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Time in India

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Title: Time in India  
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Subject: Indian Standard Time, Asia/Kolkata, Time in Azerbaijan, Time in Afghanistan, Time in Nepal
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Time in India

Time in India since after independence in 1947 is officially represented by the Indian Standard Time (IST, UTC+05:30).

Some older time zones were:

The official time signal is given by the Time and Frequency Standards Laboratory. The IANA time zone database contains only one zone, namely Asia/Kolkata. During the Sino–Indian War of 1962 and the Indo–Pakistani Wars of 1965 and 1971, daylight saving was briefly used to reduce civilian energy consumption. The date and time notation in India shows some specialties.

Recorded history

Ancient India

One of the earliest known descriptions of standard time in India appeared in the 4th century CE astronomical treatise Surya Siddhanta. Postulating a spherical earth, the book defined the prime meridian, or zero longitude, as passing through Avanti, the ancient name for the historic city of Ujjain (), and Rohitaka, the ancient name for Rohtak (), a city near the Kurukshetra.[1]

The day used by ancient Indian astronomers began at sunrise at the prime meridian of Ujjain,[2] and was divided into smaller time units in the following manner:[3]
Time that is measurable is that which is in common use, beginning with the prāṇa (or, the time span of one breath). The pala contains six prāṇas. The ghalikā is 60 palas, and the nakṣatra ahórātra, or astronomical day, contains 60 ghalikās. A nakṣatra māsa, or astronomical month, consists of 30 days.

Taking a day to be 24 hours, the smallest time unit, prāṇa, or one respiratory cycle, equals 4 seconds, a value consistent with the normal breathing frequency of 15 breaths/min used in modern medical research.[4] The Surya Siddhanta also described a method of converting local time to the standard time of Ujjain.[5] Despite these early advances, standard time was not widely used outside astronomy. For most of India's history, ruling kingdoms kept their own local time, typically using the Hindu calendar in both lunar and solar units.[6] For example, the Jantar Mantar observatory built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh in Jaipur in 1733 contains large sundials, up to 90 ft (27 m) high, which were used to accurately determine the local time.

Time under British rule in India

In 1802 Madras time was set up by John Goldingham[7] and this was later used widely by the railways in India.[8] Local time zones were also set up in the important cities of Bombay and Calcutta and as Madras time was intermediate to these, it was one of the early contenders for an Indian standard time zone.[9][10] Though British India did not officially adopt the standard time zones until 1905, when the meridian passing east of Allahabad at 82.5° E longitude was picked as the central meridian for India, corresponding to a single time zone for the country (UTC+5:30). Indian Standard Time came into force on 1 January 1906, and also applied to Sri Lanka (then Ceylon). However, Calcutta time was officially maintained as a separate time zone until 1948 and Bombay time until 1955.[8]

In 1925, time synchronisation began to be relayed through omnibus telephone systems and control circuits to organisations that needed to know the precise time. This continued until the 1940s, when time signals began to be broadcast using the radio by the government.[8] Briefly during World War II, clocks under Indian Standard Time were advanced by one hour, calling it as War Time. This provision lasted from September 1, 1942 to October 14, 1945.[11]

After Independence

After independence in 1947, the Indian government established IST as the official time for the whole country, although Mumbai and Kolkatta retained their own local time for a few more years.[8] Assam proposed to follow a daylight-saving schedule that is ahead by an hour (not yet approved by the centre).[12]


  1. ^ Schmidt, Olaf H. (1944). "The Computation of the Length of Daylight in Hindu Astronomy". Isis, 35(3):205–211. The University of Chicago Press. Retrieved 2006-11-29. 
  2. ^ Swerdlow, N. 1973. "A Lost Monument of Indian Astronomy." Isis. 64(2):239–243.
  3. ^ Das, Sukumar Ranjan. 1928. The American Mathematical Monthly"The Equation of Time in Hindu Astronomy">, , 35(10):540–543. Retrieved 1 December 2006.
  4. ^ Piepoli, M. 1997. "Origin of Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia in Conscious Humans." Circulation. 95:1813–1821. Retrieved 1 December 2006.
  5. ^ Burgess, Ebenezer. 1858–1860. "Translation of the Surya-Siddhanta, A Text-Book of Hindu Astronomy; With Notes, and an Appendix." Journal of the American Oriental Society, 6:141–498. (pages 183–186).
  6. ^ Tomczak, Matthias (2004-07-15). "Lecture 7: Living with the seasons—the calendar problem". Lectures on Science, civilization and society, Flinders University, Australia. Retrieved 2006-12-01. 
  7. ^ William Nicholson, ed. (1809). "Eclipses of the Satellites of Jupiter, observed by John Goldingham and under his Superintendence, at Madras, in the East Indies". A Journal of Natural Philosophy, Chemistry, and the Arts (London: Stratford, Crown Court and Temple Bar) 22: 153–156. 
  8. ^ a b c d "Odds and Ends". Indian Railways Fan Club. Retrieved 2006-11-25. 
  9. ^ "On Time in India". Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (Calcutta: Asiatic Society of Bengal): 49–55. April 1899. 
  10. ^ "On the Introduction of a Standard Time for India". Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (Calcutta: Asiatic Society of Bengal): 62–66. June 1899. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ India may get its second time zone if Assam turns its clock ahead by an hour

External links

  • Time in Bangalore, India

See also

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