Beautiful map of the pilgrimage route in Uttarkhand
This map explains the layout of the state of Uttarkhand, on the southern slope of the Himalayas. It shows rivers, railway lines, villages, temples, and dharamshalas (resting places for pilgrims) and was intended to help pilgrims to navigate the beautiful, but rugged, landscape. It also has a stunning illustration at the top depicting the Hindu god Badrinathji (center), the goddess Lakshmi (right), and the god Kubera (left), surrounded by other gods and saints.
The Uttarkhand area is peppered with ancient temples and is known as Devbhumi, land of the gods. There are many holy sites, but one of the most famous is Badrinath, one of the four Char Dham pilgrimage sites. It is in the northeast portion of the map. The text column at the left of the page recounts a story of Badrinath, said to be a form of the god Vishnu. Built in the eighth century BCE, the temple is situated high in the Himalayas and is only free of snow six months of the year. The site is where Lord Vishnu is thought to have done penance and where the goddess Mahalaxmi turned herself into a tree to shelter him. Near to Badrinath is the Lakshmi Narsimh mandir, with shrines to Desikacharya and Ramanujachary, as well as the Taptkund hot springs, where pilgrims are supposed to take a holy bath before entering the temple. A few kilometers from Badrinath there is a cave which is supposedly where Ved Vyasa write the epic poem, the Mahabharata. Other pilgrimage sites on the route to Badrinath include Deo Prayag, Rudraprayag, Karnaprayag, Nandaprayag and Vishnuprayag. Other important pilgrimage sites in the state include Yamunotri, Gangotri, and Kedarnath.
Prior to the early twentieth century, there was little infrastructure to support pilgrims. Baba Kali Kamli Wale, a Hindu saint who moved from sacred place to place in this area in the first half of the twentieth century, organized the construction of dharamshalas for the passing pilgrims. One of the largest of these is the Baba Kali Kamli Wale Kshetra in Rishikesh, started in 1908; Rishikesh is in the southeast of the map. The text column to the left recounts a story of Baba Kali Kamli Wale.
The map was made for the Kshetra in Rishikesh and was printed in Bombay (Mumbai) by Sri Venkateswar Steam Press in the mid-twentieth century. The Sri Venkateswar Steam Press is one of the oldest publishers in India. The press was began by two brothers in 1871 in Moti Bazar in Bombay, now Mumbai. It specialized in printing classical Hindi and Sanskrit materials, as well as religious manuals.