Calcutta Time

Calcutta time was one of the two time zones established in British India in 1884. It was established during the International Meridian Conference held at Washington, D.C in the United States. It was decided that India had two time zones: Calcutta (now Kolkata) would use the 90th meridian east and Bombay (Mumbai) the 75th meridian east.

Calcutta time was described as being 24 minutes ahead of Indian standard time and one hour and three minutes ahead of Bombay standard time (UTC+5:54).[1] It has also been described as 32 minutes and 20 seconds ahead of Madras time (UTC+5:53:20).[2]

Even when Indian Standard Time (IST) was adopted on 1 January 1906, Calcutta time remained in effect until 1948 when it was abandoned in favour of IST.[3]

In the latter part of the nineteenth century, Calcutta time was the dominant time of the Indian part of the British empire with records of astronomical and geological events recorded in it.[4][5] Willian Strachey, an uncle of Lytton Strachey was said to have visited Calcutta once and then "kept his own watch set resolutely to Calcutta time, organizing the remaining fifty-six years of his life accordingly".[6][7] James Clavell, in his novel King Rat, refers to news broadcasts as occurring in "Calcutta time".[8]

See also


  1. "Science, Notes and News". Science. American Association for the Advancement of Science. 23 (588): 560. 6 April 1906. doi:10.1126/science.23.588.558. JSTOR 1631795.
  2. "On the Introduction of a Standard Time for India". Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. Calcutta: Asiatic Society of Bengal: 62–66. June 1899.
  3. "Odds and Ends". Indian Railways Fan Club. Retrieved 2013-06-03.
  4. Report of the Great Earthquake of 12 June 1897 - Richard Dixon Oldham - Google Books
  5. The Asiatic Journal and Monthly Register for British and Foreign India ... - Google Books
  6. Holroyd, Michael (2005). Lytton Stratchey: The New Biography. p. 1883.
  7. Gilmour, David (2006). The Ruling Caste: Imperial Lives in the Victorian Raj. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. p. 32.
  8. Clavell, James (1963). King Rat. Michael Joseph. p. 67.

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