The technical festival of an institution is the time for students to display their technical prowess. A total of 3 records (2 Guinness and 1 National) were broken in this edition of Shaastra.

Run through for some intriguing insights on how these feats were achieved.

The first one to make it to the books was a record set by a team of Rubik’s ‘cubers’. Nine youngsters who prefer to call themselves ‘Team India’ solved a whopping 2,454 Rubik’s cubes in an hour! They overshadowed the previous Guinness record of 1860 cubes in an hour held by ‘Cubing Italy’. Kesava Kirupa solved the most – 305 followed by Bhargav Narasimhan (284) and Akash Rupela, Vijay Kishore (283 each). The team included five more members namely – Kabyanil Talukdar, Nithin Babu, Shivam Bansal, Sripad Sarma and Rushil Dalal from all over India.


Team India
Team India


The whole process, recalls Bhargav, commenced in early November when the team found the details of the records on Following the approval and acknowledgment from the Guinness team, they approached the organizers of Shaastra to see if they would oblige to host such an event. Shaastra was more than happy to do so under its event ‘Shaastra Cube Open’ which was held on the 23rd of January. Thanks to Bhargav and his team, Shaastra has its name in the Guinness book as venue sponsors for the record.

Recalling the D-Day, the team confesses that they were under tremendous amount of pressure, to the point where refilling a tube of toothpaste would have seemed a more reasonable task to ask of them! Significant hours of effort had been put in for over two months. The ever increasing crowd only made it tough to keep their minds on the cube. After a flurry of fingers and colours for sixty whole minutes, they had conquered the laurels they had set out to achieve.


A ‘skewb’


En route to achieving this huge feat, there were a few individual triumphs which were a feather in the cap for the team members in their excruciating hullabaloo. In the cubing circles, the jargonized variants of the same are as follows:

1. Shivam Bansal: Square1 average time of 14.55 seconds

2. Hariharan Sachindran with skewb average time of 3.75 seconds

3. Pyraminx individual best of 2.13 seconds by Joshua Koilpillai

4. 4*4 individual best by Nithin Babu

5. Individual best of 6.56 seconds by Kesava Kurupa

It is highly likely that by the time you finish reading and (maybe) deciphering this list of five independent records, somewhere, Kesava would have solved a Rubik’s cube (“Flash, a challenge?”).

Kesava brought Shaastra the honor of hosting an event which brought out the personal best in him. This 11th standard-studying cubing prodigy, ranked 49th on the international speed-solvers’ list, raised the bar of the national record with this feat. Clocking an exiguous 6.56 seconds, he observes that the way he perceives the cube has changed – from a curious toy to a solemn sport. Kesava claimed his national dexterity by beating the best of 6.91 seconds previously held by his own teammate Akash Rupela.

Kesava clenching his personal best meant a second record break. Speedcubing, clearly, is all about a bunch of youngsters learning from the internet who cannot wait to get their hands on a cube. And Shaastra Speed Cubing – Asia’s largest speedcubing event as declared by the World Cube Association at one point, stands out as a trademark place-to-be for a young cube savvy!

These were not the only exploits to be achieved, there still was a bigger act up the sleeve. Around this time, it was the Workshops team which bid for a Limca Record.


Largest number of line following hovercrafts
Largest number of line following hovercrafts


IIT Madras is well-known for flying bots, more so – autonomous bots. Seventy two students from over 15 colleges attending the workshops at Shaastra brought to life this tech obsession as twenty-five hovercrafts soared without a hitch on a sunny afternoon. They managed to follow a black line on a white surface for four minutes. All the hovercrafts orchestrating this huge act were built during the robotics workshop which spanned over four days. It was a step-up from the last year’s attempt with autonomous wheeled robots. There hasn’t been any prior attempt for such a peculiar record in the books. All that now remains is Limca to verify the same and Shaastra ’16 will claim its third.


Students showing the bookmarks made by them
Students showing the bookmarks made by them


A record was also achieved under the ambit of the well-known social initiative ‘Pledge-a-book’. Under its promotional events for the campaign, Shaastra now holds the record for maximum participation of school students in the Limca book. Specifically, an attempt was made to set a Limca world record for the ‘Largest Number of Bookmarks’ made and distributed as part of the campaign. Around 1500 students, from classes 3 to 12 of the 10 participating Kendriya Vidyalaya schools made a total of more than 12,000 fancy bookmarks on themes like the benefits of reading, environment, animals, perils of social networking sites etc. This Limca record attempt was supervised by the District Rotaract Council.

‘Shaastra Cube Open’ and ‘Workshops’ made it to the hall of fame this year which was previously endowed with numerous other records ranging from a quadrotor with the maximum flight time to the first virtual band, and even for the largest hologram by the Envisage team.

All these records bear testimony to the ‘tech’ spirit of IIT Madras. Throughout the year, every nook and corner of the institute is bustling with techies trying their hands at something or the other. Through these remarkable achievements, the technical skill and competency of the students of IIT Madras is showcased to the world.

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