The Great Survey Saga- Part -I

Mount Everest connects with St. Thomas Mount (commonly known as Parangimalai). Don’t go searching for it in maps; the connection is etched out eternally in our history.  How?

In April 10, 1802, at St. Thomas Mount Lieutenant William Lambton started “The Great Trigonometrical Survey”, which changed the face of India quite literally and eventually paved way to find “Peak XV” – the world today knows it as “Mount Everest.” George Everest was Lambton’s successor as Survey Superintendent. Around 1852, a bright Bengali Engineer named ‘Radhanath Sickdar’ proclaimed that Peak XV was the highest peak in the world. After many more years of accurate measurement, Radhanath annunciation was confirmed and it is suggested that, he himself has proposed to name the peak after his now-retired mentor, Everest.


George Everest

George Everest


In 1799, Colin Mackenzie started the Mysore survey. Lambton proposed a plan to expand its scope to cover a much larger area. It is doubtful that even he could have imagined the enormity of this project. The survey was considered as one of the greatest human endeavors ever undertaken and it carried on for 60-odd years (during which 2400 km of inch-perfect survey of the subcontinent was done). The survey was called as “The Great Trigonometrical Survey” (also referred as “The Great Arc”) from 1818, led successively by Everest, Andrew Waugh and James Walker.


William Lambton

William Lambton


Now, in the age of computers, India has a high level sophisticated and integrated organization known as Survey of India. But, how did Lambton and his hard-working Indians, conceived the project of detailed mapping without any of these flashy gadgets? First, Lambton measured a base line (7.5 miles long) at St, Thomas Mount. In that level piece of ground, his workers, housed a 100 ft long blistered steel chain and 500kg Theodolite. The Theodolites were the precise instruments used for measuring angles in the horizontal and vertical planes. The metallic chains accounts for the temperature-dependent expansion and other variables. Lambton measurement method was known as “triangulation.”


Note from Creofire:

Dear Readers,

We needn’t say how better we stick on to our tagline as an infotaining leisure spot, till now. Regular readers might know me and Ct very well through our word faces. Here, today a likeminded fellow enthusiast, a dreamer joins Creofire. The Creofire team feels proud to have our beloved pal Arun onboard.  From now on you could also read him. He is an avid blogger and his blog Passion for Movies has been selected as one of the best Blogs ( ), in the whole of Indian sub continent. As he writes only on cinema in his blog he will use this platform for his writings on varied topics. However, Creofire readers are welcomed and highly recommended to visit his blog and I bet you’ll fall in love with it instantly.


With ever love,


Creofire Team

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