Why India's Time Zones Are Off by a Half Hour

Political competition, nation-building, and colonial rule governed everything in subcontinental life, even the passage of time.

May 29, 2023 - 16:29
May 29, 2023 - 19:58
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Why India's Time Zones Are Off by a Half Hour

In the fourth century AD, Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, reached its pinnacle of inventiveness and scientific advancement. The Surya Siddhanta, an ancient astronomical treatise, was considered to be the word of God by Ujjainis. Their greatest work counted time not in seconds, minutes, or hours, but in pra, which is the duration of one breath, or around four seconds. The second smallest unit of time, the pala, was made up of six pras, or 24 seconds, while one day was made up of 60 ghaliks.