Talk abstract details

Mudumal: An Ancient Astronomical Observatory from South India


Mudumal (16°23’N 77°26’E), located in the Mahbubnagar district in the State of Andhra Pradesh, India, is a remarkable megalithic site with more than 800 menhirs arranged in different formations and rows. The rows are oriented in different directions. A study of the complex on the days of solar significance like the days of summer and winter solstice revealed that one particular row aligns with the Sun in the morning and another row in the evening. On the south western area of this complex, we notice a vertically planted squarish stone. The top of this stone which is flat but slightly slanting has 30 cup-marks. Thorough study of these cup marks revealed that it is a depiction of Ursa Mjor constellation. One of the well known feature of this constellation is that an imaginary line drawn through two of the stars, i.e., Merak and Dubhe always point towards the pole star. At Mudumal also, the two dots (cup-marks) representing these two stars point to north, which also confirms the identification of this depiction as that of ‘Ursa Major’. On the whole it appears that this megalithic complex served as an astronomical observatory, both in the day time as well as in the night.