Discover the Top 5 Maps of India

India, a land of different cultures, languages, and landscapes, has always captivated map enthusiasts. Maps of India provide a visual depiction of the country’s huge size, highlighting its rich history and geographic diversity. We understand India, known for its diverse and lively culture, beautiful scenery, and intricate history, requires a reliable Indian map for discovering and navigating its various attractions and destinations. In this post, we’ll look at the top five maps of India, emphasizing their distinctive qualities and historical relevance. Whether you’re looking for an Indian map, an Indian political map, or a thorough India map with states and capitals, let’s have a look.

1. The Survey of India Map (1870)

The Survey of India map, a remarkable achievement completed in 1870, is a pivotal milestone in cartographic history. Guided by Colonel George Everest, this comprehensive Indian map accurately depicted India’s geography during the British era. The map prominently displays British-administered provinces, which were the primary administrative units at the time, such as the Bengal Presidency,  the Madras Presidency, the Bombay Presidency, and the North-Western Provinces. It provided a detailed portrayal of the subcontinent’s diverse landscape, from majestic mountains to winding rivers and expansive plains. More than a geographic reference, this map played a crucial role in administrative planning and military strategy. A map created in 1870 displays the triangles and transects utilized in the Great Trigonometrical Survey (1802–1852). 

Survey Map of India- 1870
Indian GTS Map

The 1870 Survey of India map stands out for its precision and thoroughness during a period when advanced mapping tools did not exist. One of the standout features of these maps of India was its use of the Great Trigonometrical Survey (GTS) method. This involved a series of triangulations across vast distances, creating a network of accurately measured triangles that covered the entire subcontinent. This method ensured a high degree of accuracy, making the map one of the most precise representations of India’s geography at the time. 

The map’s level of detail is remarkable, showcasing significant geographical features such as major rivers (Ganges, Yamuna, Indus), mountain ranges (Himalayas, Western Ghats, Eastern Ghats), and extensive coastal areas. It contributed to the fields of geography, geology, and meteorology by providing a detailed and accurate base map for further research. The data collected during the survey helped in understanding the geological structures, climatic patterns, and natural resources of the region. Moreover, you can also find out the old maps of India from our store.

The Geological Survey of India Map (1921)

The Geological Survey of India (GSI) published a map in 1921 titled “Records Of The Geological Survey Of India Vol-lii (1921)”. This map was likely focused on geological information for India, but the specific details of the map are not provided in the snippets.  In 1921, the Geological Survey of India created an important map that emphasized the geological variety of the subcontinent. These maps of India was not just a depiction of India’s physical features but also a vital resource for comprehending its mineral resources. It provided detailed information on different geological structures and the locations of minerals, which were crucial for economic progress and exploration efforts. 

Geological Survey of Maps of India
Geological Survey of Indian Map

The map was instrumental in discovering and mapping out mineral reserves necessary for industrial advancement. It provided a comprehensive overview of various rock types, structures, and geological features present across the subcontinent. This detailed mapping included the identification of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks, which are crucial for understanding the geological history and structure of the region. The standout feature of this map was its detailed depiction of mineral resources. The map identified and located significant deposits of coal, iron ore, gold, copper, and other valuable minerals. This information was critical for the economic development of the region, as it facilitated the exploration and extraction of these resources.

Furthermore, The 1921 Geological Survey of India map was a major scientific achievement. It contributed to the advancement of geology as a science in India and globally. The detailed geological data collected and presented in the maps of India facilitated further research and studies in various fields, including petrology, mineralogy, and tectonics. The map served as a foundational resource for geologists and researchers, aiding in the development of geological theories and models.

The Indian Map in 1947

The map of India in 1947 looked very different from the way it does now, showcasing the intricate process of partition and the initial formation of administrative regions in the newly independent India. The 1947 Indian map highlighted major cities and capitals that played crucial roles in the country’s political and administrative framework. Delhi, the capital of India, was prominently marked, along with other significant cities such as Bombay (now Mumbai), Calcutta (now Kolkata), Madras (now Chennai), and Lahore (which became part of Pakistan). The 1947 map is characterised by the presence of British-administered provinces, such as Bengal, Punjab, Madras, Bombay, United Provinces, Bihar and Orissa, Central Provinces and Berar, Assam, North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), and Sindh. 


India Map in 1947
Indian Partition Map of 1947

Each province had well-defined boundaries and was directly governed by the British. Alongside these provinces, the map also shows numerous princely states, which were semi-autonomous regions ruled by local monarchs under British suzerainty. Major princely states in the maps of India included Hyderabad, Kashmir, Mysore, Travancore, Baroda, and several states in present-day Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The map prominently features the partition lines, particularly the Radcliffe Line, which demarcated the borders between India and Pakistan, splitting the provinces of Punjab and Bengal and causing massive migrations and demographic shifts. 

Key cities and capitals, such as Delhi, Bombay (Mumbai), Calcutta (Kolkata), Madras (Chennai), Lahore, and Karachi, are marked, indicating their administrative and strategic importance.  The maps of India also include significant geographical features like major rivers (Ganges, Yamuna, Indus), mountain ranges (Himalayas), and coastal areas, providing a comprehensive overview of the physical landscape. Additionally, the transportation network, including major railways and roads, is depicted, highlighting the infrastructure crucial for administrative control, trade, and movement of people. Minor details and annotations, such as areas of potential or existing border disputes, major population centers, and economic zones, are also included.

The India Political Map (1956)

The Indian political map of 1956 is a significant milestone in the country’s administrative history, representing the substantial reorganization of states and territories following India’s independence in 1947. This map was a visual representation of the newly formed states and union territories, reflecting the reorganization of the country’s political landscape. The Indian map also identified union territories, which were regions directly governed by the central government. These maps of India included Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Lakshadweep. Union territories were created for regions that required direct central administration due to their strategic importance, small size, or unique administrative needs. 

Indian Maps in 1956
Map of India in 1956

The 1956 India map saw the dissolution of certain states and the merging of territories to form new entities. For instance, the states of Hyderabad, Madhya Bharat, Vindhya Pradesh, and Bhopal were merged to form the new state of Madhya Pradesh. These maps of India also saw the integration of several princely states that had been administratively distinct entities before independence. It depicted the updated Indian state boundaries, which were crucial for governance and administration in the early years of independence.  This political map of India was instrumental in helping the citizens and the government understand the new political structure of independent India. It was widely used for educational purposes, in government planning, and for general reference. 

This map represents the result of ongoing efforts to redefine borders according to linguistic and cultural characteristics, with the goal of establishing a more unified and practical administrative structure.  The 1956 political map of India set a precedent for future reorganizations. Subsequent changes, such as the creation of new states like Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and later Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Uttarakhand, were influenced by the principles established in 1956. The map provided a framework for addressing regional demands and administrative challenges in the coming decades.

Indian Map in the Year 2000 

The Indian map in 2000 represents a matured and evolved political landscape, reflecting the changes and reorganizations that occurred over the five decades since independence in 1947. By the turn of the millennium, India had undergone significant administrative restructuring, which led to the creation of new states to address regional demands and improve governance. India had 28 states and seven union territories, which is shown in their maps of India of 2000. Key states include Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh.

Indian States Map in 2000
States of India Map-2000

The Indian Union territories were Delhi, Puducherry, Chandigarh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu. A significant feature of the 2000 map is the creation of three new states: Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand (initially Uttaranchal), and Jharkhand. Chhattisgarh was carved out of Madhya Pradesh to address administrative efficiency and local aspirations. Uttarakhand was formed from the hilly regions of Uttar Pradesh, emphasizing its distinct cultural and geographical identity. Jharkhand was created from the southern part of Bihar, focusing on the area’s tribal population and mineral wealth.

This Indian map highlights India’s diverse geographical features, including major rivers like the Ganges, Yamuna, Brahmaputra, Godavari, and Narmada, and mountain ranges such as the Himalayas, Western Ghats, and Eastern Ghats. Major cities and capitals like Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore are marked, reflecting their importance in administration, commerce, and culture. These maps of India show the country’s administrative evolution and regional developments. It also indicates the nation’s efforts to address regional demands and improve governance by creating smaller, more manageable administrative units. 

Key features of Top Indian Maps

  • The distinctive shape of India on the map is often likened to a kite or a woman’s profile wearing a sari.
  • Ancient maps of India depict the now-extinct Sarasvati River, once considered one of the major rivers.
  • India shares its longest international border with Bangladesh, stretching over 4,000 kilometres.
  • The Great Trigonometrical Survey (GTS) of India, conducted in the 19th century, established the first accurate longitudinal measurement of the Earth’s shape.
  • Pre-independence Indian maps show over 500 princely states, each with its unique boundaries and governance.
  • The highest peak in the world, Mount Everest, was named after Sir George Everest, the Surveyor General of India.
  • Maps of India include the remote and strategically important Nicobar Islands, which are closer to Indonesia than mainland India.
  • The Tropic of Cancer passes through eight Indian states, a unique feature not widely recognized.
  • Maps of India during British rule were often classified for their detailed military significance, especially those depicting frontier regions.
  • Ancient maps of India from the Maurya and Gupta periods reveal a sophisticated understanding of geography and trade networks.
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