Lt Col Colin Mackenzie
  • If I were to name only one British officer to whom the entire Indian archaeology must salute, the name that pops up above the rest is that of Lt COl Colin Mackenzie. He was the ultimate pioneer who took up serious interest in oriental studies, a century before it really picked up momentum.

    He was a Scottish youth who came to India mainly because of his interest in Mathematics. Joined East India company and eventually rose to become the first surveyor general of India.

    IN a short lifespan, he and his assistants collected a wealth of information - including inscriptions, paintings drawings and what not? Unfortunately, none of his valuable assets could be published in his lifetime. It took a very long time before they can be sorted and even cataloged.

    The tamil inscriptions collected by him have been published in three rare volumes with chandrasekharan as editor. Some of the inscriptions recorded could not be traced back when ASI wanted to record them for SII series - a century later.

    The oriental manuscripts library in tharamani has most of the manuscripts collected by Mackenzie. Obviously we did nothing with it - did not even publish many of them.

    But the drawings and other assets are in the british library london - well cataloged and maintained.

    this site has his collections

    I guess mackenzie must have been the boss of lambton who climbed the big temple with his one ton Theodolite - equipment, sent it rolling down and caused a stir
    mackenzie must have also been the predecessor of Everest after whom mount everest is named

    (the Great Trigonometric Survey was a project of the Survey of India throughout most of the 19th century. It was piloted in its initial stages by William Lambton, and later by George Everest. Among the many accomplishments of the Survey were the demarcation of the British territories in India, and the measurement of the height of the Himalayan giants - Everest, K2, and Kanchenjunga.)

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