Indian History is not just interesting but has also amused us with a sense of wonder.
Curious thoughts doubting the advanced knowledge we possessed 2000-2000 years ago have always crossed our mind. One such thought comes to us when we visit the Somnath Temple in Gujarat.
There is a pillar in the premises of the temple, known as Baan Stambh (Arrow Pillar). It is difficult to say when this pillar was constructed. History books have a mention of this pillar somewhere in the sixth century, which proves that it may have been constructed prior to that time.
The inscription on the pole, which intrigues us, is:
” आसमुद्रान्त दक्षिण ध्रुव पर्यंत अबाधित ज्योतिर्मार्ग “
Translated to English, it means – This is a straight unhindered line from here to the South Pole.
An amazing indicator of the ancient Indian wisdom, at that time when world was merely learning how to survive; how did our ancestors find unique location. It definitely means that we have the global heritage of a rich knowledge.
Mysteriously, from this point at the Somnath Temple to the South Pole in Antarctica, there is no land mass, if one travels through the sea.
With today’s technological advancement, it is very easy to confirm this concept by just checking up Google Map or Google Earth on your smartphone.
The nearest land towards South Pole is about 9936 KM away, which means that the Sanskrit stanza is genuine.
The original question remains unanswered. Prior to the 600’s, when the arrow was set up, how did our Indian ancestors knew that the earth is having a Southern Hemisphere. Well, assuming that the southern hemisphere was known, how did they do the mapping that if one travels from Somnath to the south, one won’t come across any land mass. This is absolutely amazing!
This means that to our ancestors, the fact that the earth is round and having a South Pole (which means, the North Pole as well) was well known. How could they have got to know the Earth’s ‘Ariel View’ at that time? It is all just a mystery!
The Baan Stambh identifying its location as the first point of land to the north of the South Pole is yet another illustration of the knowledge of astronomy, geography, mathematics and indeed maritime sciences of the ancient India and therefore constitutes an element of our rich heritage.
Sourced from the Marathi book, भारतीय ज्ञानाचा खजिना (Treasures of Indian knowledge) written by Prashant Pole.