Discovery: the world’s largest drawings, etched into the Thar Desert!

A father-son duo have stumbled upon what could be the world’s largest man made drawings in Rajasthan’s Thar Desert. 

Carlo and Yohann Oetheimer, who are independent researchers from France, found the mysterious designs by the village of Boha near Jaisalmer. Spanning 48 kilometres of spiral lines carved into the desert floor, the drawings are examples of geoglyphs—large patterns etched into the earth—and are at least 150 years old. 

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The discovery has sent the Internet into a tizzy, as it may set a new record, beating legendary geoglyphs like Peru’s Nazca Lines and Australia’s Marree Man in size. 

Boha figures ‘remarkable’ in nature and scale

Nobody knows who created the Thar Desert drawings—or why. But the Oetheimers suspect they are linked to Hindu memorial stones found at key points along the design. 

Using Google Earth and drone photos to get the full picture, the duo had studied several sites depicting geometric lines around Jaisalmer, many of them eroded by forces of nature. What stood out, however, were the “elaborate” designs near Boha—a giant spiral formed from a single looping line running for 12 kilometres, and a serpent-shaped pattern below it. These designs have been named Boha 1 and Boha 2 (respectively) and are the first of their kind to be found in India. 

As is usually the case with geoglyphs, the Boha drawings are so massive that no one—not even the artist—would have been able to view the finished design without a high vantage point. That kind of elevation didn’t exist in the desert 150 years ago, nor does it today. This, according to the researchers, suggests that the drawings were created as part of a cultural practice, and not for artistic expression. 

Mathematical know-how would have also been required for their creation. Considering all factors, the Oetheimers think these geoglyphs once held “religious, astrological and/or cosmological meanings”, and that more research is necessary to confirm their actual functions. Their findings were published in the journal Archaeological Research in Asia this May. 

Feature image credit: Yohann Oetheimer