Gaṇitānanda pp 213-225 | Cite as

Area of a Bow-Figure in India

  • K. RamasubramanianEmail author


In Fig. 1, PNQP is segment of a circle (i.e. circular disc) whose centre is at O and whose radius is \( OP=OQ=r \). Due to the figure’s resemblance to an archer’s bow, the arc PNQ (= s in length) was called cāpa (‘bow’), the chord \( PQ (=c) \) was called jyā or jīvā (‘bow-string’) and the segment’s height \( MN (=h) \) was called bāṅa or śara (‘arrow’) in ancient India. The cāpakṣetra (‘bow-figure’) or segment of a circle had great importance in Indian cosmography and geography, especially in the Jaina school. The Bharata-kṣetra (=Bhārata-varṣa or ‘land of India’) of those times was in the shape of a bow-figure which formed the southernmost part of the central continent or Jambūdvīpa (‘Jambū Island’) which is stated to be circular and of diameter one lac (100,000) yojanas. This cartographic description may be taken to represent the oldest map of India as part of Asia. The maximum north–south breadth of the country was 526 \( \frac{6}{19} \) yojanas.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cell for Indian Science and Technology in Sanskrit, Department of Humanities and Social SciencesIndian Institute of Technology BombayMumbaiIndia

Personalised recommendations