This fascinating map depicts the State of Jaipur, a princely state surrounding the eponymous city. While the map’s text is printed entirely in Hindi, it otherwise corresponds perfectly in style and content to a normal topographical map printed by the Surveyor General of India’s Office.
The city of Jaipur was founded in 1727 by the Kachwaha Rajput Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, who was also celebrated as India’s leading astronomer. A carefully designed city of architectural splendour, it has long been regarded as one of India’s gems.
The present plan was made to satisfy the growing desire for maps on the part of a broader constituency of Indians. During the later 19th Century, the Surveyor General’s Office recognized the vital imperative of translating some of their maps into Indian languages, especially Hindi and Urdu, in order to reach countless more stakeholders and customers. This particular map is based directly on an English language topographical map prepared from the findings of the Great Trigonometrical Survey, the massive project that aimed to scientifically map all of India to exacting scientific standards. As the note reads at the extreme bottom-right, it was “Compiled by Order of Mr. James N.T. Wood, Map agent, Surveyor General’s Office, Calcutta, March, 1883 and the names in Hindi Character[s] by Munshi Jwala Sahaie, Mir Munshi Jeypore Council”.
The timing of the publication of this Hindi edition was likely done in honour of the Jaipur Exhibition of 1883, the largest fair of the decorative and industrial arts ever held to date in India. The extravaganza was sponsored by Maharaja Sawai Madao Singh II, inspired by the Great Exhibition of London in 1851, and drew spectators from across the subcontinent, so establishing Jaipur as a premier tourist destination.