Installed by the British in the early 1900s, the Zero Stone marks the exact geographic location of the city, and is one of 80 such stones installed by the British to mark the zero points for survey of the country. From this stone distances were measured to other Zero Stones in neighbouring cities and locations, most of which seem to have been located near the main post offices which were considered a central place. Pune’s Zero Stone is inscribed with the following locations; Poona, Bangalore, Sholapur, Ahmednagar, Nasik, Purandhar, Alandi, Sinhgad and Paud.
The Zero Stone today seems to have a curious and precarious existence, leaning against the boundary wall of the GPO it’s become a useful storage spot for brooms and assorted items by the roadside tea vendors. There’s nothing to specifically highlight it’s existence or significance, a situation that led some years ago to the stone being half-buried under the pavement as a result of carelessness on the part of a civic contractor. It goes to show just how fragile some of India’s monuments can be.
Update 29th April 2018
I was contacted this morning by Anjali and Kiran Kalamdani, who for almost 30 years have been architects, urban designers, and conservationists based in Pune. In 2014 they received an award from UNESCO Asia Pacific for their conservation work in the region, and it was fantastic news to wake up to.
Their submitted plans for the protection and recognition of the Zero Stone were not only accepted, but work is well underway towards completing it.
Here’s the plans (click on image for a larger view)
When I said work was underway, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s completed in the next week or so. Here are some shots of the structure being produced.
And better still, they are already on site ! These were taken right by the Zero Stone, as they make the finishing touches before erecting the structure.
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