The Science of the “Surya Tilak” Ceremony at the Ram Temple in Ayodhya

With state-of-the-art scientific knowledge, a 5.8 cm light beam struck the god's forehead. An instrument specifically developed for this purpose was created.

Attention India
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On the occasion of Ram Navami, today at noon, the magnificent Ram Temple in Ayodhya witnessed a remarkable event: the forehead of the Ram Lalla deity was anointed with a ray of sunlight, known as “Surya Tilak.”


With state-of-the-art scientific knowledge, a 5.8 cm light beam struck the god’s forehead. An instrument specifically developed for this purpose was created. This auspicious Ram Navami ceremony was made possible by ten distinguished Indian scientists stationed at the Ram Mandir. Using a combination of mirrors and lenses, sunlight was carefully focused onto the statue’s forehead for three to five minutes, beginning at noon.


Scientists from a top government institute created an intricate system of mirrors and lenses on a commission from the temple trust. This mechanism is an important achievement in science and engineering and is formally known as the “Surya Tilak mechanism.”

Science behind it

A scientist at the Central Building Research Institute (CBRI), Roorkee named Dr Pradeep Kumar Ramacharla gave NDTV an explanation of the complex operation of the optomechanical system.
“The tilt mechanism and pipe systems are fitted with four mirrors and four lenses that make up the opto-mechanical system. To direct sunlight through mirrors and lenses to the Garbha Girha, the entire cover with a tilt mechanism aperture is positioned at the top level, according to Dr. Ramacharla.
“Shree Ram’s forehead faces east, and the sun’s rays are focused there by the last lens and mirror. To create the Surya Tilak on Shree Ram Navami each year, the tilt mechanism is utilised to change the tilt of the first mirror, directing the sun’s rays towards the north and reflecting them onto the second mirror. Brass is the material used in the construction of all the pipework and other components. The lenses and mirrors are of extremely good quality and long-lasting. To prevent sunlight from scattering, the interior surfaces of pipes, elbows, and enclosures have been powder-coated black. Additionally, to prevent the idol’s forehead from being scorched by the Sun’s heat waves, an infrared filter glass is placed at the top aperture,” he continued.

Team and development

Together with the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIAP) in Bengaluru, scientists from CBRI in Roorkee worked on developing the ‘Surya Tilak’ mechanism. The team used well-established solar tracking methods to precisely align sunshine rays from the third floor of the temple to the inner sanctuary, or Garbha Griha, by utilising a unique gearbox and reflective mirrors and lenses. The project’s execution was further aided by the manufacturing know-how of Optica, a Bengaluru-based company, and technical support from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics.

‘Surya Tilak’ would anoint the Ram Lalla monument flawlessly, according to Dr Pradeep Chauhan, a scientist at the Central Building Research Institute in Roorkee. Because Ram Navami falls on a definite date in the lunar calendar, complex systems with nineteen gears were put in place to guarantee that this auspicious event would occur on time—all without the need for energy, batteries, or iron-based materials.

Experts take

The Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), a leading astronomy institute in Bengaluru, has come up with a way to make sense of the seeming discrepancy between the solar (Gregorian) and lunar calendars. Dr. Annapurni Subramaniam, Director of IIA, expounded, “We have the necessary experience in positional astronomy. This experience was used to make sure that the Sun’s rays, represented by a ‘Surya Tilak,’ could ceremoniously anoint the idol of Ram Lala on every Ram Navmi.”
Dr. SK Panigrahi, Dr. RS Bisht, Mr. Kanti Solanki, Mr. V. Chakradhar, Mr. Dinesh, and Mr. Sameer are members of the CSIR-CBRI team. The project was supervised by Prof. R. Pradeep Kumar, the Director of CSIR-CBRI. The consultants are Professor Tushar Prabhu, Er S Sriram, Dr. Annapurni S., Director of IIA Bangalore, and Dr. The Optica managing director, Mr. Rajinder Kotaria, is actively involved in the execution and installation process, as are the members of his team, Mr. Vivek, Mr. Nagraj, and Mr. Thava Kumar.
Differently designed, a comparable ‘Surya Tilak’ mechanism can already be found at the Sun Temple at Konark and in several Jain temples.

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