Narlikar is internationally known for his work in cosmology, in championing models alternative to the popularly believed big bang model. His work has been on the frontiers of gravity and Mach’s Principle, quantum cosmology and action at a distance physics. He has received several national and international awards and honorary doctorates.
Narlikar was decorated Padmabhushan in 1965, at the young age of 26. In 2004 he was awarded Padmavibhushan. In 2011, the Government of the State of Maharashtra gave him the State’s highest civilian honour of Maharashtra Bhushan.