The present map differs from most comparable examples by its impressive scale. Although a number of large scale maps depicting north Indian landscapes are known, this 12-meter painting outsizes the majority of them, if not all.
The earliest surviving example of these large maps on cloth can be dated to the 15th century (Panchatirthi pata, Moti Chandra, Jain Miniature Paintings from Western India, Ahmedabad, 1949, pp.46-56). Whilst most later examples depict religious sites such as Dwarka or Badrinath, a group of secular large-scale maps of mediaeval Indian cities is known, painted as an independent subject in opaque watercolour on white cotton cloth. Many of these trahas (from Persian tarah meaning drawing) are in the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum Trust collection in Jaipur. For a discussion on these see Chandramani Singh, Early 18th-century painted city maps on cloth, in Facets of Indian Art, London, 1982, pp.185-192.
They share common features such as the aerial viewpoint and the place-names written in nagari; they have no scale but sometimes have distances given in yards. They are decorative and give an illustrated view and are not accurate survey maps. The same colour scheme is also followed: blue for water and sky, green for trees and forests, red and yellow for residential areas and mauve and brown for mountains. They often include picturesque details such as herds of goats, shrines, game, etc. However there are certain features in the present work which do not appear in the maps of the Jaipur Palace collection such as the depiction of elephants and gun emplacements.
The present map depicts the Ganges river valley and places of pilgrimage such as Haridwar. These maps usually depict places in north India (Kashmir, Agra, Delhi) but a map of Surat is in the M.S. Man Singh II Museum. Inscriptions in the local dialect on the maps suggest that they were painted in the Jaipur region, although the location depicted on this map may well be further afield. For other maps of the same group see G. N. Bahura and Chandramani Singh, Catalogue of Historical Documents in Kapa-Dwara Jaipur, Part II, Maps and Plans, Jaipur 1990. The reverse of the map is inscribed with various dates, possibly including Samvat 1895 (AD 1838-9). These are probably inventory dates.