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 Post subject: Indian Archaeoastronomy
PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 8:48 pm 
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Here's a neat-looking scholarly paper on the archaeoastronomy of India. (I haven't read it yet, that's why I say it's "neat looking.")

"...astronomical observatories were part of temple complexes where the king was consecrated..."

That would be astrotheology...

Quote:
Archaeoastronomy in India
Subhash Kak
Oklahoma State University, Stillwater

Our understanding of archaeoastronomical sites in India is based not only on a rich archaeological record and texts that go back thousands of years, but also on a living tradition that is connected to the past. Conversely, India has much cultural diversity and a tangled history of interactions with neighboring regions that make the story complex. The texts reveal to us the cosmological ideas that lay behind astronomical sites in the historical period and it is generally accepted that the same idea also apply to the Harappan era of the third millennium BCE (Kenoyer, 1998: 52‐53).

In the historical period, astronomical observatories were part of temple complexes where the king was consecrated. Such consecration served to confirm the king as foremost devotee of the chosen deity, who was taken to be the embodiment of time and the universe (Kak, 2002a: 58). For example, Udayagiri is an astronomical site connected with the Classical age of the Gupta dynasty (320‐500 CE), which is located a few kilometers from Vidisha in central India (Willis, 2001; Dass and Willis, 2002). The imperial Guptas enlarged the site, an ancient hilly observatory going back at least to the 2nd century BCE at which observations were facilitated by the geographical features of the hill, into a sacred landscape to draw royal authority.

Indian astronomy is characterized by the concept of ages of successive larger durations, which is an example of the pervasive idea of recursion, or repetition of patterns across space, scale and time. An example of this is the division of the ecliptic into 27 star segments (nakshatras), with which the moon is conjoined in its monthly circuit, each of which is further sub‐divided into 27 sub‐segments (upanakshatras), and the successive divisions of the day into smaller measures of 30 units. The idea of recursion underlies the concept of the sacred landscape and it is embodied in Indian art, providing an archaeoastronomical window on sacred and monumental architecture. It appears that this was an old idea because intricate spiral patterns, indicating recursion, are also found in the paintings of the Mesolithic period. Tyagi (1992) has claimed that they are unique to Indian rock art.

According to the Vāstu Shāstra, the structure of the building mirrors the emergence of cosmic order out of primordial chaos through the act of measurement. The universe is symbolically mapped into a square that emphasizes the four cardinal directions. It is represented by the square vāstu‐mandala, which in its various forms is the basic plan for the house and the city. There exist further elaborations of this plan, some of which are rectangular.

It is significant that yantric buildings in the form of mandalas have been discovered in North
Afghanistan that belong to a period that corresponds to the late stage of the Harappan tradition (Kak, 2000a; Kak, 2005b) providing architectural evidence in support of the idea of recursion at this time.

Although these building are a part of the Bactria‐Margiana Archaeological Complex (BMAC), their affinity with ideas that are also present in the Harappan system shows that these ideas were widely spread....

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 11:40 pm 
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Here's another long scholarly article on Indian astronomy and astrotheology:

THE STORY OF THE INDIC COSMOLOGY AND THE CELESTIAL TIME KEEPERS

Of especial interest is the discussion of the equinoxes, solstices and precession.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 2:19 am 
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Subhash is an old internet friend of mine with whom I have exchanged quite a few interesting mails on the issue of dating the Vedic culture. A widely read person and a fantastic "astro-mathematician". He was then in Louisiana University in the Electronics Department.




Acharya wrote:
Here's a neat-looking scholarly paper on the archaeoastronomy of India. (I haven't read it yet, that's why I say it's "neat looking.")

"...astronomical observatories were part of temple complexes where the king was consecrated..."

That would be astrotheology...

Quote:
Archaeoastronomy in India
Subhash Kak
Oklahoma State University, Stillwater

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Janani Janmabhoomishcha Swargadapi Gareeyasi - Being near to your mother in your motherland is better than being in paradise

Ekavarnam yatha dugdham binnavarnasu dhenushu | tataiva dharmavaichitryam tatvam ekam param smritam ||
Just as milk is of only one colour though obtained from cows of different colours so also the peculiarities of different religious thoughts lead to the same one ultimate truth - Mahabharatha


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:21 pm 
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Cool, Balu!

For those wishing to do further studies about the Indian solstices, note that the winter solstice celebration has been termed "mahavrata," while the summer solstice is "visuvant."

However, the word mahavrata means "great vow" or "great rite," traditionally marking the first day of the year, which has changed because of the wandering Indian calendar. It makes sense, nevertheless, that the beginning of the year would be observed on the winter solstice, as it has been done in many places and eras.

Here's another article with some interesting information in this regard:

Archaeoastronomy and Vedic chronology

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:26 am 
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lol. I quite liked the term wandering Indian calendar. We usually call the western zodiac the wandering zodiac since it is unimaginable for us to consider the stars as moving from one zodiac sign to another :). That apart, the biggest of all vratas is the Maha Shiva Ratri which is traditionally the 13th/14th day of the dark half of the month of Magha. The Kaushitaki Brahmana describes this as the longest night after which the sun will turn northwards. As of now, Shivaratri would fall anywhere between Feb 11th to March 10th, that is about 52 to 80 days from the winter solstice on Dec 21st. Assuming a precession of one day for every 70 years, this would have been the case between 1600 BCE to 3500 BCE.



Acharya wrote:
Cool, Balu!

For those wishing to do further studies about the Indian solstices, note that the winter solstice celebration has been termed "mahavrata," while the summer solstice is "visuvant."

However, the word mahavrata means "great vow" or "great rite," traditionally marking the first day of the year, which has changed because of the wandering Indian calendar. It makes sense, nevertheless, that the beginning of the year would be observed on the winter solstice, as it has been done in many places and eras.

Here's another article with some interesting information in this regard:

Archaeoastronomy and Vedic chronology

_________________
Janani Janmabhoomishcha Swargadapi Gareeyasi - Being near to your mother in your motherland is better than being in paradise

Ekavarnam yatha dugdham binnavarnasu dhenushu | tataiva dharmavaichitryam tatvam ekam param smritam ||
Just as milk is of only one colour though obtained from cows of different colours so also the peculiarities of different religious thoughts lead to the same one ultimate truth - Mahabharatha


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