Leiden Asia Year Map #2
Hindu pilgrimage map of Braj, 20th century
colour print, 51 x 38 cm
Gift by professor Hans Bakker, COLLBN 054-19-003
In 2014 Leiden University Libraries received a gift of maps of India collected by Sanskrit professor Hans Bakker. Part of this collection was a set of twelve printed pilgrimage maps. Four of these brightly coloured maps are concerned with “vraja caurāsī kōśa kā nakasā or yātrā”, which literally means: the pilgrimage to Braj which extends to eighty four kos. Kos is an ancient unit of distance of c. 2,25 miles. 84 kos is over 300 kilometres. Braj (or Vraja) is a region in Uttar Pradesh, and considered to be the land of Krishna, particularly sacred to Vaishnavas. On the map the pilgrimage circuit is indicated. On bare foot, it takes up to eight weeks to complete this tour for the Krishna/Vishnu devotee. The pilgrimage includes famous places as Mathura, Vrindaban and Gokul.