Bihar Astronomical Observatory in UNESCO list
106-year-old astronomical observatory at the Langat Singh College, Muzaffarpur in Bihar has been added to UNESCO World heritage observatories list. This observatory is first of its kind in eastern part of India.
About the Astronomical Observatory:
- The Astronomical Observatory in Muzaffarpur was established in 1916 give detailed astronomical knowledge to students.
- Prof Romesh Chandra Sen took initiative to set up the astronomical observatory at the college. In 1914, he talked to an astronomer J Mitchell for guidance.
- In 1915, telescope, chronograph, astronomical clock, and other equipment were procured from England.
- Finally in 1916, astronomical observatory was started.
- In 1946, a planetarium was also established in the college.
However, the condition of planetarium as well as astronomical observatory started deteriorating after 1970. Most of the installed machines have either been lost or become junk. No steps were taken for its restoration. Now, authorities are hopeful to get funds from state government for its restoration, after its inclusion in UNESCO list of endangered heritage observatories.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites and observatories in India:
Sites of cultural and natural importance worldwide are recognised under the UNESCO World Heritage Convention. This convention was established in 1972. In India, there are 40 World Heritage Sites, making it the country with 6th largest number of World Heritage Sites. It includes 32 cultural sites, 7 natural sites and 1 mixed site. The Jantar Mantar in Jaipur is also included among UNESCO World Heritage site. Jantar Mantar is a collection of 19 astronomical instruments, constructed by king Sawai Jai Singh II. It also features the largest stone sundial of the world.