Haridatta was an astronomer who introduced the Parahita system that was popular for a long time in astronomy in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. He expounded this system in two of his works, the Grahacāranibandhana and the Mahāmārganibandhana, of which only the former is extant. There is no positive information about his date or provenance. A late tradition claims that the Parahita system was promulgated in the year 683 CE during the twelve-year māmāṅkaṃ (mahāmāgha) festival held at Tirunāvāya on the banks of Bhāratappuḻa in Kerala. This is unlikely, as there is no historical evidence for māmāṅkaṃ celebrations before the fourteenth century. It may, however, be tentatively accepted that he came from Kerala or Tamil Nadu, as the Parahita system is not known to have existed in any other parts of India. We may also agree with David Pingree that “683 is not an unreasonable date for Haridatta” as he is already cited by Govindasvāmi’s Prakaṭārthadīpikā in the ninth century.
Haridatta was trained in the...
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