Google celebrates birthday of explorer Nain Singh Rawat

Delhi: Search engine giant Google today celebrated the 187th birth anniversary of intrepid Himalayan explorer Nain Singh Rawat, the first man to survey Tibet, with a special doodle.

Born in 1830, Rawat hailed from the Johar Valley of Kumaon in present-day uttarakhand and was one of the first Indians who explored the Himalayas for the British.

He was part of a select group of indigenous surveyors in the second half of the 19th century, also known as pandits, who explored regions to the north of India.

Rawat also undertook the explorations disguised as a Tibetan monk and walked from Kumaon to places as far as Kathmandu, Lhasa, and Tawang.

He maintained a precisely measured pace, covering one mile in 2000 steps. He hid a compass in his prayer wheel, mercury in cowrie shells and even disguised travel records as prayers to avoid detection.

Rawat was the first man to survey tibet and determine the exact location and altitude of Lhasa. He mapped the Tsangpo, known as Brahmaputra in India, and described in detail fabled sites such as the gold mines of Thok Jalung. He also mapped a large section of the Brahmaputra and the trade route through Nepal to Tibet.

He was first recruited in 1855 by German geographers Schlagintweit brothers. He also travelled to Lakes Manasarovar and Rakas Tal and then further to Gartok and Ladakh with them.

His last and greatest journey was from Leh in Ladhak via Lhasa to Assam in 187375, before his death in 1882.

He bagged a number of awards for his work from the Royal Geographic Society (RGS). The Society of Geographers of Paris awarded Rawat an inscribed watch. Government of india bestowed two villages as a land-grant to him and in 2004, a postage stamp dedicated to him was also released

The doodle, designed by paper cut artists Hari and Deepti Panicker, is a silhouette diorama illustration, depicting Rawat with a tripod stand looking over the horizon as the Sun hangs behind the majestic mountains.

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