The Chaya Someshwar (or the Shiva of Shadow), an unknown temple near Hyderabad from more than a 1000 years ago demonstrates the phenomenal understanding of the science of optics by the architects and Rishis of India. The temple sports a “Shadow” of a pillar that appears right behind the idol of Shiva that NEVER changes any time of the day. And moreover, the shadow cannot be removed by standing in front of or blocking any single pillar.
Centuries later the mystery has been solved by modern physicists as an application of the diffraction of light around various pillars of the temple so that collectively they cast a dark region in the same place irrespective of where the sun is !!! Though we can explain the phenomenon now, it is surely a daunting task even now to recreate such a precise implementation. The very phenomenon of light bending around the edges of objects was discovered only in the 17th century- an good 700 years after this temple.
The eleventh century architect might be aware of light diffraction and he constructed the temple in such a way that the light enters the inner chamber diffracting through two narrow passages on either side of the pillars in front of the chamber. The diffracted light enters the chamber making shadow of edges of entrance crisscrossing one with another leaving a gap between them.
It may be noted here that Italian scientist Francesco Maria Grimaldi coined the word “diffraction” and was the first to record accurate observations of the phenomenon in 1660.
One more of the scientists of India who went away unsung in the glorification of the western lineage. And another glorious marvel from our past that is desolate and stands as a testimony to the 1000 years of abuse Hinduism has faced from invaders and continues to face today in the name of sickularism.