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The country was surveyed between
1924 and 1927 by clandestine workers for the
Survey of India.

Modern topographical maps suitable for trekking are difficult to find for areas of Nepal. The country was surveyed between 1924 and 1927 by clandestine workers for the Survey of India. They ventured through the country with concealed survey instruments and did a creditable job. While the altitudes on their maps are usually not correct, the relative features of the topography south of the Himalaya are portrayed well. But the trails are not always marked accurately. The 1:250,000 series (one inch = 3.9 miles) of this survey is not generally available. Like most Indian cartographic materials, its distribution used to be restricted to official agencies. In the United States, the U.S Army Map Service, Corps of Engineers, has printed these maps under the title Series U502. Copies of these maps are sometimes available from the sources listed at the end of this page.


They can also be ordered from the Library of Congress, Photo duplication Service, Washington, D.C. 20540; or the Cartographic and Architectural Branch, National Archives and Records Service, 8th and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20408. The sheets most useful to trekkers are:

NG 45 - 3 Kanchenjunga (toward Darjeeling)
NG 45 - 2 Mount Everest (Kathmandu to Khumbu and Rolwaling)
NG 45 -14 Tingri Dzong (north of above sheet)
NG 45 - 1 Kathmandu (Gorkha to Kathmandu and north)
NG 45 -13 Jongkha Dzong (north of Kathmandu)
NG 44 -16 Pokhara (north and west of Pokhara)
NG 44 - 4 Tansing (south of above sheet)
NG 44 -11 Jumla (Jumla to Rara Lake)

These maps can be seen at major map libraries. Some government offices in Kathmandu have maps from this series on display.

A scaled-down version of the Survey of India maps on the scale of 1:506,880 (one inch = 8.0 miles) is available to the public. These maps, Series U462, are published by the British Ministry of Defense. They can be seen at Government Tourist Office in Kathmandu. A blue now-topographical version with recently built roads an airstrips is also sometimes available. A further scaled-down updated version on the scale of 1:780,000 (one inch = 12.3 miles) is available from American-Nepal Maps, c/o M.S. Holloway, 5831 Hampton Court, San Diego, Calif. 92120. Either of these versions gives general impression of the topography, but few towns are marked and the delineation of the trails is not quite accurate. Nevertheless, they are the best general maps of Nepal available.

The Survey of India completed an aerial survey of Nepal in the early 1930s to produce maps on a scale of 1:63,360 (one inch = 1.0 mile). They are excellent, but almost impossible to find because of restrictions on distribution.

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