Historic George Everest House Reopens as Map Museum in India

The world’s tallest peak has always commanded human reverence. That’s obvious from the Himalayan mountain’s original names: Chomolungma (Goddess Mother of the World) in Tibetan, Sagarmatha (Mother of the Universe) in Nepalese, and Shengmu Feng (the Holy Mother Peak) in Chinese.

The mountain still moves all those who imagine or visit it, but its current western moniker is decidedly less godly. Mount Everest (8,848m) takes its name from George Everest, a British colonial surveyor who likely never saw it. All Everest did was sit at a house and observe the northern boundaries of India at the British Empire’s behest.

George Everest house restoration and history

Everest lived in the strategically placed house from 1832-1843. After that, it fell into dilapidation. Today, the Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board announced it was reopening the structure as a cartographic museum. Extensive repairs went into the building, which the Archaeological Society of India had previously owned and managed.

Heritage carpenters restored the structure using period construction techniques. The restoration did not come cheap, about $3 million, but the tourism ministry hopes that the result will attract visitors worldwide.

“Once the cartography museum is fully equipped, the descendants of Sir George Everest will be invited to see the restored George Everest House,” tourism minister Satpal Maharaj told The Hindustan Times.

Sir George Everest (1790-1866) was a British surveyor and geographer. From 1830 to 1843, he served as Surveyor General of India. History credits him with surveying the meridian arc from the southernmost point of India to Nepal.

george everest

Sir George Everest, Surveyor General of India. Photo: India Today

 

But Radhanath Sikdar, a so-called “computer” for the Geological Survey of India, first measured the peak’s height. As a result, many think it should bear Sikdar’s name instead.

Everest cartographic museum outlook

It’s unclear precisely what light the cartography museum will shed on George Everest’s accomplishments. You can’t see the mountain from his old house, and the British did not map the peak until well after he had left India.

South face of the world’s tallest peak, photographed from a passing aircraft.

 

Reports even suggest he protested when officials proposed naming the peak after him. But empirical powers overruled his pleas, and his name ascended to the roof of the world.

Sam Anderson takes any writing assignments he can talk his way into while intermittently traveling the American West and Mexico in search of margaritas — er, adventure. He parlayed a decade of roving trade work into a life of fair-weather rock climbing and truck dwelling before (to his parents' evident relief) finding a way to put his BA in English to use. Sam loves animals, sleeping outdoors, campfire refreshments and a good story.


Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments