This eclipse is truly special. It's the longest total eclipse this century and the longest seen in India since Aug 18, 1868. The next big total eclipse in the country takes place on June 3, 2114. Between then and now, there's only 1 total eclipse, on March 20, 2034, and it would just be visible in J&K. The line of totality traverses a distance of over 3,000km. So, more Indians will be in the path of totality than ever in history! As you move east, duration of totality increases. Theoretically, a spot in Arunachal should be the best in India. West Bengal, Bihar and east UP — in that order — would be better places to catch the event than Gujarat or MP. Globally, Shanghai offers the longest totality on land — 5m30s.
India and the Eclipse: Three solar eclipses are described in Mahabharata. There’s also reference to Krishna blocking the Sun with his sudarshan chakra to help Arjun in the battle.
Abul Fazl writes in Akbarnama about Akbar visiting Kurukshetra during an eclipse in 1567.
Jehangirnama accurately talks of an annular eclipse later traced to March 19, 1615.
On Oct 17, 1762, a Diwali day, a fierce battle between the Sikhs and Afghan invader Ahmad Shah Abdali was abandoned when ‘it became so dark during the day that stars came out’