Astronomical Instruments in India

  • Sreeramula Rajeswara SarmaEmail author
Reference work entry


The earliest astronomical instruments used in India were the gnomon and the water clock. In the early seventh century, Brahmagupta described ten types of instruments, which were adopted by all subsequent writers with minor modifications. Contact with Islamic astronomy in the second millennium AD led to a radical change. Sanskrit texts began to lay emphasis on the importance of observational instruments. Exclusive texts on instruments were composed. Islamic instruments like the astrolabe were adopted and some new types of instruments were developed. Production and use of these traditional instruments continued, along with the cultivation of traditional astronomy, up to the end of the nineteenth century.


Fifteenth Century Plumb Line Sanskrit Text Conch Shell Astronomical Instrument 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DüsseldorfGermany

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