Does time travel tickle your fancy? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to glimpse the future of humanity? Well we don’t need the Enterprise and stumbling into some wormhole to do that.
Nepal has got time travelling downpat since they’re 56 years ahead of the rest of us which means they’re welcoming the year 2077. Most of the world, including Australia has adopted the Gregorian seasonal charts but even the first prototype calendars were a challenge to create.
Brace yourself for some number crunching!
The Romans calculated that it took 365.24219 days for the earth to rotate around the sun which equates to a year. But they were short on a couple of days. So a hodgepodge of politicians decided to add a few extra days here and there to fix the issue, only they were still out of sync. Along came Pope Greogory XIII and in 1577 he appointed new astronomers to fix the problem that the Romans couldn’t do. So after their rigorous calculations, our official solar calendar rests at 365.2425 days and we have the added leap years to make up for time lost. Phew, and there we have our calendar.
Most of the world has adopted this version but Nepal does not. Their national calendar includes both lunar and solar rotations which follows the Birkam Sambat (B.S) or Vikram Sambat timeline not AD. The legend of the calendar’s creation is as varied as the Nepali ethnicities. Some believe that it was first created by a legendary Indian king called Chandragupt Vikramaditya but some say that the king never existed at all but in the words that people passed down. While scholars believe that the name was adopted by a real Indian king and so the era was renamed. Confused yet? Well hold on to your wands because sorcery comes into play.
The widely accepted tale is one that stars a man called, Shankhadhar Sakhwa.
Shankhadhar was born of a low caste and made his humble earnings as a gold panner. The story goes that he freed Nepali’s poorest from their debts by turning the grains of sand into gold allegedly with.... magic. Of course, the reality was that the philanthropist noticed the different weights of sands near two sandbanks and put two and two together, striking gold -- quite literally! He harvested and sold the precious metal, paying off the money owed by the inhabitants of Kathmandu. Thus the official Nepali calendar began 879AD - ‘the year after all debts were paid’.
So we have reached the present time by travelling into the past. Today, the hindu solar-lunar calendar is also widely used by other countries such as India and Bangladesh but they are not considered the national calendar. Who knew that a legendary ghost king and a sorcerer philanthropist gave birth to the Nepali calendar.
As Spock would have declared, it’s truly.....‘fascinating!’.
Bio: Sidney Boen is an energetic 1st gen Indo-Chinese Aussie with a penchant for food. She’s going into her last year in her Bachelor of Digital and social media with her eyes set on the marketing world. Loving food and travel with a voracious appetite for media and writing, she’s always out for the next interesting read. Currently working as part of the ABC News program team and a contributor to UTS Central News.