Dr A K Chatterjee, a Gynecologist by profession, is an enthusiastic traveler, researcher on religious places, an author and blog writer.
Some important Hindu religious sites on 79 degrees East
79 degrees East meridian : the mysterious connection with Hindu sacred sites
From our discussions in the previous three parts of this article, it is clear that the 79 degrees East meridian was very important to the Hindus from ancient times. Two important things to be noted here:
1) Many holy mountains, river-confluences, lakes and various religious places are situated on this particular meridian or very close to it.
2) Many important temples dedicated to important gods of Hinduism are constructed on this particular meridian.
Here lies the mystery. Temples can be constructed on the 79 degrees East meridian. But the question is, how did the ancients determined a particular meridian so accurately?
The second question is even more important. Why so many holy mountains, river-confluences, lakes and holy places are situated on that particular meridian? Those are not man-made structures. So, are these mere coincidences, or something more than that?
Before answering these questions, let us see what is the 79 degrees East meridian.
(All photos are by the author).
What is a Meridian?
Before answering these questions, let us see what is the 79 degrees East meridian.
As we've discussed in Part I of this article, a meridian is an imaginary line drawn upon the globe extending from the North Pole to the South Pole thus constituting half of an imaginary circle on the Earth's surface. it is also called line of longitude or simply longitude. Its length is 20,003.93 kilometres (12,429.9 miles).
The meridian passing through Greenwich is called the Prime Meridian and it is taken as 0 (Zero) degree. Meridians are numbered East and West starting from the Prime Meridian.
Now, let us see how the Prime Meridian was decided.
Historically, the Prime Meridian was first defined by the ancient Greek scientist Eratosthenis. He described one Prime Meridian in 200 BCE. But it had many disadvantages and was rejected by the majority.
There was a great rivalry and debate between English and French cartographers in the 12th century CE regarding the definition of the Prime Meridian, and a number of Prime Meridians were described, each critisized and denied by others.
Then in the 19th century William Parkar Snow suggested that there should be one Prime Meridian instead of many. This was a good idea, and in 1884 there was an international conference in Washington DC of USA on Prime Meridian. 26 countries took part in that conference and a decision was accepted uninamously that the meridian passing through Greenwich would be accepted by all as the Prime Meridian, and the meridians to the east and west of Greenwich would be named East and West meridians (0 to 180 degrees) respectively.
So, it is clear that the concept of the Prime Meridian passing through Greenwich is a theoritical decision only taken by 26 countries, and it is not a Natural one.
Here comes an imaginary hypothesis (which is the idea of the present author) -- is it possible at all that, what we call 79 degrees East meridian now, might be the Prime Meridian to the ancient Hindu cartographers?
Here is my logic in support of this hypothesis. If we look at the 79 degrees East meridian in a map of India, it will be clear that this meridian passes from north to south through (almost) the middle of India, thus making it a very significant meridian, if not The Prime one. Although this does not prove that the ancient Hindu cartographers considered this meridian as the Prime one, yet this is definitely a point to be kept in mind.
But had it been so, it would be much easier to explain the incidence of construction of so many temples along this particular meridian.
But the next question is an even bigger mystery. Why are so many Natural holy things situated on the 79 degrees East meridian?
Apparently, there is no satisfactory answer. These mountains, lakes, river confluences, or places, were not placed by someone on a particular meridian, that is for sure. So, why are they present there? This is a real mystery, and the present author has no answer.
However, a hypothesis (again by the author) is that, the ancient Hindu Cartographers somehow connected these holy Natural objects by an imaginary line and after finding that these Natural objects fall in a single longitudinal line, marked that longitudinal line as very important or holy, and later made that line as their Prime Meridian of sorts. This explains in a sense as to why so many holy temples were later built along that line (their "Prime" meridian?).
Then there is another puzzle. How could the ancient Hindu architects so accurately determine the position of the 79 degrees East meridian? They did not possess GPS or the like. This is also a mystery, and there is no satisfactory answer.
79 degrees East mystery : conclusion
The mystery of the relation between the 79 degrees East meridian, and innumerable holy places and Natural objects and important temples, is a puzzling one, and there is no satisfactory explanation. Only one thing is clear, that the ancient Hindus did possess excellent scientific knowledge, and possibly some advanced scientific instruments, which sadly, might be lost along the flow of the time.
(A list of DIVYADESHAM temples which are on 79 degrees East meridian is given in Appendix)
Appendix : List of DIVYADESHAM temples situated on 79 degrees EastMeridian
List of DIVYADESHAM temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu :
This is a list of 60 DIVYADESHAM temples of Lord Vishnu situated on 79 degrees east meridian :
1. HARA SAABHA VIMOCCHANA PERUL, TAMILNADU (10.860255 degre.es North, 79.108891 degrees East).
2. THIRIKOODALUR, TAMILNADU (10.925152 degrees North, 79.203532 degrees East).
3. THIRUKAVITHALAM, TAMILNADU (10.946890 degrees North, 79.256512 degrees East).
4. THIRUPPULLAMBOOTHANGUDI, TAMILNADU (10.971596 degrees North, 79.303415 degreesEast).
5. THIRUAADHANUR, TAMILNADU (10.976470 degrees North, 79.313454 degrees East).
6. THIRUKUNDANTHAI, TAMILNADU (10.959649 degrees North, 79.374999 degrees East).
7. THIRUVINNAGAR, TAMILNADU (10.961570 degrees North, 79.432080 degrees East).
8. THIRUNARAIYUR, TAMILNADU (10.915844 degrees North, 79.445554 degrees East).
9. THIRUCHERAI, TAMILNADU (10.879135 degrees North, 79.454402 degrees East).
10. THIRUNANDHIPURA VINNAGARAM (10.922075 degrees North, 79.372192 degrees East).
11. THIRUVELLIYANGUDI, TAMILNADU (11.056687 degrees North, 79.443095 degrees East).
12. THIRUKANNAMANGAI, TAMILNADU (10.799552 degrees North, 79.586645 degrees East).
13. THIRUKANNAPURAM, TAMILNADU (10.868499 degrees North, 79.704266 degrees East).
14. THIRUKANNANGUDI, TAMILNADU (10.757222 degrees North, 79.763290 degrees East).
15. THIRUNAGAI, TAMILNADU (10.759830 degrees North, 79.843706 degrees East).
16. THIRUTHANJAI, TAMILNADU (10.815669 degrees North, 79.138677 degrees East).
17. MANIKUNDRAM (10.816923 degrees North, 79.137229 degrees East).
18. THANJAIYALI NAGAR, TAMILNADU (10.816022 degrees North, 79.139155 degrees East).
19. THIRUVAZHUNDUR, TAMILNADU (10.046532 degrees North, 79.579468 degrees East).
20. THIRUCHIRUPULIYUR, TAMILNADU (10.991202 degrees North, 79.669440 degrees East).
21. THIRUTHALAICHANGA, TAMILNADU (11.129789 degrees North, 79.785252 degrees East).
22. THIRUINDALUR, TAMILNADU (11.109733 degrees North, 79.646232 degrees East).
23. THIRUKAZHICHEERAMA, TAMILNADU (11.07479 degrees North, 79.731704 degrees East).
24. THIRUKKAVALAMBADI,TAMILNADU (11.1769 degrees North, 79.7824 degrees East).
25. THIRUARIMEYA VINNAGARAM, TAMILNADU (11.17768 degrees North, 79.78152 degrees East).
26. THIRUVANPURUSHATHAMAM, TAMILNADU (11.178783 degrees North, 79.776690 degrees East).
27. THIRUSEMPONSAIKOIL, TAMILNADU (11.178446 degrees North, 79.779651 degrees East).
28. THIRUMANIMADAKOIL, TAMILNADU (11.173971 degrees North, 79.776872 degrees East).
29. THIRUVAIKUNTHA VINNAGARAM, TAMILNADU (11.179804 degrees North, 79.778267 degrees East).
30. THIRUTHETRIAMBALAM, TAMILNADU (11.17302 degrees North, 79.7951 degrees East).
31. THIRUMANIKOODAM, TAMILNADU (11.177415 degrees North, 79.777838 degrees East).
32. THIRUPARTHANPALLI, TAMILNADU (11.169952 degrees North, 79.797515 degrees East).
33. THIRUVALI, TAMILNADU (11.201979 degrees North, 79.774538 degrees East).
34. THIRUNAGARI, TAMILNADU (11.226354 degrees North, 79.800335 degrees East).
35. THIRUDEVANARTHOGAI, TAMILNADU (11.196842 degrees North, 79.775504 degrees East).
36. THIRUVELLAKULAM, TAMILNADU (11.190106 degrees North, 79.764929 degrees East).
37. THIRUCHITRAKOOTAM, TAMILNADU (11.399207 degrees North, 79.693364 degrees East).
38. THIRUVAHEENDRAPURAM, TAMILNADU (11.745099 degrees North, 79.709351 degrees East).
39. THIRUKKOVALUR, TAMILNADU (11.967006 degrees North, 79.202479 degrees East).
40. THIRUKKACHI-ATTHIGIRI, TAMILNADU (12.819137 degrees North, 79.724646 degrees East).
41. ASHTABUYAGARAM, TAMILNADU (12.822736 degrees North, 79.710806 degrees East).
42. THIRUTHANKA, TAMILNADU (12.824382 degrees North, 79.705543 degrees East).
43. THIRUVELUKKAI, TAMILNADU (12.822197 degrees North, 79.706450 degrees East).
44. THIRUNEERAGAM, TAMILNADU (12.839122 degrees North, 79.705185 degrees East).
45. THIRUPPADAGAM, TAMILNADU (12.842726 degrees North, 79.696941 degrees East).
46. NILATHINGAL THUNDAM (12.822736 degrees North, 79.710806 degrees East).
47. THIRUOORAGAM, TAMILNADU, TAMILNADU (12.839122 degrees North, 79.705185 degrees East).
48. THIRUVEKKA, TAMILNADU (12.824070 degrees North, 79.712462 degrees East).
49. THIRUKKARAGAM, TAMILNADU (12.839122 degrees North, 79.705185 degrees East).
50. THIRUKKARVAANAM, TAMILNADU (12.839122 degrees North, 79.705185 degrees East).
51. THIRUKKALVARUR, TAMILNADU (12.840653 degrees North, 79.703250 degrees East).
52. THIRUPPAVALAVANNAM, TAMILNADU (12.843658 degrees North, 79.707604 degrees East).
53. THIRU PARAMESWARA VINNAGARAM, TAMILNADU (12.837151 degrees North, 79.709482 degrees East).
54. THIRUPUTKUZHI, TAMILNADU (12.872642 degrees North, 79.618683 degrees East).
55. THIRUVALLUR, TAMILNADU (13.143204 degrees North, 79.907439 degrees East).
56. THIRUKKADIGAI, TAMILNADU (13.093698 degrees North, 79.424626 degrees East).
57. THIRUPATHI (JYOTHIRMATH), JOSHIMATH, UTTARAKHAND (29.92981 degrees North, 79.42245 degrees East).
58. THIRUVADARI (BADRINATH), UTTARAKHAND (30.744695 degrees North, 79.491175 degrees East).
59. THIRUSINGAVELKUNDRAM (AHOBILAM), ANDHRA PRADESH (15.34099 degrees North, 79.15329 degrees East).
60. THIRUVENKADAM, TIRUPATI, ANDHRA PRADESH (13.83393 degrees North, 79.40872 degrees East).
Anita Bosu on January 06, 2021:
Enriched by your article. Thanks a lot for focusing on this ancient wisdom of our ancestors.