The first ever world map was sketched thousands of years ago by Indian saint Ramanujacharya, who simply translated the following verse from Mahabharat and gave the world its real face.
In Mahabharat, it is described how Maharishi Ved Vyasa gave away his divine vision to Sanjay, Dhritarashtra's charioteer so that he could describe him the events of the upcoming war. But, even before questions of war could begin, Dhritarashtra asked him to describe how the world looks like from space.
This is how he described the face of the world:
यथा हि पुरुषः पश्येदादर्शे मुखमात्मनः- ।
एवं सुदर्शनद्वीपो दृश्यते चन्द्रमण्ड्ले॥
द्विरंशे पिप्पलस्तत्: द्विरंशे च शशो महान्।।-
(भी:म पर्व, महाभारत)
अर्थ- जैसे पुरुष दर्पण में अपना मुख देखता है, उसी प्रकार यह द्वीप (पृथ्वी) चन्द्रमण्ड्ल में दिखाई देता है। इसके दो अंशों में पिप्पल (पीपल के पत्ते) और दो अंशों में महान शश (खरगोश) दिखाई देता है।
Just like a man sees his face in the mirror, so does the Earth appears in the Universe. In the first phase, you see Peepal leaves and the next phase you see a rabbit.
Based on this shloka, Saint Ramanujacharya sketched out the map, but the world laughed it off on seeing some leaves and a rabbit. Much later, when the picture was switched upside down, the reality struck in.
Don’t believe us, try turning the above picture upside down and you’ll know what I am talking about.