Astronomy in Ancient India

sudheer birodkar sudheer_birodkar at
Fri Jun 13 04:34:43 UTC 1997


Members of the Indology Fraternity


I have done some work on the history of Astronomy in Ancient India. 
Especially on the elements in astronomy today that could have originated 
from ancient India.

I recently visited Jaipur and Delhi in India where in around 1720 AD a 
king by the name Jai Singh has built observatories called the Jantar 
Mantar (which roughtly translate as "Tools and Techniques"). These 
observatories are built using the ancient wisdom and principles which 
have been passed down through ages in India. These principles have been 
enumerated in texts with which you folks might be familar with like the 
Aryabhattiya by Aryabhatta (circa 5th Century AD), Panch-siddhantika by 
Varahamihira (4th Century AD) and many others.

The text Panch-siddhantika (Five Principles) has diagramitically 
depicted how eclipses could be calculated. 

The heliocentric theory of gravitation has also been mentioned in text 
like the Garga Samahita, dated around the 8th century BC. In one of 
these texts (I don't remember which) there is a couplet which says 
"Sarva Dishanaam - Suryaha, Suryaha, Suryaha!" (There are suns to be 
seen on all sides and that when one sun sets, a thousand suns take its 
place. This goes to indicate that in ancient times it was perceived that 
the stars are also suns (and the sun is a star).

I have tried to document, to the best of my ability the references to 
the Heliocentric theory of gravitation, the calulation of eclipses the 
earth's circumference and a few other theories and techniques to be 
found in ancient Indian literature on astronomy. I have published this 
in the form of a monograph under the title "(Ancient) India's 
Contribution to the World's Culture" This covers the developments in 
Astronomy among other sciences in ancient India. More on this is 
available at the site:""

I am looking for more info especially in the area of ancient 
astronomical tools and the observatories that had been built in 
Mesopotemia, Mesoamerica, Egypt, and China.

I look forward to hearing from you folks.


Sudheer Birodkar,
Seeta-Ram Sadan, 
Nandadeep Nagar, 
Goregaon (East), 
Mumbai (Bombay) 400 063. 
INDIA. Tel: +91-22-8733827.


Lead me from falsehoods to Truth,
And from Ignorance to Enlightenment.

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