Pontianak’s Equator Monument: Where Earth’s hemispheres meet

The Equator Monument in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, Indonesia.

By Nancy Nais

PONTIANAK, April 27: Standing at the intersection of Earth’s northern and southern hemispheres, marked by an imaginary line, invokes a unique sense of wonder and excitement.

While this line holds no tangible presence, its significance is immense.


Why not right?

Imagine being in two places at once, with one foot in the southern hemisphere and the other in the northern.

For me, that concept, separated by an imaginary divide, instills a deep sense of awe and appreciation towards nature and our earth’s geographical oddities.

The writer sitting on the invisible equator line that separates the earth’s hemispheres.

Pontianak, the capital of West Kalimantan in Indonesia, is the only city in the world that sits right on the equator.

Speaking to a delegation of journalists from Sarawak on a four-day visit to Pontianak, organised by the Consulate General of Indonesia, Kuching, a representative from the Equator Monument said based on records, an international expedition led by a Dutch geographer came to Pontianak in 1928.

Once the equator line was determined, a simple pole with an arrow was erected to mark the spot at zero degrees latitude.

In 1930, a circle was built on the pole and by 1940, a dome was added to protect the original monument which was five times larger, transforming it into one of the city’s landmarks.

The representative also explained the phenomenon of shadowless sunlight, which occurs twice a year during the Spring (March 21-23) and Autumn (September 21-23) solstices.

At these times, the sun reaches its celestial point, causing the shadows of the monument and surrounding objects to disappear at noon, confirming the accuracy of the equator line.

This phenomenon indicates that the monument line is exactly at zero latitude.

Pontianak, being is the only city in the world that sits right on the equator, and houses a unique landmark denoting this.

He added that the bi-annual events were commemorated here in Pontianak as visitors and locals enjoy a five-minute shadowless moment at a prime spot in Borneo.

To further enhance our experience here, we were given the opportunity to attempt to balance a few eggs on this invisible line.

The challenge seems easy, but it was not. Making an egg stand upright requires patience and concentration.

The representative also told us that standing the egg perfectly aligned with the invisible forces that represents the earth’s hemispheres also symbolises harmony of the natural world.

The representative explained that achieving this feat symbolizes harmony with the natural world, aligning with unseen forces that represent the hemispheres.

Upon successfully balancing the eggs, we felt a sense of accomplishment, connecting with the Earth and its unseen forces in a profound way. — DayakDaily

The delegation attempt to balance eggs on the equator.