The newly-found Indian geoglyphs, now believed to be the largest on Earth. Credit: Yohann Oetheimer

Massive Geoglyphs in India Visible From Space are World’s Largest—10 Things You Need to Know

Although the Indian geoglyphs are much younger than the famous Nazca lines, they are much larger.

French explorers have discovered several long stretches of land in the Indian Thar desert, covered with huge winding lines that form massive geoglyphs. Scientists believe that they can be recognized as the largest man-made images in the world.


10 Things you need to know about the largest geoglyphs in the Indian Thar desert

1. The drawings were noticed by researchers who specialize in studying satellite images of the Earth. Back in 2016, they noticed strange wavy lines that someone had carved out on the surface.

2. These lines are located on several adjacent parcels of land and are often parallel. You can only see them from a great height. Scientists were convinced of this by examining the area of ​​interest to them with the help of an unmanned aerial vehicle.

3. According to the authors of the work, a thorough study of the Indian Thar Desert made it possible to identify eight sites in the Jaisalmer region, near the village of Boha. On them, there are clear geometric lines reminiscent of the famous geoglyphs of the Nazca desert in Peru.

Aerial view of the now-believed to be the largest geoglyphs in the world, located in the Indian Thar Desert. Credit: (Carlo & Yohann Oetheimer, Archaeological Research in Asia, 2021)
Aerial view of the now-believed to be the largest geoglyphs in the world, located in the Indian Thar Desert. Credit: (Carlo & Yohann Oetheimer, Archaeological Research in Asia, 2021)

4. According to the description presented, two exceptional geometric shapes are clearly visible from a bird’s eye view: a giant spiral adjoining a snake-shaped pattern. They are connected by a lot of winding lines.

5. According to researchers, this composition alone covers an area of ​​20.8 hectares. The total length of its lines exceeds 24 km, and in general, researchers have documented lines in the Thar desert with a total length of about 48 km.

6. In terms of their size, Indian drawings are much larger than the geoglyphs of the Nazca desert.

7. Upon entering the site, scientists discovered three memorial stones, which are located at key points in the images. In their opinion, this indicates that planimetric knowledge was used to create a gigantic and complex design.

One of the sections of giant spiral as seen from the ground level. Obviously, it would be impossible to understand the purpose and function of the geoglyphs from the surface, scientists have to study them with aerial shots. Credit: (Carlo & Yohann Oetheimer, Archaeological Research in Asia, 2021)
One of the sections of giant spiral as seen from the ground level. Obviously, it would be impossible to understand the purpose and function of the geoglyphs from the surface, scientists have to study them with aerial shots. Credit: (Carlo & Yohann Oetheimer, Archaeological Research in Asia, 2021)

8. Currently, their belief is that the lines are at least 150 years old which makes them much younger than the famous Nazca lines in Peru. Yet, their purpose remains unclear.

9. Scientists note that at the moment, the found geoglyphs are the largest ever discovered in the world, and such giant images have been found for the first time on the Indian subcontinent.

10. Now, they will have to study these geoglyphs in order to find anything that would point to their function and meaning. The inability to see them from the ground makes this even more difficult and raises more questions about their actual purpose. One theory suggests that they could be related to the Hindu memorial stones that are present in the area.


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Sources:

Dockrill, P. (n.d.). Enigmatic Designs Found in India May Be The Largest Images Ever Made by Human Hands. ScienceAlert.
Marshall, M. (2021, May 25). Huge spiral found in Indian desert may be largest drawing ever made. New Scientist.
Oetheimer, C., & Oetheimer, Y. (2021, May 12). New enigmatic geoglyphs in the Indian Thar Desert: The largest graphic realizations of mankind? Archaeological Research in Asia.

Written by Vladislav Tchakarov

Hello, my name is Vladislav and I am glad to have you here on Curiosmos. My experience as a freelance writer began in 2018 but I have been part of the Curiosmos family since mid-2020. As a history student, I have a strong passion for history and science, and the opportunity to research and write in this field on a daily basis is a dream come true.

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