THE DEPTH of our ancestors’ astral knowledge never ceases to amaze us. A recent study conducted by the Madhya Pradesh Council of Science and Technology (MAPCOST) using the latest technology of Global Positioning System (GPS) has proven that the Shiva Temple at Mahidpur in Ujjain district is located exactly on the Tropic of Cancer (the mean of earth’s obliquity) and seems to be a silent monument of this important astronomical fact.
In fact, MAPCOST has found that an idol of Nandi (the divine bull that is considered Lord Shiva’s vehicle) at the temple is positioned at 23.5 degrees, the exact mean value of Tropic of Cancer.
MAPCOST Director General Dr J G Negi said that the perfect positioning of the idol and temple and its beautiful location in general gives ample proof that our ancestors might have built the temple to commemorate the important astral fact.
Dr Negi has stressed that the State Government should take some steps probably like starting an annual fair on Summer Solstice (June 21) to popularise this important knowledge.
What makes Mahidpur and the commemorating temple there more important is the fact that being positioned exactly on the mean value of Tropic of Cancer, it is free from the dilemma caused by the constant shift of the Tropic of Cancer, he added. The Mahidpur Temple, thus, becomes the ancient equivalent to the Monument of Tropic of Cancer at Mexico, which is also located exactly on the mean value of the imaginary line in the Northern Hemisphere.
As against this, a monument next to the railroad on the contemporary Tropic of Cancer in Taiwan built in 1908 has lost its importance as the true latitude of the Tropic has by now moved southward by as much as 1.27 km as a result of the annual shift in the Tropic of Cancer.
Dr Negi said that with the present rate of shift the Tropic of Cancer would pass through Mahakal Temple after 1,969 years. This phenomenon would have happened around 11,000 years ago. Today, the Tropic of Cancer is at 23º26´17½.95 N. Tropic of Cancer is an imaginary line that runs parallel to the Equator at 23.5 degrees North Latitude.
It is the line at which the Sun shines directly overhead on Summer Solstice (June 21 – longest day in the year). 23.5 degrees north is the farthest north the Sun can shine directly overhead.
The rhythmic change in the angle of earth’s tilt causes poleward shift of the tropics. The effect is to slightly increase the seasonal difference between summers and winters as during northern summer Northern Hemisphere would be a little warmer.
At the same time, corresponding winter in the Southern Hemisphere would be a little cooler than it is at present. Dr Negi informed that for the study a hand-held GPS (Garmin - Etrax Vista) was used. A GPS works using a constellation of 24 satellites orbiting the earth.
The precise location is obtained using the tri-latreation technique by knowing the precise distance of the GPS receiver with the satellite.
The study has also thrown up some interesting revelations including the fact that in 3357 AD, the Tropic of Cancer would pass exactly through Bhopal, in 3975 through Ujjain and through Jabalpur in 4078 AD. The tropic had passed through Vidisha in 1379 AD.