Sun on lake


Does the Sun rise from the East?

If the answer is an unqualified yes, then this story would not be worth reading. And if it is in the negative, it fouls with our primary school teaching. Permit me to mention that direction of the Sunrise and the Sunset varies with the latitude and changes with the seasons. The extreme deviations are observed during what is called the Solstice days. This year (2013) the winter solstice was on 21st December. If this issue attracts your attention, get up in the morning and point a compass towards the East. If you are located in or around Delhi, you will observe that the Sunrise will be at an angle 28.8 degrees to the South of East. If you are a late riser, watch the Sunset. Once again you will see the Sun going into the horizon at an angle of about 26.4 degrees South of the West. These inputs, amongst many others have come to me from my old friend, Joseph Thomas.

Azimuth Angles

These angles are called azimuth angles. At the Equator, the angle remains nearly constant all through the year. On the rest of the Earth, it swings from South East to North East. Indeed, during the Equinox (21 March and 21 September) it becomes due East. For those interested in this subject, I am giving below, the pictures of how these angles are measured. It is customary to treat due North as zero, and then we count it clockwise. Thus East is 90 degrees, South is 180 and West is 270 degrees, as shown below:

horizontal angles

In the Southern Hemisphere, the counting is the opposite: there, South is zero, as given below:


southern hemisphere angles Thomas surfed through the Internet and has sent the following figures related with the Latitude of Delhi, which is approximately 29 degrees North. In addition to the azimuth angles he has also given us ‘the noon angles’ about which we will talk a little later.

Date Noon Elevation(Deg) Sunrise(Hrs Local)  Sunrise(Hrs IST) Azimuth Angle(Sunrise) Sunset(Hrs Local) SunsetHrs (IST) Azimuth Angle(Sunset Declination(Deg) Remarks
20 Mar 13 61.00 0600 0622 090.2 1759.5 1821.5 270.1 0.000 Equinox at 1602 hrs
21 Jun 13 84.27 0458 0520 063.2 1849 1911 298.2 +23.437 Solstice at 1000 hrs
23 Sep 13 60.60 0545 0607 091.9 1744 1806 271.7 0.000 Equinox at 0146 hrs
21 Dec 13 36.43 0646 0708 118.8 1654 1716 243.6 -23.437 Winter solstice at 2230 hrs

 You may now choose your own method to determine the East and the West and observe the Sunset or the Sunrise, as you like it. The Golfers will appreciate this phenomenon more, because they see the Sun emerging through the different seasons, and watch it in all its glory. Here is a picture which I took at the Chandigarh Lake a few days back.

sunset on lake latest


Part Two – The Story of Sundials

In the digital age, the process of telling time during day or night, is a simple process. It is on the cell phones, computers, television sets and there are clocks all around. All this is a recent phenomenon. Just a hundred years ago, very few people had a watch of their own. There were clock towers in prominent places and the Churches, which struck the hour. Go back in the history and you find that these clocks are no more than seven hundred years old. Before that, there was ONLY one method of telling time, and that was by observing the shadow cast by the Sun. Given below is a picture of a typical clock tower. It is in the Golden Temple, Amritsar. And exists even thought no one looks at it to tell time any more.

clock last

Have you ever wondered how people told time before the invention of the clock? It was through Sundial. They were created in several forms. But in all cases, there is one thing in common. Every Sundial has a surface known as the ‘gnomon’ It is inclined at an angle equal to the latitude of the place where the Sundial is located and it points towards the North. The shadow cast by the ‘gnomon’ on the dial tells the time of the day. The Sundial in the Golden temple has survived till the present day. It is located on bridge which joins the outer walkway (called ‘parkarma’) with the Sanctum Santorum. As one passes over the bridge, it is located on the left side, and is almost half way down the bridge. Given below are a couple of pictures of the instrument.

self with sundial

 And here is a close up of the Sundial

sundial darbar sahib

 The above simple Sundial has one disadvantage: at around the noon the resolution is very little, while at sunrise and the sunset, you can tell time with much greater precision. Maharaja Jai Singh of Jaipur improved upon this  and created a Large circular sundial at the Jantar Mantar in Jaipur, which was later repeated in Delhi and it continues to exist till this date as a solar observatory.

To commemorate the Golden Jubilee of our joining the National Defence Academy, Kharakvasla,  the XIX Course association erected a Sundial near the Gole Market. A picture of this dial is given below:

sundial at nda large  

Vice Admiral Krishnan was the principal architect of this 25 feet tall monument and you see him walking on the left, with his back facing the camera. Our Pune based  friends Sooraj Sriram and Vivek Sapatnekar made valuable contribution in this project. George Poonen who came from the USA had this event covered by having a postage stamp issued by the US postal department. A picture is given below:

postage poonen L

 While conceptualizing the model and as a memento for this two models were made in Delhi. Pictures of these models are given below. In these models we also added two vertical ‘pins’ which can measure the ‘azimuth’ angle and the ‘noon elevation’ You can see these angles marked on the model. Here are the pictures:

large model Large

This model was made of stainless steel, since in the beginning we intended to use it in the final version. However, we noticed that steel shines, and therefore it does not produce sharp shadows. In the other model (made of wood) we used a anodized aluminum, which proved to be a more appropriate material. Notice the angle markings for determining solar angles.

small model L

 Sundial Time and the Clock Hour

An interesting observation we made was that the Sundial reads the solar time. It divides the daylight period into the desired number of fragments. In India, the day was conventionally divided into eight “Pahers” Four during the day and four at night. The word ‘dopaher’ (which coincides with the noon) marks the end of the second ‘paher’ The ‘paher’ was sub-divided into three ‘gharhis’ and the smaller units of time were known in India as ‘pal’ and ‘kshana’ The point to note is that during the summer when the length of the day increases, the paher became longer, and in the winter it became shorter. For a long time there was a debate amongst the intellectual on this issue. Indeed, at the end of the day, the clock hour was accepted as the universal standard, which divides the solar ‘day’ into 24 equal parts regardless of the season.

The Noon Angle

The importance of the ‘noon angle’ can hardly be over-emphasized. This is the angle which the Sun makes with the horizontal plane at the Noon time. Whenever the noon angle is closer to 90 degrees, the solar radiations have to traverse the smallest distance through our atmosphere, and so we get more light and heat. At Sunset, Sunrise and during the winter, the Sun is at a low angle, and therefore, its radiation gets attenuated. The following pictures show this phenomenon.

solar rays vertical

This is hot Sun, which we receive in the tropics. The evening Sun looks this: 

solar rays slant

 From Which Direction Does the Sun Rise at the North Pole?

Just shoot this question at a few of your friends. And see them trying to find the answer. Some will, indeed, hit back and say that the Sun does not rise at the North Pole! This is only partially true. The Sun does rise ONCE a year in March and it sets in September. And since the ONLY direction at the North Pole is the South, the Sun rises and sets in the south!

A Tailpiece.

When I was talking about the Sundials to the children of a school, a smart child asked me, “Sir, how will you tell time with the Sundial at night?” I shot the question back at them. They came out with a number of answers including the use of the shadow of the moon, during the moonlit nights. But the smartest answer was,

               “I will ring up my cousin in the USA!!!”


A few days after I had uploaded this piece on the blog, my friend Ashwani told  me that he had seen a Sundial in the church at  Kasauli. He also brought two pictures which I am inserting below:

church kasauli ed

  You see Ashwani standing next to the Sundial

sundial kasauli ed

 And this is a close up of the Sundial

He observed the time shown by the Sundial very meticulously. And when he met me next he told me that there was a difference in the time on his watch and the one shown by the sundial. In the post above, I had mentioned that the time shown by these two techniques is INHERENTLY different. This difference is on two counts:

  • A fixed difference caused by the longitude. During the days of the Sundials, the concept of ‘Standard time’ did not exist. Each Sundial goes by the local noon, which varies with our longitude. In India, IST line passes through somewhere near Allahabad. The solar noon in the East occurs before the IST while in places located West of the place it occurs after that time. We are all familiar with the fact that the Sun rises in Kolkata much earlier than Mumbai. Therefore, if the Sundial need to be used now they need a correction table.
  • The other correction is related with the seasonal variation. The Sundial works by the shadow. In the winter, the days are short, so the shadow moves faster. In the summer the reverse occurs.

It needs to be remembered that ‘time’ is essentially needed to coordinate human activity. During the days of the Sundials, there were no trains, aircraft and radio programmes. Therefore no coordination was needed with people located away from the town or the village. On the basis of the shadow, the Church or the Municipality struck the hour by means of a bell or a gong, and that was enough for workers and students to reach their places of activity.

I am grateful to Mr PPS Hariprasad (e-mail for some very useful information he has sent. He has studied the subject in great depth. He has also informed me that a Sundial has been erected in EME Centre at Secunderabad.


Veteran Maj Gen PC Sen is Director MDC, Ashok Leyland at Hosur (TN) He has sent in the following text as an addendum to this Post

Gordon Sanderson’s Sundial, New Delhi

   gordon delhi

I saw this Sundial for the first time when I was about 4 years old (circa 1958). We as a family of four had gone for a picnic to the Minar. It was quite far from Delhi and a favourite  picnic spot only for the adventurers.   The structure of the Sundial was small ( perhaps so as not to challenge the might and beauty of Qutb Minar in any way – British sensibility or sheer economy or maybe both?). It is tucked in a corner and one is quite likely to miss it – I still remember that it had overgrown grass around it and was very cool to the touch. It had no railings around it, it was intact (I notice from the photographs that an edge now has got damaged) and was standing in solitary splendor. There was something quite regal about it.

I remember my father reading some inscription near the sundial (please recall  that the Brits had left only 11 years back), that it was erected by his wife,  (The photograph on top and the following photograph and article downloaded from  the Internet does not mention that although). The garish and lurid railings  around the structure (and  the blue steel notice board stand) are in sharp contrast to the marble structure  quite upsetting and affronting  to one’s eyes.


The Sundial is a small specimen, made of marble & fitted with a sleek blade ( not copper as in Harmandar Sahab) to form a shadow that rotates with time. It isn’t very stylish, or stunning either, but is inscribed with a simple inscription in Latin that reads “Transit umbra; Lux permanent” (“The shadow passes, the light remains”). Constructed as a tribute to Gordon Sanderson, a former Superintendent with the Archaeological Survey of India (A.S.I.), the Sundial stands testimony to the achievements & illustrious career of Sanderson in a country where archaeologists & historians are forgotten & considered with unconcern.


Sanderson carried out extensive excavations & restoration work within the Qutb Complex, now a World Heritage Site. He also documented & researched about the structures present within the Red Fort Complex, another World Heritage Site in Delhi. Sanderson is credited with authoring several books about Indian architectural marvels & heritage sites, & this line-drawing supposedly sketched by Sanderson showing what the Qutb Complex might have looked like had all the emperors who initiated several projects here had completed them.


Please note the massive Minar  on the right , started as the Alai Minar ( Allauddin  Khilji). Khilji died before it could be completed, the Qwwatul Islam mosque is on the left corner.





  1. Lt Gen YN Sharma says:

    Thanks Surjit.
    Stimulating Blog post and discussion.
    Here is the Infantryman’s ‘enlightened’ response to the title of your cerebrations:–
    ‘ NO, the Sun neither rises nor sets.’ Planet Earth moves and creates the illusion of time.
    All Creation (including Time and Space) is a changing virtual-reality, an Illusion– Maaya! It is created by our minds in the One constant viz. Consciousness (Sat-Cit-Ananda i.e. Existence- Intelligence-Bliss)
    The seminal substratum of Existence is Infinite, unknowable No-thingness! Indicated by Neti-Neti (not this-not this), therefore THAT?
    It is the ‘Beingness that Becomes’ all things temporary in the transactional/phenomenal (virtual) reality–as in a laser-show– that includes Time!
    Let me put a rhetorical power– when did Time begin? What was before that ‘event’? If Nothing– then nothing can come out of nothing!
    Hence Existence (in whatever form) is Eternal, so too Kaal Chakra of time!
    To your scientific mind, all this may sound like metaphysical BS? But so is 98% of knowledge about Cosmos e.g. dark matter/energy, blackholes, quantum-fields, entanglement, Corona-virus vaccine ,inter alia?

    The more you dig the less you know– so KNOW THY-SELF– for the Infinite is within Thy own Self!

  2. Cdr Ashwani Bharadwaj, IN says:

    Ashwani Bhardwaj
    Fri, Mar 20, 1:12 PM (5 days ago)
    to me

    Respected Sir,
    Indeed an interesting piece, very informative. Would love to read more of your work.

    Warm Regards
    Cdr Ashwani Bhardwaj (Retd)

  3. PS Bajwa says:

    Ps Bajwa
    Mar 21, 2020, 11:41 AM (4 days ago)
    to me

    Very valuable and interesting study … which is so educative…
    Thanks for sharing ..

    Ps Bajwa

  4. Hariprasad PPS says:

    General Surjit Singh

    Thank yopu for your mail. I appreciate your mentioning my name.

    7-8 years ago I made a presentation before an audience of about 150 participants in Rastriya Sanskrit Vidya Peetham, a deemed Central University in Tirupati. I tried to explain the three Norths, Grid North, Magnetic North and the True North. I also explained how ancient Indians determined True North for the first time in the world.

    One of the participants asked me why I was telling North and South and not East & West. My answer was North is fixed and so is South. Draw a North-South line and draw another line perpendicular to North-South Line. That is East West line. East oscillates between two extreme points on either side of the North-South line day after day in a year. This oscillation takes place at the same Latitude and Longitude each day.

    North and South are fixed. Points at which Sun rises and sets are not fixed. I hope I am clear.

    Kindest regards

  5. PT Gangadharan says:

    Dear Sir,

    it is a research paper and you have simplified it for a layman.Very interesting piece indeed.The fact is Sun rises in the East and sets in the West but the truth is that Sun does not move.It is at a fixed location as created by almighty during the creation of the celestial system.


  6. Brig Jagannathan Rajgopal says:

    Dear Surjit,
    Thanks for an interesting article on sun rise/set.
    Good to see your mail once a while.
    Brig jagannathan (retd)

  7. Lt Gen Harbhajan Singh says:

    Harbhajan Singh
    5:25 PM (3 hours ago)
    to me

    Surjit Ji,

    Great research indeed. Thank you.

    I hope you have seen your Village/Town on the net. If not so far, just key in Satellite map Farouka Shahpur Pakistan!! Just an example.



  8. Brig KN Harikumar says:

    Harikumar Krishnannair
    5:20 PM (3 hours ago)
    to me

    Very interesting! Thank you Sir for sharing.BE SAFE.
    Warm regards

  9. Cdr Ashwani Bharadwaj, IN says:

    Respected Sir,
    Indeed an interesting piece, very informative. Would love to read more of your work.

    Warm Regards
    Cdr Ashwani Bhardwaj (Retd)

  10. Dave Sood says:

    An enlighening read.

    I am sure every one has seen it but your explanation makes it real now.

    Sun is vand have been very important for India and many are attracted to its verious facets on our daily life.

    Just this morning the paer said that do sit in the Sun for 15 minutes during these Covid 19 days.

    Thank you for writing this piece.

  11. Raj Mehta says:

    An excellent article ; very interesting and very informative.
    Thanks for sharing.

  12. MALIK S S says:

    te NDA sundial near Gol Mkt was not in best of maintenance, I remember,, on your insisteence to ave gone to meet COMDT NDA way back in 2013.,

  13. Ashraf Fazili says:

    A great discovery

  14. Suzette says:

    This website was… how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I’ve found something which helped
    me. Many thanks!

  15. Tejendra Rajput says:

    Thank You Sir. It is an excellent explanation. Moreover, its so complete, even after 4 years, it’s still being read today & commented upon :) . I was just wondering, is sundial universal? I mean if its working on Earth, could similar (not exact) setup will work on other worlds?

  16. Lt Col H.S.Bedi says:

    This is great research and made very interesting reading. Most impressed.


  17. Brig{Retd] K Harikumar says:

    Dear Sir

    Could read this excellent piece only today evening as I was travelling for a week. It gave me rich information which I never knew earlier. I wonder how a Sundial will look and function if installed at the North and South Pole !


    • Surjit Singh says:


      During the sundial era, human beings had not yet set foot on the poles. So the question did not arise.

      Erecting a sundial at either pole would be problematic. You need to align it pointing north and south. At the North Pole every direction is south, and at the South Pole every direction is north. But at the Equator there would be no problem; you could align it and it would give you accurate readings.

      Fortunately for us, we are born in an age when Sundials are NOT needed. First, the watches came and now we have the Internet…

  18. Ravi Batra says:

    Dear Surjit,
    During one of my previous visits to New Zealand I came across a sun dial in Christ Church.
    I was reminded of the work you were doing on them so I took two close photos of it. If you zoom in you can clearly read the inscriptions and the method of telling the time. I am also sending a photo of ours in the vicinity of the sun dial.
    Best wishes

  19. Surendra Rishi says:

    My dear Surjit,

    A very educative article. It clears a lot of misconceptions
    one may have had about time.

    Thanks and Regards,

  20. Bhavneet Singh says:

    Dear chachaji ,
    thanks for sharing
    Also received one sun dial from you as gift we remember that
    take care

  21. KS Virk says:

    Very interesting and educative article. Though rather technical, yet is understandable with some effort. I have seen the sun dial at GT. Thanks.

  22. B D Mishra says:

    Dear Surjit,
    Read your post and found it very interesting.
    We in India knew about the movement of sun much earlier than many countries in the world. Prediction of Uttarayan (sun’s move to Northerly hemisphere on Makar Sankranti day), Dakshirayan (sun’s move to southern hemisphere) and dates of eclipse were known to our ancestors thousands of years ago.
    Brig Dr BD Mishra
    Course Mate

  23. Anil Sunita says:


  24. Joseph Thomas says:

    Longest day is also the shortest night. All depends on what interests you more.

  25. zal kabraji says:

    This is certainly a very interesting experiment you have performed–now the question is—–will our new fangled pundits of science , agree with the findings of veterans from the good old, Corps of EME ?

    Warm regards & respects,

    Zal Kabraji.

    addendum—–in my young days travelling with my father Gen. Kabraji——i have noticed, most dak bungalows of British era, had a sun dial in their compounds.

  26. zal kabraji says:

    This is certainly a very interesting experiment you have performed–now the question is—–will our new fangled pundits of science , agree with the findings of veterans from the good old, Corps of EME ?

  27. Maj Gen Ashok Coomar says:

    Thanks General for this very interesting information which must have played a very important role in mans life in yesteryear s. How we forget about such simple matters. Imagine if we were to be stranded in a place without a watch/clock how lost shall we feel and unlikely it is that we will think of a sundial!
    It was enlightening to refresh our our “outdated” knowledge!

  28. Moru Kelkar says:

    Dear Surjit,
    Read it on yahoo.mail. A nice and descriptive article in deed. Saw it
    again on Appreciated the efforts you had to put in, much
    more now than at NDA, at the reunion..
    Remembered I rang you, (from Golden Temple it self, when we located
    the sun dial only with your guidance). Liked the snap of ‘Harmandir
    Sab’ and received a messge (having read your articles on previous
    evening) some was telilng… “Knowledge is so vast (like the expance
    of water in front), partake as much as you can digest and utilize ”
    Thanks for making two things click togather.Regards

  29. Prabal Sen says:

    Sir, great to get the well researched piece on Sundial. Sun rising and setting in North Pole has got us thinking – always in the same direction ?

    I found that my comments sent earlier has been also included as tailpiece, thanks a lot (the Qutab and Alai Minasr both acting as gnomons of giant proportions in the sketch ).

  30. Dave Sood says:

    Wow! Never knew what went into producing the final Sun Dial.

    A great paper you all put together for posterity.

    I liked the kids answer. I will call USA.

    While reading this I had a call from Neela Sapatnekar wife of Vivek Sapatnekar. She was mentioning about meeting Krishnan and Chand..

    Thank you for sharing it.

  31. Rajinder Singh Bhatti says:

    Dear Veer Ji,

    Very interesting & informative. You may recall, when I was planning the poultry unit on our farm, we had to study the pattern of the sun’s azimuth of the local site because the linear direction of the poultry sheds had to be aligned according to the sun’s position at noon during summers in order to prevent direct sun rays falling in the poultry cages. Added with the poplar trees the shed temp was lower by at least 3 degrees & in winters the sun rays helped. Thanks.

    Warm Regards,


    • Rajinder Singh Bhatti says:

      Many of my friends agree that there is a need for renewed interest in studying the solar phenomenon. If and when the oil reserves dip, solar energy is likely to be the next source of energy, and that is when we will turn to Sun!

  32. Hariprasad PPS says:

    Col Kohli and General Surjit Singh

    Annual rate of Precesion of Equinoxes is 50″+ some decimal points. 60″ = 1′; 60′ = 1 degree. Whole revolution takes 28,800 years to cover 360 degrees.

    Varahamihira and Suryasidhantha gave value of ‘Л’ = √10

    Annual rate of precession of equinoxes was given by Varahamihira as 50” which closely corresponds to annual precession given by Newcomb (1687 A.D.) @ 50”.2388 and accepted by Calendar Reform Committee (1955 A.D.) @ 50”.27

    General Surjit Singh: Hope the above explanation satisfies the curiosity of Col Kohli.

    Anyone interested also may send me a mail. I shall be delighted to answer.

    If anyone understands Sanskrit, it is easier for me.

    In Sanskrit precession of equinoxes is known as “Ayanamsa”. My paper on ‘Ayana-Amsa’ is available in the web. Here is an attachment.


    • Surjit Singh says:

      Your research in this subject is far more thorough and profound that the analysis carried out by us. We shall refer you address to any one who approaches us on this subject.
      Thanks and with sincere regards,

  33. Dharam Rawat says:

    Thanks for the info, very interesting (about South & North Pole )

    Wishing u & ur family a Happy & Healthy New Year.

    With warm regards,

    Dharm & Santosh*:) happy*:) happy

  34. Sriram Jaisimha says:

    Dear General,

    A Happy New Year to you and Mrs. Singh!

    I’d like to offer a possible correction to your web article “Does the sun …”. It says:

    And since the ONLY direction at the North Pole is the South, the Sun rises and sets in the south!

    I think “the only direction at the north pole is south” should be replaced with “all directions at the north pole face south”.

    We are working on a global equatorial (thus the orbit is inclined with respect to the ecliptic in the same angle as the rotation axis of the earth) MEO satellite constellation (as opposed to GEO, where the ground antenna always looks at a fixed direction). We talk of handover from the “setting” to the “rising” satellite. The calculation of the direction to look from any lat-lon at any given time is easy. The rising and setting time of the moon is more complex to calculate as it orbits about the earth-moon system’s barycentre, about 4,600km (or ¾ earth radius) from the earth’s centre. In addition the lunar orbital plane is inclined to the ecliptic by a little over 5°. Those who said that could obtain time using a moon-dial’s shadow have quite a mechanical contraption to build! This apart from there being no shadow during new moon.



  35. Dave Sood says:

    An interesting discussion.

    Isn’t it interesting that large Sun Dials were made in India to tell time for daily routine. Same Indians do not keep to time in their daily life.
    There are no City Clocks in any of our cities to remind us of importance of time. Delhi does not have even one which can tell us time. Old ones are not working.Maybe this is one of the reasons that we do not respect time.

    (Sanskrit in italics)


    TOTAL 21,65,110 Yrs

    (This is in continuation to my response dated Jan 3, 2014)

  37. Egyptians got it from India. I quoted SURYA SIDHANTHA an ancient Sanskrit Text on Indian Astronomy in my article published in on “TIMEMEASUREMENTSYSTEMSINANCIENTINDIA” about two years ago. A copy was sent to Maj General Surjit Singh about a week ago. It is atleast 21,65,110 years old in India.

  38. Ashwani Kumar says:

    Sundial at Church in Kasauli..

    My little doll was surprised to know that it can tell time.

    The attached pictures were captured few months back in the Church at Kasauli. However we noticed a time difference between the dial time and watch time. Is it because the sundial is not correctly installed?

  39. Gul Dost says:

    Can the sundial be so calibrated that it reads the clock time all through the year?
    If not, then how did our ancestors tell time accurately?

    • Surjit Singh says:

      Dear Gul,
      The sundial time and the clock time tally with each other only at the equator. At all other places, the length of the day changes with the seasons, and therefore the length of the sundial hour increases in the summer and reduces in the winter.
      Our ancestors went by the sundial time and since every one knew only the sundial time, they were quite comfortable with what they knew.

    • any sundial shows “local apparent solar time”. This needs two corrections – “equation of time” for seasonal variations and the other for Longitude variation. The two can be merged and can be shown alongside. The IST thus obtained can be used for comparison with your watch. Sundial, if designed and installed properly, does not go fast or slow like your watch.

  40. Virin Bajaj says:


    Reading your article transported me back to school days.

    A good read especially for the young.

    Are you playing the Santa Claus? Similarity is getting closer by the year.

    Have fun.


  41. Col Ranjit Grewal says:


    We need to be invited for a glass of beer and shown how this system works.
    Very difficult to understand from the text of the piece.

    • Surjit Singh says:


      Sorry for the delay in responding to you mail.

      Here is an open invitation to a Beer session. And if you are in your usual lively mood and the Beer is strong enough, it is possible that all this rubbish about sundials and azimuth angles will be consigned to the ‘recycle’ bin! We can then turn our attention to more interesting subjects!

      Happy New Year!

  42. Maj Gen Vijay Krishna says:

    Dear Gen Surjit ,
    Great !
    Wish you all a Very Happy , Prosperous & Healthy 2014 ,

  43. Renu Kochhar says:

    Thank you.
    A very happy new year to you too

  44. Maj Gen Gurdayal Singh says:

    Very interesting. I wonder what are the dimentions of the area of you interest. You seem to be all over the place.
    Please keep on educating us.

    With a lot of appreciation and good wishes


    • Surjit Singh says:

      Dear General,

      Thanks for the kind words. You are very generous.

      Yes. I have been told about this by some of my teachers also. I used to question anything and everything. As a result I did sometimes waste a lot of time delving into subjects which had no immediate relevance to the job in hand. But once in a while, it helped.

      It is possible that I am a ‘scatter brain’ but it is too late in life to change!

      Wish you and your kinsfolk a happy new year.

  45. Hariprasad PPS says:

    Dear General Surjit Singh

    A friend of mine in Delhi forwarded your write up and the link to your web-site. I am happy to read what contained in the write up.

    I request you to read my article available in the web enclosed with this mail. I also request you to see photoes of three SUNDIALS designed by me – two in the article. 4 photoes enclosed of the third SUNDIAL in Tirupathi.

    I draw your attention to the theory of determining “True North” in my article.

    With respect to determining time in the night, “DHRUVABHRAMA YANTRA” provides the answer. I have Sanskrit text which I am trying to decipher. It is a difficult. This instrument designed and made in India is now one of the exhibits in Paris Observatory.

    I believe one or two units are there in Jaipur – but under lock and key.

    Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, Sundial in Macca Masjid in Hyderabad and several others are in dis-use. No one is interested in restoration. I tried. I failed in making the people who matter listen.


    • Surjit Singh says:

      Dear Mr Hariprasad,

      I am much impressed with the work you have done on Sundials. We were also very enthused with this project and constructed one in the National Defence Academy, Kharakwasla (Near Pune) But after that, people lost interest. The reasons are not far to see. In the digital age the process of measuring time and telling it to an accuracy of nano-seconds has become possible, and so Sundials are of interest only to historians.

      However, there are a few other observations which can be made by these instruments, and for that it is necessary for the students to know how people estimated time a few centuries ago.

      If there is any specific question you want me to answer, I will try to offer my views.

      Wish you a Happy New Year.

  46. Hariprasad PPS says:

    Dear Mr Chahel

    Please see the attachment. One of my friends sent me. General Surjit Singh is apparently based in Chandigarh. He looks like my age. On Jan 8 next I will complete 79 and enter 80.

    I do not know if he can help you set up a SUNDIAL in Daman. I am not sure if he is willing go through the process of tendering.

    His mail id is here. I am copying this mail to the General. I have not met him personally.


  47. Lalit Malhotra says:

    Great reading and we expect the same in the New Year.Best wishes and regards

    lalit and neelam

  48. Jag1ts says:

    “Before that, there was ONLY one method of telling time, and that was by observing the shadow cast by the Sun.”

    Other methods of telling time; stars at night (rough method), hourglass, water clocks/timers, burning of candles?

    Congratulations for the preparation and presentation of the ‘modern’ sun dial to NDA.

    • Surjit Singh says:


      Your observation is correct. Our ancestors did have several other methods of ‘measuring’ time. Hourglass, water flow and candles were amongst them. At night they could tell time through the movement of stars. However most of these techniques were less used than the ‘sundial’ for measuring daylight time. Human activity was coordinated by striking the hour as observed from the sundial.

      Be that as it may, you have put your finger at the right spot, as usual!

      Love, and Happy New Year to both of you.

  49. Dear Surjit,

    This was a highly informative piece accompanied by beautiful pictures (Especially the one taken at Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh.)

    As Manjit Veerji says, time, as a concept is invalid when the Universe is viewed from outside ( If at all that is possible). That, perhaps, explains why so few people are aware of the existence of the Sundial in the Golden Temple. One gets so mesmerized by spiritual experience that time itself becomes meaningless.


    Surinder Singh

  50. J Thomas says:

    As usual, an interesting article.

    In the old days, ships navigated by observation of the sun and the stars. Aircraft too, used astro navigation on long distance flights. With the invention of radio and radar aids, astro navigation fell into disuse. But now, with the advent of space travel, there is a resurgence in astro navigation. This was one reason why XIX Course gifted a sundial to NDA.

  51. Lt Col H.S.Bedi says:


    As usual, an interesting piece. I marvel at your being at ease when dealing with any topic! Remarkable indeed.


  52. Lt Col H.S.Bedi says:


    As usual, an interesting piece. I marvel at your being at ease when dealing with any topic! Remarkable indeed.


  53. Dave Sood says:

    As usual a very enticing piece. Difficult to understand in the first read.

    I have been to Golden Temple many times but never noticed this Dial. Will look out for it on the next trip.

    Have great Holidays and a BIG 2014!

    Dave Sood

  54. Manjit Singh says:

    Very interesting. But tough to understand! Only a younger brother of mine could have done this research ! Congratulations !

  55. ''colls'' says:

    I found this topic very interesting as I myself have researched it since age five. As you have been to our house in Dehra Dun You could not see the big hall. As it was under the hands of miscreant’s .But since age five, I have explored the rising of the sun, which became the fundamental basis of my COLLS ZODIAC, after 40 years later simply by observation.

    Since my General friend master and guide, you are, YOU have the genes of an instructor. I wish to share a common fact, not unknown, but little understood. The Egyptians knew all this over 7500 years ago. We can discuss in an email separately. We will.

    In the meantime, my congrats and best wishes. Time has never stood still. ONLY on 21 March day =night hours.

    Bestest Regards and Goodest Wishes


    • Surjit Singh says:

      Dear CSM,

      Sorry for the delay in replying. Our children were here, and that took my attention away.

      Thanks for the kind words. This subject is, indeed very interesting, and a lot more can be added to it. It pertains to ‘TIME’ and that has been identified as the fourth dimension by Einstein!

      You are high on my priority for a post on the blog. I am only waiting to find some suitable pictures to embellish the piece.

      Wish you, Veena ji and your kinsfolk all the very best in the New Year. May all your dreams come true!

      Surjit & Surinder

    • Sir
      March 21 is not valid forever. It is moving backwards once every 72 years. “Precesion of Equinoxes” is the cause.

      • ''colls'' says:

        I searched the Internet ….but could not find any reference to 72 years anywhere …

        We all follow the Gregorian calendar… as corrected by Pope 13th in 1582. Hope to be enlightened by you
        Do also read my scientific work
        TIME IS GOD Your Life’s Analysis

        THANKS SIR.

        Nice knowing you We live but a minuscule of time compared to lakhs and lakhs of years passed by

        Regards God bless

  56. ''colls'' says:

    I found this topic very interesting ,
    as I myself have researched it since age five.

    As you have been to our house in Dehra Dun You could not see the big hall. As it was under the hands of miscreant’s .But since age five, I have explored the rising of the sun, which became the fundamental basis of my COLLS ZODIAC, after 40 years later, simply by observation.

    Since my General friend master and guide, you are, YOU have the genes of an instructor. I wish to share a common fact, not unknown, but little understood. The Egyptians knew all this over 7500 years ago. We can discuss in an email separately. We will.

    In the meantime, my congrats and best wishes.

    Time has never stood still.
    ONLY on 21 March day =night hours.

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