A Cultural Journey of Indian Maps
One will notice ‘muziris em.’, which refers to Muziris ‘Emporium’, one of the wealthiest and most famous ports of contemporary India. Preserved in the name of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, the city’s legacy has long been associated with Kochi and its region, although the exact location of Muziris remains a source of debate amongst archeologists.
This fascinating map embraces all of South Asia and much of East Asia, as it was conceived by Europeans near the beginning of the 16th Century. Most interestingly, India, which is named ‘India Intra Gangem’ (India within the Ganges), appears in its modern form, as a recognizable peninsula, for the first time.
Featured here are the western two-thirds of the Indian Subcontinent, extending about as far east as modern day Odisha and Bihar. Camocio based his map on unspecified, but fairly advanced Portuguese sources, as the overall shape of the Indian Peninsula is a marked improvement upon other contemporary maps.
That being said, a number of ports on the west coast of India are labeled, approximately in their correct locations, including: Diu, ‘Cambaia’ (Cambay / Khambhat), Surat, ‘Caul’ (Chaul), Goa (the capital of Portuguese India), ‘Mangalor’ (Mangalore), ‘Cananor’ (Kannur), ‘Calecut’ (Khozikode), ‘Cochin’ (Kochi) and ‘Tranocore’ (Trivandrum).
Dr. Vivek Nanda
Maps part of
Prshant Lahoti Collection