It was sometime in mid 2007 when I came across the Degree Confluence web site while searching web material on some mathematical relation of distance between longitude and latitude. I, being a Highway Engineer have used GPS in many of my projects to fix alignment of bypasses. So, the concept of the Degree Confluence immediate stuck me and I started dreaming to visit one such point.
This dream became a reality after few failed plans in the last five-six months, when my colleague Mr. Rajeev Ranjan and myself visited the Degree Confluence 26°N 75°N on 13th November 2009. It was uncertain till the morning of the day that whether we can manage time out of our official commitments scheduled for the day at Jaipur, capital of Rajasthan state. The city is about 190km away from the Confluence and we need to reach there at afternoon, failing which could have serious consequences.
We visited the state as a part of an official site visit of Fatehpur Nagaur Road project. On our way back to Jaipur I came up with the idea to visit the confluence which I identified when I was planning to reach the confluence with some of my other friends few days ago. On 12th November 2009 we stayed at Puskar, a city famous for animal fairs. Puskar is approximately 85km from the confluence located near Sarwar town. On 13th November 2009 we started at 07:20am from the hotel with our car. Mr. Hari Singh was our driver cum local guide for this expedition. The morning was gloomy with cloud cover and drizzle as we proceeded towards our destination. From our desk study in Google Earth it was clear that there is asphalt road up to the point, only we were not sure of the road condition that we may encounter which have direct bearing on our car speed and time to reach and return from the confluence, keeping in mind our day’s commitments.
The route to the confluence near Sarwar town in Ajmer district of Rajasthan state was via National Highway 89 (NH-89) from Puskar to Ajmer, National Highway 79 (NH-79) from Ajmer to Nasirabad, National Highway 79A (NH-79A) at Nasirabad, State Highway 26 (SH-26) from Nasirabad to Sarwar and finally about 7kms on some village roads leading within 220m of the confluence. We reached Ajmer at 07:45am and after some drive through the city we reached the junction on NH-89 and NH-8 at the outskirts of Ajmer city at 08:02am. The track from this point up to the confluence was previously stored in my GPS and so we knew each and every turn to the point. The two lane road from Ajmer to Nasirabad by NH-79 was through some rolling terrain and our driver was a bit cautious of the wet road as the drizzle continued. We traveled 11km on NH-79 and took a left turn to Nasirabad Bypass. Nasirabad Bypass is partly two lane (NH-79) and partly four lane (NH79A) road. After a travel of 8km we took a left turn to take SH-26 at 08:26am. SH-26 is a tolled road with up-down toll being INR 30. We were greatly relieved of the tension of time crunch, to see the good riding quality of the road and traveled at 80-90kmph to reach Sarwar at 09:02am. Here we left SH-26 and took the local road to right. Our excitement was mounting as we approached the confluence and tracked how the lat-long figures are changing in our GPS and nearing integer figures. From here it was the single lane village roads maintained under PMGSY scheme (Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojona, i.e. Prime Minister’s Village Road Scheme) to take up close to the confluence. The only habitation between Sarwar and the confluence is Arai village. Villagers gave a curious look as we passed through the muddy tracks inside the village. After passing Arai village we followed the PMGSY road and stopped on the road at 220m from the point. The excitement was high as Rajeev and myself neared the point with our eye fixed on the GPS screen. Our distance reduced and sometimes increased with each our move through the agricultural fields towards or away from the point. We finally reached the exact confluence with ±4m accuracy at 09:33:33 am as per the GPS (refer screen shoot of MapSource, picture #7
). Elevation of the confluence point is 364m.
As we expected the point was located in the agricultural fields. Due to scanty rains this year in India many parts of including Rajasthan, the fields did not have any crops. All four cardinal compass directions (north, south, east and west) have dry agricultural fields with dry stems of previous season’s crops sticking out like spikes. The brown clay soil was mildly wet and sticky from the drizzles. Few Khejri trees (Prosopis cineraria) stood here and there. These trees are typical of Rajasthan and have thorny branches and dead branches of the same scattered below posed danger of piercing our boots. Just as we stepped out of our car and were unaware of the thorns, one pierced deep through my shoe and hurt my heel….oouch! I thought that this visit is nothing compared to all the difficult confluence visit posted in the web site. The most astonishing scene awaited us as we reached the confluence point, as we saw two dry crop stems standing parallel just like some kids have playfully erected them exactly at the spot. We joked on the same for some time. As we left the confluence after taking the pictures, the question of whether those were man-made or natural will remain in our mind as we will treasure this Confluence Visit throughout our life. Let this be the beginning of many more to come. We reached Jaipur on time and kept our official commitments.