When we are headed to a tourist destination, we usually do our research about it. We know of the location of famous monuments from the years of well, knowing about them. (India Gate is in Delhi- didn’t you know this from always?) We know why Mumbai, a coastal city, is so close to the western ghats if we paid a little attention in the Geography classes in school. But there are times when certain things and their location surprise us, when we cross our paths unexpectedly.
This was in May 2012, at the peak of the summer season. We were visiting our family friends in Bhopal for a weeklong holiday. Now, we all have heard about Bhopal thanks to the infamous gas tragedy of December 1984. But it wasn’t before this trip that I knew that the famous Sanchi Stupas were located close to this Central Indian city. As we headed to the UNESCO world heritage site of Sanchi, a surprise greeted us on the highway connecting Bhopal to Sanchi- Tropic of Cancer- the famous imaginary line the early geologists and Earth scientists drew for easier location scouting (Do I put it right?)
We got down from the car to take a closer look at the cemented board proclaiming that the Tropic of Cancer passes here. Two parallel strips of white paint across the road showed the exact latitude: 23 degrees 26 minutes North (approx). The signboard, as is the case with all monuments in India, was defaced by random people.
|Tropic of Cancer on the Bhopal-Sanchi Highway, Madhya Pradesh (May 2012)|