Time Zone

The 30-minute offset of India’s Time Zone

Who would have known that a Canadian from the 1800s would have found the solution for the difference of time between the different countries of our world? As you may already know, the planet is divided into 24 time zones, each with a 1-hour offset. However, some countries have a different system, with a different offset. India is one of them, and we intend to find out why in the following article.

Why the timezone in India is 30-minute off?

Since New Delhi is found to be located between 2 meridians, it had become a complicated debate in the past whether New Delhi should go with UTC +5:00 (Pakistan), or UTC +6:00 (Bangladesh).

Moreover, there were a lot of conflicts between the different parties at the time during World War II and such. After WWII, in 1947, the Indian Standard Time (or IST for short) was created, with a 30-minute offset instead of a 1-hour offset like most other time zones.

Nevertheless, some people in northern India use their own local time instead of IST, since IST causes the sun to rise and set at weird times that are not always very logical with the locals’ everyday life.

How to convert UTC between time zones?

To automatically keep track of time between different countries, you can use a number of useful mobile apps, such as:

  1. Spacetime.am
    This is a bot for your Chat and messages in the Slack software when you work on international team projects. It will show you what time it is in your colleague’s countries.
  2. Word Clock Time Widget
    This widget is ideal for any iOS and Android device. Just download and install, and you’re ready to go! It will keep track of time in multiple time zones with a simple and easy-to-use interface.
  3. Microsoft Alarms & Clock app
    The integrated alarm and clock of Microsoft that comes with Windows 10 and Windows 11 will keep you on track no matter where you are in the world.
  4. FoxClocks
    This time zone converter clock works in your Chrome browser as well as in your Firefox Browser. Just go on the Chrome Store and download the Foxclock extension, the same thing for Firefox. You will then be able to access it via your extensions menu.
  5. Every Time Zone
    Finally, this timezone UTC and GMT converter will show you any data that you want in a fun and visual way that is easy to understand.

Who created the time zones?

It is the astronomer Sandford Fleming who, in 1879, invented the Standard Time and the Time Zone system as we know it today. It was a fundamental discovery since more and more problems were arising from the fact that the world was evolving and becoming interconnected, internationally speaking.

Cargo ships traveling through the oceans had a hard time keeping time, as the latter was changing from one time zone to another. The problem was the time zone didn’t exist yet, so the ship crews were often getting lost, causing great delays in the delivery of the goods.

After establishing the fact that Earth was rotating in a fairly round trajectory around the sun, and that Earth was spheric, it was agreed that a time offset was needed between different countries. If you are wondering what a time offset is, it’s the difference of time between one time zone and another.

Therefore, our beautiful planet was divided into 24 equal parts, like the quarters of an orange. Each time zone would have a different time offset, affecting the time of the countries that are located within.

What’s the difference between UTC and GMT?

GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) was first invented by keeping track of time by using the sun’s position at its highest point in reference to the Prime Meridian in Greenwich Town. In other words, when the sun is at its highest point over the line that can be found near the Greenwich Royal Observatory, it means that it is 12 noon GMT.

This way of calculating time is quite clever but relies on astronomy, which is unfortunately not always perfect. On the other hand, UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) is not relying on astronomy or on the sun’s position at all. Actually, the UTC time is calculated with the help of some fancy atomic clocks.

These clocks were created mainly for NASA so they can have precise time data during their different missions and operations. It is not that long ago that UTC became available to the world. At the same time, most countries left GMT for UTC, since UTC relies on quartz clocks that are always giving the right time, no matter the time zone.

However, GMT is still used to this day by a couple of different entities, such as the Royal Navy and BBC World Service, and even some countries like Britain.

What other countries don’t have a 1-hour time zone offset?

India is not the only time zone with a time offset that is not +1 hour or -1 hour. For example, Myanmar Time is still using GMT +5:30 or UTC+5:30. Another example is Sri Lanka, which is still to this day using IST, the same time zone as India. However, there are big ongoing debates since Sri Lanka is not part of India anymore.

As a third example, Nepal is also using a weird time zone. As a matter of fact, NPT (Nepal Time) is using a 45-minute offset! That’s right, so if you ever have the chance to visit Nepal, remember that your phone, your apps, or your watch, will have to be set to UTC+05:45.

A Final Word

And this concludes our guide on India’s intriguing time zone offset and the history behind the timezone system. We hope this was interesting to read and that you understand better why India has a different time zone from other countries. It’s interesting how a simple location can become such a big problem between the people of different countries.

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