Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Observatory

Finally something worth putting down! The Vizagapatam Observatory.

In my explorations into Google, I dredged up some information on the positions of planets, the transit of Venus etc. with which I did not know what to do. However the date - 1850s - and one name that kept popping up throughout - one Nursinga Row - caught my attention.

I continued looking up this person. At first, I thought he was a minion at the observatory. Then it appeared he was quite an important astronomer: his work was published in international journals.

Finally I found some biographical information, both about the observatory and the man. The observatory, named G.Y. Juggarow Observatory was founded by a man of the same name. He was a wealthy zamindar from the town and had a daughter, Sri Ankitam Atchayamma, whose husband was our much sought after Nursinga Row.

He gave up his post as the deputy Collector (I did not know the British encouraged locals to hold such posts) and took charge of his in-laws' estate after their death. He also devoted himself to astronomy and apparently made several valuable contributions. (I would definitely like to understand what they were.)

Quaint fact: Nursinga Row started the practice of firing an evening gun to give Vizagites a common reference by which to set their watches (if they had any at the time). He even bore the costs for this practice.