September 18, 2013

Quote of the Post: "This is the place to come, if you are looking for unique architectural astronomical instruments." - Quote about Jantar Mantar in Jaipur by Sachin Kumar Gupta

Welcome to the world of solid geometry in Rajasthan which is the biggest stone observatory in the worldAfter City Palace we were ready to visit Jantar Mantar where we purchased composite ticket (valid for 2 days and 70 INR per person to visit 5 places in Jaipur - Jantar Mantar, Albert Hall Museum, Hawa Mahal, Amer Fort, Nahargarh Fort). 

Jantar Mantar was built by King Jai Singh II between 1727 and 1734. Its literally meaning "formula or calculation instrument" where we found many instruments for measurements. It is modeled after the one that had built at Delhi. There are a total of five such structures built by Jai Singh at different locations, including the ones at Delhi, Jaipur, Ujjain, Mathura, and Varanasi. It is said that The Jaipur observatory is the largest and best preserved of these and has been inscribed on the World Heritage List


More than just a curious collection of sculptures, each structure at the intriguing Jantar Mantar observatory has a specialized astronomical function. This observatory has religious significance, since ancient Indian astronomers were also Jyotisa masters. Built from local stone and marble, each instrument carries an astronomical scale, generally marked on the marble inner lining. Thoroughly restored in 1901, the Jantar Mantar was declared a national monument in 1948.

Location: Next to the City Palace, Tripolia Bazar, Jaipur.
Entry Fee: INR 10 and additional INR 50 ($1) for a camera.
Jantar Mantar Timings: 9 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. daily.

Inside Jantar Mantar there are 14 major geometric devices in total, which measure time, predict eclipses, and track stars' location as the earth orbits around the sun, ascertaining the declination of planets, and determining the celestial altitudes and related Ephemerides. Each is a fixed and 'focused' tool. Many of the smaller instruments display remarkable innovation in architectural design and its relation to function. Some of them are:
Vrihat Samrat Yantra at Jantar Mantar
*Vrihat Samrat Yantra: The most impressive one is 90 feet huge Samrat Yantra sundial (the world's largest sundial) to notify 'accurate time of day'. It is nice to experiene visibly that shadow moves roughly the width of a person's hand every minute. It's a profound display of how quickly time does move. This instrument is the trademark of Jantar Mantar in Jaipur, which can be seen from far far away. The chhatri (small cupola) on top is used as a platform for announcing eclipses and the arrival of monsoons. 
Jai Prakash Yantra at Jantar Mantar
*Jai Prakash Yantra: It is a two hemispherical bowl structure which is used to find out the positions of the celestial bodies during days and nights. 
*Nadivalya Yantra: It is a distinctive sundial with two dials.
*Kranti Yantra: It is used for direct measurement of the longitude and latitude of the extraterrestrial bodies.
*Dhakshinotak Bhitti Yantra: To find out of the altitude of the sun.
*Raj Yantra: Two large metal astrolabes suspended on iron rings are used for measuring ascendant altitude, time, position of the sun and that some other celestial objects. 
*Chakra Yantra: It gives the angle of an object from the equator.
*Unnatamsa Yantra: An instrument for measuring altitude or angular height of a celestial object.
Rashivalaya Yantra at Left
*Rashivalaya Yantra: It has 12 sundials for the signs of the zodiac.
*Laghu (Small) Samrat Yantra: measures time.
*Great Ram Yantra: This measures the local co-ordinates of altitude and azimuth of celestial objects.
*Dhruva Yantra: It is used to locate the position of 12 Zodiac signs and also the Pole Star at night.
*Disha Yantra: Indicates direction.
Nadivalya Yantra at Jantar Mantar

Wet view of Jantar Mantar Jaipur
Today the observatory is a popular tourist attraction. We also saw, many students of Astronomy and Vedic astrology visiting and taking some of their lessons at this excursion. It is right by said that the observatory is the single most representative work of Vedic thought that still survives, apart from the texts. 
City Palace, Nahargarh Fort, Hawamahal can be seen from this place from different points. As soon as we were about to exit showers welcomed everyone and make the environment pleasant. After that we moved to visit Albert Hall Museum.

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