Varanasi, Aug 1: In the holy city of Varanasi, stands a unique Bharat Mata Mandir with a marble map of undivided India.
The temple, which often gets missed by the teeming pilgrims thronging the city is, however, a favourite among foreign tourists who are frequent visitors to the city regarded as a spiritual capital of the country.
Located in the Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth campus, it was constructed by Babu Shiv Prasad Gupta between 1918 and 1924 and was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi on October 25, 1936.
In the centre of the building, there is a map of undivided India comprising Afghanistan, Baluchistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma (now Myanmar) and Ceylone (now Sri Lanka) on makrana marble.
The interesting feature of the map is the detailed layout of mountain ranges and peaks, 450 to be precise, plains, water bodies, rivers, oceans and plateaux among other geographical bodies which form this part of the world and its scale and depth mentioned alongside.
Pointing out at the Mt Everest and K2 peaks, the Great Wall of China, small pecks in the oceans around the sub-continent forming even the smallest of islands with the help of a laser torch, caretaker Raju Singh said that on the Republic Day and the Independence Day, the water bodies depicted in the map are filled with water and the land areas are decorated with flowers.
It was constructed under the guidance of Durga Prasad Khatri by 30 workers and 25 masons and their names are mentioned on the plaque in one corner of the building.
One inch of the area in the map covers 6.40 miles on land and from a window installed at the ground level in the basement, the difference among the heights of the various peaks is clearly visible, Singh said.