
Japanese fishing ships from halfway round the world. The ‘many animals’ and
‘innumerable beings’ of the myth that died in the ocean refers to the organic
debris of the dead bodies that reach the ocean floor.

Along the crests of the volcanoes of the mid-Atlantic ridge are cracks that allow
the near-freezing sea water to seep deep into the hot new crust. This water
becomes heated above its boiling point but remains liquid, because of high
pressure, even at temperatures greater than 300 degrees Centigrade. This extremely
hot water is so buoyant, relative to the ice-cold water all around it, that it
shoots out of the sea floor at high speeds. However, rather than being clear, this
water looks like thick black smoke. This appearance is due to the minerals that
have dissolved out of the basalt crust of those mountains. It also reacts
violently with the ice-cold sea water when it comes back to the sea floor. The
black smoky appearance, which gives rise to the term ‘black smokers’ in the myth,
is caused by precipitation of the minerals in the plume of hot water as it gushes
out of vents in the sea floor. These vents which emit sulfur- rich water are known
as hydrothermal vents.

Another strange phenomenon of nature, the Red Tide, is mostly typical of tropical
and sub-tropical latitudes, and it recurs quiet often. In the Atlantic Ocean it
occurs in the region off West Africa. This phenomenon occurs in the zone where the
cold abyssal waters, enriched with nutritious salts for microscopic marine plants,
rise to the ocean surface. What usually brings it about is a violent outburst of
the various types of plant, and less often animal and planktonic organisms. The
Red Tide lasts from several days to two or more months. In the end, it disappears
as suddenly as it occurs. It extends over hundreds, and sometimes even thousands,
of square kilometers on the surface of the ocean. In spite of the enormous variety
of phytoplankton that cause the Red Tide, it is the algae of dinoflagellulae that
are regarded as the poisonous ones [3]. The toxins contained in some of these belong
to the class of poisons that include curare, tetanus and botulinus. These are
exceptionally dangerous and deadly poisons. The poisons kill the fish by million,
and the putrefaction of the fish further enhances development of the Red Tide. The
hydrogen sulphide gas that evolves during the decay and decomposition of fish
causes sharp and unpleasant smell. The gas causes the copper parts of ships to
loose their luster, and the houses on shore to become darker in colour. Cases have
been registered when people were seriously poisoned as a result of eating fishes
that have swallowed the toxins of the Red Tide. Temporary paralysis is the only
safe outcome in instances like these. People are likely to suffer from the toxic
effect of gas and droplets of water that enter the air from the Red Tide. They
cause inflammation of eyes, skin and the respiratory organs. The stimulating
influence of rain on the formation of Red Tide has also been noticed near the
shores of Africa and France. The ‘red coloured snakes’ of the myth refer to the
Red Tide. The ‘venomous insects’ and ‘terrible beings’ refer to the poisonous
algae. The ‘Kaala Kuta’ poison refers to the deadly toxins of the Red Tide. The
‘awful breath’ and ‘fumes’ of the myth refer to the hydrogen sulphide gas that
evolves in the Red Tide. The ‘turning of the divine beings into cleaned coals’ of
the myth refers to the darkening effect of hydrogen sulphide on houses of the
nearby shores.

In general, the Red Tide is the result of a disturbance in the peaceful
coexistence of the populations in the ocean waters. It can be considered a local
biological war that arises when the biological balance is lost in a region of the
ocean leading to outburst of specific algae population. However, in due course of
time, the aggressor become appeased by the organisms that are antagonistic.


We know that there is no milk ocean on earth. The Red Tide of the Atlantic ocean
does not always exert a disastrous impact on those inhabiting the waters. It
contains quite a few useful substances as well. The water of the Red Tide has
yielded the well known ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). Some types of plankton found in
it contain a protein similar in structure to casein, the highly nutritious protein
of milk. Some scientists think that washed and dried plankton from the Red Tide
can be used to feed the animals on land. This can have decisive importance for
animal breeding in the arid zones where there is almost always a shortage of
fodder. The Atlantic Ocean was likened to ‘Milk Ocean’ in the myth due to the
observation of milk-like structure of some plankton types found in the Red Tide.

To understand the expression ‘the great turtle’, we have to study the superlatives
in turtles. Green Turtle is the common name for a large sea turtle, named for the
colour of its fat, although the animal is brownish overall. It is the ‘fastest’
swimming turtle, reaching speeds up to 32 km per hour. The green turtle may be
found in summer time along the North Atlantic coasts of the United States and
Europe. Adults may reach a shell length of more than 1 m and a body weight of more
than 180 kg. To survive on land, the reptiles had to develop a skin relatively
impermeable to water, so as to prevent desiccation, and hence not well suited for
respiration. While a few specialized reptiles (sea snakes for example) can acquire
nearly half of their oxygen supply through their skin, but most reptiles depend
almost entirely on the lungs for gas exchange. Reptilian lungs are considerably
more complex than those of amphibians, showing much more internal partitioning to
provide additional surface area for gas exchange between lungs and blood. The
‘most’ complex reptilian lungs are found in the green turtle. This species can
develop a high metabolic rate associated with its prolific swimming ability.
Its lungs are suited to providing a high rate of gas exchange, with extensive
branching of the airways leading to the numerous gas sacs of the lungs.

Some turtles can hold their breath for a few months at a time. They do this when
they hibernate under water. Carbonate content in bones varies from 4 percent of
bone ash in fish and 8 percent in most mammals to more than 13 percent in the
turtle. The ‘most’ wonderful fact of turtles in Atlantic ocean is that thousands of
green turtles swim some 2,000 km from South America to breed on Ascension Island.
Turtles are also known for their long life spans; some of them are reported to
have lived for more than 200 years.


The myth says that divine cow Surabhi was born because of churning of the Milk
Ocean. Some ancient Sanskrit texts say that cow milk once became a rare commodity.
This was probably the time when ancient Indians went round the world to find a
suitable type of bull which when crossed with the native cows gives a high milk
yielding breed. They must have found Jersey bull to be the right type for the
purpose. Jersey milk is remarkably rich in fat, and for that reason animals of
this breed are in demand in modern times for crossing with native stock to improve
the fat percentage in milk. The experience of the present day cattle breeders
shows that Jersey cattle are not able to withstand the heat and damp conditions in
India. However, Jersey cross-breeds are able to do very well all over India. The
Puranas say that Usriya and Risabha are chief names of bulls. It may be noted here
that the name Usriya is phonetically similar to Jersey. The evidence shown by the
this phonetic similarity is supported by the fact that Sindh cows excel all other
breeds in India in milk yield and that they are supposed to be cross-breeds of
Indian cows and Jersey bulls. The writers of the text in Matsya Purana may have
thought that Jersey cattle descended from Iberian cattle of Europe. Some Puranas
say that Surabhi was the first mother of cattle. The prevalence of bull fights in
ancient Iberia may have supported their view. It may be noted here that the
consonants of the names Surabhi and Rishabha are the same as those in the name
Iberus – a region of Spain.


The text of text of the myth mentions ‘wine’ at one place and ‘wine goddess’ at
two places. Man knew about grapes since a long time. Fossilized grape seeds
unearthed from Miocene and Tertiary deposits in Europe show their long existence.
However, only a limited number of varieties produce high quality wines. Further, a
wine’s taste is determined not only by the particular variety of grape used, but
also by the soil in which it is grown and the local climate. Vitis Vinifera, the
species of grape most commonly used in wine making, was cultivated in Europe for
thousands of years. Vinifera grapes require long, dry, warm-to-hot summers and
moderate winters for their best development. This requisite atmosphere is provided
by the Gulf Stream in Britain and Spain. Excessive rains are not good for grape
cultivation, but the plants certainly require some watering. Warm winds from the
Gulf Stream carry more moisture than cooler winds from the Arctic. When the two
winds collide near the British Isles, fog results. The ancient Indians might have
thought that the temperature modification and the fog provided by the Gulf Stream
are nature’s gifts to Western Europe for cultivating the best varieties of grapes.
Britain, France and Spain are long since known as traditional centers for growing
the best quality grapes. The myth gives a clue that ancient Indians used to visit
Western Europe for obtaining the best quality grape seeds. This method is
practiced by modern Indians also. Other Puranas and epics say that Kalpa Tree was
also born because of the churning of Milk Ocean. The word ‘ Kalpa’ is phonetically
similar to the word ‘crape’ in Old French which means ‘ grape’. (The Libyans
confuse between the consonants ‘r’ and ‘l’. The Chinese replace ‘r’ with ‘l’. The
Japanese replace ‘l’ with ‘r’. In European languages, the articulation of ‘l’ and
‘r’ is indicated by their historical alteration, as in Sarah-Sally, and
Katherine-Kathleen, and in the words like ‘L. stella’ cognate with ‘star’). The
name Madira Devi is phonetically similar to Madrid, the capital of Spain. However,
the name Madira Devi probably belongs to a later period when the legend was
rewritten using older texts. The name Sura Devi probably belongs to the oldest
manuscript. The consonant form of Sura Devi is SRDV. It’s reverse form is VDRS
which is phonetically similar to Andalusia, the low land region of Spain. It is to
be remembered here that the names Kalpa and Sura Devi were cryptic names used by
ancient Indians.

Some old Greek texts say that Dionysus, the god of wine, invaded India assuming
that he came from somewhere in Europe. In the name of Dionysus, ‘dio’ is cognate
with ‘Deva’ in Sanskrit and Telugu meaning ‘god’, and ‘nysus’ is cognate with
‘Nisha’ in Telugu meaning ‘drunkenness’. Contrary to this, some old Latin texts say
that wine came to Europe from India via sea route. However, the intention of the
Latin authors was that the manufacturing technique of making wine was invented by
Indians and that they exported wine to Europe without divulging the technique.
Brewing is described in the oldest manuscripts of India – the Vedas. Some
classical Greek texts say that Nysa, the birth place of Dionysus, was located in
India. An old western text wrote that India exported wine to Europe [4].


The temperature modification provided by the Gulf Stream was counter acted by cold
winds from the Arctic during Ice Ages in Western Europe. Modern scientists do not
have a common view about what causes the Ice Ages in Europe. One theory suggests
that the Ice Ages are caused by periodic variations in the Earth’s axis and its
path around the Sun. The Pleistocene epoch was not a period of continuous glaciation
but a time when glaciers alternately advanced and retreated (or melted back) over
large portions of Europe. Between the glacial advances were warmer periods called
Inter-glacial Periods, which lasted for about 10,000 years. The European glaciers
reached their maximum thickness and extent about 22,000 years ago. By about 14,000
years ago the ice sheets over Europe began to retreat. The Arctic ice cover
represents a thin layer on the ocean and is markedly distinguished from the
Antarctic ice cap. Every summer, nearly a quarter of the Arctic ice cover melts.
There are large masses of warm waters deep in the Arctic Ocean. Most of them are
derived from the Gulf Stream. The melting of the Arctic ice cover occurs
predominantly at the expense of heat that comes from the warm waters at the
abyssal depths. The Arctic ice cover was melted completely before the last Ice Age
in Europe. Many scientists believe that the melting of the Arctic ice cover
predominantly contributed towards formation glaciers in Europe about 10,000 years
ago. They regard the Ice Ages in Europe as some kind of cycles associated with
either the presence or absence of ice cover on the Arctic Ocean. When the arctic
ice cover melts completely, the ocean surface will not freeze again soon because
the water will start absorbing a considerable part of the solar energy that was
earlier reflected back by the ice cover. At present, the evaporation of water from
the surface of the Arctic Ocean is hindered by its ice cover. Hence, the Arctic
basin is remarkable for the preponderance of high atmospheric pressure. When the
Arctic ice cover disappears completely, the storm paths of the northern continents
will be shifted completely to the south. As a result, the plains of North America,
Europe and Central Asia will have no precipitation at all. The winds blowing from
the Arctic will become humid causing heavy snow falls on the mountains along their
path. This will lead to another Ice Age in Western Europe in the near future.

The Puranas say that the cycle time for precession of earth’s axis is 26000 years
and that the weather on the globe is affected by the precession. In the myth, the
Milk Ocean was said to have been churned for 100 divine years. The Puranas say
that 300 human years are equal to 1 divine year. Hence, 100 divine years are equal
to 30,000 human years which nearly tallies with the period of the earth’s
precession if we understand that it was a rounded off figure. About 1000 years
ago, vineyards flourished and wine was produced in England, suggesting warm and
dry summer seasons and the absence of cold spring seasons. Sometime around 1200
A.D., the mild climate of Western Europe began to show extreme variations. Very
cold winters were followed by relatively warm ones. The English vineyards suffered
during the cold spells. Around 1500 A.D., the climate became moderated. The very
unit of 1 divine year given in the Puranas, which equals 300 human years, may have
been coined to represent the duration of the Little Ice Age (i.e between 1200 A.D.
and 1500 A.D.). However, this figure must have been an approximate one. Since the
zodiac is divided into 12 parts, the 12th part of the first sign also represents
the first sign in a mini-way according to the Hindu astrology. It also says that
the resulting 12th part can be further divided into 12 parts in the same way to
get the little division. We can extend this concept to the Ice Age cycle. The
Major Ice age cycle will be 26000 years, the Minor Ice Age cycle will be 2600
years, and the Little Ice Age cycle will be 260 years.


Nonus, an ancient Egyptian poet wrote that Indians were accustomed to ocean
navigation and have great skills [5]. Ships capable of acrrying several hundres of
people were built in ancient India. Vayu Purana, Markandeya Purana and Bhagavata
Purana furnish references to merchants engaged in sea-borne trade [6]. Buddhist
Jataka stories wrote about large Indian ships carrying seven hundred people. In
the Artha Sastra, Koutilya wrote about the Board of Shipping and the Commissioner
of Port who supervised sea traffic. One author wrote that there seems to have
been no time when South India was not in contact with a number of foreign lands by
way of the sea [7]. The Harivamsa informs that the first geographical survey of
the world was performed during the period of Vaivasvata. The towns, villages and
demarcation of agricultural land of that time were charted on maps. Brahmanda
Purana provides the best and most detailed description of world map drawn on a
flat surface using an accurate scale. Padma Purana says that world maps were
prepared and maintained in book form and kept with care and safety in chests.
Surya Siddhanta speaks about construction of wooden globe of earth and marking of
horizontal circles, equatorial circles and further divisions [8]. Some Puranas say
that the map making had great practical value for the administrative, navigational
and military purposes. Hence the method of making them would not be explained in
general texts accessible to the public and was ever kept secret. Surya Siddhanta
says that the art of cartography is the secret of gods. This being the general
thinking at those times, yet there was one group of Indians who realized that the
maps or the secret texts that contained the geographical surveys will not last a
very long time. Only cryptology using words and names would last longer than any.
The above analysis shows that they were right. The cryptic words amply describe
the knowledge and wisdom of ancient Indians.


[1] Matsya Purana, Ch.249- 251.
[2] Compton’s Interactive Encyclopedia, Computer CD version, 2000.
[3] World Book, Computer CD version, 2004.
[4] The Periplus of Erythraean Sea, Section 17.
[5] A.K.Mazumdar, The Hindu History, Nagen Kumar Roy Publishers,
Calcutta, 1920, p. 184.
[6] R. Mookerji, A History of Indian Shipping, Longmans Green & Co.,
London, 1912, p. 42.
[7] G.E.Sen, The Story of Early Indian Civilization, Orient Longmans,
Bombay, 1964, p. 109.
[8] M.R.Tripathi, Development of Geographical Knowledge in India,
Bharatiya Vidya Prakashan, Varanasi, 1969, p. 270 – 295.

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