18th century George Everest house gets facelift, thrown open to public
Around 8 km from Mussoorie is the George Everest peak, atop which is the 18th century house of George Everest, the man after whom Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world is named -- although he likely never set eyes on it.
It is in this house that Everest, then the Surveyor General of India lived between 1832 and 1843, when he returned to England.
For years, the house lay locked and dilapidated (it was under the management and ownership of the Archaeological Society of India). On Tuesday, Uttarakhand tourism minister Satpal Maharaj dedicated the restored iconic heritage house of George Everest, a cartographic museum and an observatory at Park Estate in Mussoorie to the public.
Gopal Bhardwaj, a local historian who received a plaque from the tourism minister for his research work on the area, said, “The George Everest House was built in 1832 but later became dilapidated. When tourism minister Satpal Maharaj was requested in 2017 to restore the house, he readily agreed , and today we see it in a new avatar”.
The location of the house is strategic and it was used as an observatory to view mountains that demarcated the boundaries of British India.
It does not provide a view of Mount Everest though. Mount Everest was mapped by the British only in the 1850s and named after George Everest in 1856 -- in honour of the fact that he completed what is called the Great Trigonometric Survey of the Subcontinent. He was succeeded by Andrew Waugh; Radhanath Sikdar a so-called “computer” for the Geological Survey of India, was the first person to measure Mount Everest’s height, and many people believe the world’s highest peak should have been named after him.
It is reported that George Everest himself protested when it was suggested that the newly discovered mountain the world’s tallest, be named after him, but that he was overruled.
Satpal Maharaj said, “Our vision to restore the iconic House of the Sir George Everest House and the surroundings has finally been fulfilled. The project has been completed with an estimated cost of around ₹ 23 crores with an objective to attract tourists not only from India but abroad too. Once the cartography museum is fully equipped, the descendants of Sir George Everest will be invited to see the restored George Everest House”.
Maharaj said the house has been restored using the same technology that was used for the construction of the original structure.
The project was taken up with financial support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The minister also flagged off a shuttle service from George Everest House that will bring tourists to the spot from Mussoorie.
The tourism minister also released the book “The Great Ark” on the occasion and planted a tree in the George Everest House premises.
Sandeep Sahni, president Uttarakhand Hotel and Restaurant Association said, “It is indeed a boon for the tourist town of Mussoorie that the iconic George Everest House along with cartographic museum and observatory have been restored so that tourists can learn about the survey completed by Sir George Everest”.
Sir George Everest (July 4, 1790 –December 1, 1866) was a British surveyor and geographer who served as Surveyor General of India from 1830 to 1843. For his contributions, Mount Everest, the highest mountain on Earth which was earlier called Peak XV, was named in his honour. He worked on Great Trigonometric Survey, and was largely responsible for surveying the meridian arc from the southernmost point of India north to Nepal, a distance of about 2,400 kilometres . George Everest House and laboratory, where he lived for 11 years, is located at Park Easte near Hathipaon, about 8 kms from Gandhi Chowk in Mussoorie.