Between 1727 and 1734 Maharajah Jai Singh II of Jaipur constructed five astronomical observatories in west central India. The observatories, or “Jantar Mantar” as they are commonly known, include multiple buildings of unique form, each with a specialized function for astronomical measurement.
These structures with their striking combination of geometric forms at large scale have captivated the attention of architects, artists, and art historians world wide, yet remain largely unknown to the general public. Jai Singh named his observatory Jantar Mantar, which is actually pronounced, as ‘Yantra Mantra’, yantra for instrument and mantra for formula.
A huge sundial known as “Samrat Yantra” or ‘Prince of Dials’, meant to measure exact time of the day within half a second and the declination of the sun and other heavenly bodies dominates it.
The observatory consists of fourteen major geometric devices for measuring time, predicting eclipses, tracking stars in their orbits, ascertaining the declinations of planets, and determining the celestial altitudes and related ephemeredes. Each is a fixed and ‘focused’ tool.
The Samrat Jantar, the largest instrument, is 90 feet high, its shadow carefully plotted to tell the time of day. Its face is angled at 27 degrees, the latitude of Tour of Jaipur. The Hindu chhatri (small domed cupola) on top is used as a platform for announcing eclipses and the arrival of monsoons.
Each instrument Built of local stone and marble and carries an astronomical scale, generally marked on the marble inner lining; bronze tablets, all extraordinarily accurate, were also employed. Thoroughly restored in 1901, the Jantar Mantar was declared a national monument in 1948.
Visiting Hours : 09:30-16:30 Hrs.
Originally posted 2016-02-17 11:27:04.