Saturday 19 January 2013

The geographical centre of India

Which is the centre of India?
It is a small plot of agricultural land and the Government of India acquired it soon after Independence. Mind you, there was no developmental work in progress here. No dam was being constructed nor was any road being formed.  The Government acquired this plot of land and gave the farmer exactly the same size of the land it had acquired at a different place. The reason: This was exactly the centre point of new India (minus Pakistan).
Before Independence, the centre point of undivided Indian was Nagpur. But after 1947, when India came to be divided into Pakistan and India and of course East Pakistan (which was  a part of Pakistan), Indian surveyors had to redraw the topography of India.
The centre of India then shifted from Nagpur to a small village in Madhya Pradesh. The surveyors discovered that the centre was right in the farm of a villager. It acquired his land and constructed a small sign.
However, this village is still obscure and not many know about it
and it is still the center of nowhere.
The village is Karondi located in Seoni district of Madhya Pradesh. It has a population of about 498 persons living in around 82 households.
What would have imagined that this nondescript village would emerge as the centre point of India. The village has nothing to show off. It has no structures worth seeing nor is it known for anything , save the centre point.
Actually, Kalyanapur is the correct middle point of India. The correct middle point is logged in the office of the Surveyor General of India as the zero point for map work. But the geographical centre is at the coordinates, 24 degrees 7 minutes 11 seconds North and 77 degrees 41 minutes 49 seconds East.
These coordinates would be located somewhere near the jungles of  Karondi. Since the village of Karondi, whose coordinates were the closest among the three contenders to the spot being officially declared as the centre of India, it was chosen.
The best way to reach Karondi is to first touch Jabalpur by either train or road. However, beware, only a handful of people even know that a small village nearby is the centre of India.
Head to the district of  Sihora, a little away from Jabalpur. The road to the village is dusty and  meanders into a village road. The road passes through heavily forested area and the village of  Karondi suddenly emerges situated in a large clearing.  
There is an ashrama of  Maharishi Mahesh Yogi here called the Vedic Vishwavidyalaya, which trains Brahmin in shastras and Vedic rituals.
There is a small memorial near the ashrama which says this is the centre of Bharat or India. The memorial is nothing but a cement replica of  Emperor Ashoka’s four headed lion. The replica is at the erstwhile farm of Ramesh Singh Thakur.                                                                             
Look around you and you will find the forest teeming with wildlife. The nearby Kechua Hills are a perfect backdrop to the isolated village.
The village is about 63 kms from Jabalpur.
Coming back to Nagpur, you can still find the zero mile point here. This point was set up by the British when they measured scientifically the geographical area of  undivided India.
The Zero Mile Stone consists of four horses and a pillar made up of sandstone. It is located on the south east of  Vidhan Bhavan.
It is from here, that distances were first calculated.
However, neither of the two points-Nagpur and Karondi-are known. Is it not the duty of the Government to make people aware of these geographical milestones.  

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