Tropic of Cancer, Ranchi

The Tropic of Cancer is one of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of Earth. It is the parallel of latitude that lies 23.5 degrees north of the equator and runs through Africa, Asia, and North America. The Tropic of Cancer marks the northernmost point where the sun can appear directly overhead at noon. This happens once a year, on or around June 21, which is also the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere.

I recently bought a Royal Enfield Classic 350 Signal bike. My father and I just decided in the morning to drive the bike to cross the Tropic of Cancer and have our morning tea on a roadside eatery after crossing the Tropic line. The Tropic of Cancer is one of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. The Tropic of Cancer passes through 8 states in India — Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Mizoram, and Tripura.

The Tropic of Cancer, which is also referred to as the Northern Tropic, is the most northerly circle of latitude on Earth at which the Sun can be directly overhead. This occurs on the June solstice when the Northern Hemisphere is tilted toward the Sun to its maximum extent.

A solstice is an event in which a planet’s poles are most extremely inclined toward or away from the star it orbits. The Tropic of Cancer — the latitude on Earth where the sun is directly overhead at noon on the summer solstice — got its name because when the ancients established it, the sun appeared in the constellation Cancer. Due to subsequent shifting of Earth’s axis, the Tropic of Cancer is now misnamed. On the current June solstice, the sun actually appears in the constellation Taurus. Because of the gradual change in the direction of Earth’s axis of rotation, the Sun will reappear in the constellation of Cancer in approximately 24,000 years.

Galileo was forced to recant his theory that Earth revolves around the sun on the summer solstice of 1633.

We drove up the Ranchi-Hazaribagh Highway (NH 33) and crossed the line of Tropic of Cancer. We took some photographs at the place. There are a small seating area and a memorial built on the western side of the highway, which was inaugurated by the Governor of Jharkhand, Shrimati Draupadi Murmu on June 21, 2017.


We drove further up and then took a u-turn and came to the other side of the road. There was a line hotel near the Tropic of Cancer named Bindas Bawarchi. We had tea there on “kulhar” — earthen cup and returned home.

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