Jantar Mantar,Jaipur,Rajasthan

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(added few years ago!)

The Jantar Mantar is a collection of architectural astronomical instruments, built by Maharaja (King) Jai Singh II at his then new capital of Jaipur between 1727 and 1734. It is modeled after the one that he had built for him at the Mughal capital of Delhi. He had constructed a total of five such facilities at different locations, including the ones at Delhi and Jaipur. The Jaipur observatory is the largest and best preserved of these. It has been inscribed on the World Heritage List as "an expression of the astronomical skills and cosmological concepts of the court of a scholarly prince at the end of the Mughal period".Early restoration work was undertaken under the supervision of Major Arthur Garrett, a keen amateur astronomer, during his appointment as Assistant State Engineer for the Jaipur District.

The name is derived from jantar("instrument"), and Mantar ("formula", or in this context "calculation"). Therefore jantar mantar means literally 'calculation instrument'. This observatory has religious significance, since ancient Indian astronomers were also Jyotisa masters.

The observatory consists of fourteen major geometric devices for measuring time, predicting eclipses, tracking stars' location as the earth orbits around the sun, ascertaining the declinations of planets, and determining the celestial altitudes and related ephemerides. Each is a fixed and 'focused' tool. The Samrat Yantra, the largest instrument, is 90 feet (27 m) high, its shadow carefully plotted to tell the time of day. Its face is angled at 27 degrees, the latitude of Jaipur. The Hindu chhatri (small cupola) on top is used as a platform for announcing eclipses and the arrival of monsoons.

Built from local stone and marble, each instrument 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.

An excursion through Jai Singh's Jantar is a unique experience of walking through solid geometry and encountering a collective astronomical system designed to probe the heavens.

A view of the smaller of two Giant sundials.

Jai Prakash Yantra at Jantar Mantar, Jaipur.

The instruments are in most cases huge structures. The scale to which they have been built has been alleged to increase their accuracy. However, the penumbra of the sun can be as wide as 30 mm, making the 1mm increments of the Samrat Yantra sundial devoid of any practical significance. Additionally, the masons constructing the instruments had insufficient experience with construction of this scale, and subsidence of the foundations has subsequently misaligned them. The samrat yantra, for instance, which is a sundial, can be used to tell the time to an accuracy of about two seconds in Jaipur local time.The Giant Sundial, known as the Samrat Yantra (The Supreme Instrument) is the world's largest sundial, standing 27 meters tall. Its shadow moves visibly at 1 mm per second, or roughly a hand's breadth (6 cm) every minute, which can be a profound experience.

Today the observatory is a popular tourist attraction. However, local astronomers still use it to predict the weather for farmers, although their authority is becoming increasingly questionable. Students of astronomy and Vedic astrology are required to take some of their lessons at the observatory, and it can be said that the observatory is the single most representative work of Vedic thought that still survives, apart from the texts. Many of the smaller instruments display remarkable innovation in architectural design and its relation to function, for instance - the Ram Yantra.

Vrihat Samrat Yantra (Equinoctial Sundial)

• This is a Sun Dial that can give the time to an accuracy of 2 seconds.

• Planned around 1732, completed around 1735.

• Repaired in 1901–1902 with plaster scales of quadrants redrawn and gnomon edges engraved in red stone.

• Scales surfaced with marble in 1945.

• Red sandstone lining replaced the earlier masonry plaster surface after 1969 (Volwahsen, 2001)

• Lime plastered in 2007 and storm water collection was channelised.

Sasthamsa Yantra (60 deg. Meridian Chamber)

• It is used for measuring the declination and zenith distance of Sun

• Constructed with the Vrihat Samrat Yantra

• Initially, scales inscribed on smooth lime plaster surface, as also followed in 1901-1902 restoration. Marble scale introduced later

• Pointed arches on surface of the eastern Sasthamsa filled up and affixed with doors. This infill removed in 2007 restoration to reveal the original arches

Jai Prakash Yantra (Hemispherical Inst.)

• These are twin hemispherical bowl instruments, each one is a reflection of sky above

• Constructed under the supervision of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II (before 1743)

• During later restorations, ten staircases leading to the underground rooms and corridors were walled up

• Scales of plaster replaced with marble ones, after 1945 or in 1901-1902

• Plinth protection in stone re-laid during 2007 restoration

Nadivalaya Yantra (Equinoctial Dial)

• Helps in determining the time

•Only northern part (Uttari Gola) built originally, southern part and the storage chamber added before the reign of Maharaja Pratap Singh, when the whole building was rebuilt (1771)

•Inscription on plaque on southern plate mentions date of second restoration to be January 25, 1771. First restoration possibly under the supervision of Sawai Madho Singh

•In 2007, damaged calibrations were refilled with lead and the structure was plastered with lime. The access door was replaced

Horizontal Sun Dial atop Nadivalaya (Palabha)

• Determines the time on the day of Equinox

• Possibly constructed with the second restoration in 1771, when the southern face and chamber were added to the Nadivalaya Yantra

• A cage added on top to protect it, though that prevents its use for observational purposes. The cage was removed during the 2007-2008 restoration work to reveal the instrument

Krantivritta Yantra

•Measurement of celestial latitudes and longitudes

•Said to have been built according to instruction of Pandit Jagannath (under Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, before 1743) and never have been completed, with superstructure missing

•Superstructure not built during 1901-1902 restoration either, as it was assumed to have been too heavy for the support

•No work carried out in 2007 as it was in good condition

Krantivritta II (Measures Celestial Latitude & Longitude)

• Measurement of celestial latitudes and longitudes

• Built in 1901-1902 by Garrett, to demonstrate the function of the Krantivritta Yantra as the original Yantra was left incomplete

•No work carried out in 2007 as it was in good condition

Dakshinottara Bhitti Yantra (Meridian Dial)

•Measures the altitude or the angular height of celestial bodies when the cross the local meridian

•Demolished from original location & rebuilt stone-by-stone at present site. Present instrument built in 1876 with marble scales and lead filled engravings, as a replacement for the dilapidated one built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1728 to the north of the small Samrat Yantra

• Originally, internal rooms were stuccoed with a thin layer of white plaster and red layers were applied later

• In 2007, the damaged lime plaster was replaced and it was finished with lime wash. A damaged wooden door was replaced and the plinth protection was re-laid in lime

Yantra Raj (Astrolabe)

•Used for measuring ascendant altitude, time, position of the sun and that some other celestial objects

• No record, though Tieffenthaler (1750’s) mentions two large metal astrolabes suspended on iron rings

•In 2007, the masonry was repaired and damaged timber beams were replaced with matching timber

Chakra Yantra (Measures Declination of a Celestial Body)

• Measures declination distance from North or South of the celestial equator

• No records of construction date

•In 2007, the plinth protection was re-laid in lime and lead was refilled in the calibrations

Digamsa Yantra (Azimuth Circle)

• Determines the azimuth of a celestial object

• Constructed under the supervision of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II (before 1743)

• The marble was a part of later additions

• Only damaged lime plaster was replaced in 2007

Unnathamsa Yantra

• Measures altitude or angular height of a celestial object

•Constructed under the supervision of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II (before 1743)

•In 2007, the timber beam was consolidated, lime plaster redone and decorative elephant brackets revealed

Rasivalaya Yantra (Ecliptic Dial)

•Measures the celestial latitude and longitude of zodiacs

• Constructed before 1750’s (Tieffenthaler’s visit), though not a part of initial lists from Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh’s time. Repaired in 1870’s under the supervision of Maharaja Ram Singh. Angles altered by Garrett during 1901-1902 restorations – maximum alteration: 0o 29’ in Azimuth and 2o 28’ in Altitude

•In 2008, the damaged plinth stone on edges were replaced and broken edges of instruments repaired with lime mortar

Kapala Yantra (Hemispherical Dial)

• Used for measuring the ascendant and zodiacs

• Constructed under the supervision of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II (before 1743)

• Surfacing with stone done in 20th century In 2007, the plinth protection was relaid in lime and lead was refilled in the calibrations.

Laghu (Small) Samrat Yantra (Equinoctial Sundial)

•Measures time

•Possibly constructed under the supervision of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II (before 1743)

•Clad in red and white quartzite under the supervision of Maharaja Ram Singh in 1876

•Now fully restored

Great Ram Yantra (Cylindrical Inst.)

•This measures the local co-ordinates of altitude and azimuth of celestial objects

•The original structure in plaster from the period of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II (before 1743), was restored in stone in 1891 under the supervision of Sawai Madho Singh II

•No intervention in 2007 except pointing of joints with lime mortar

Small Ram Yantras (Cylindrical Inst.)

• Constructed as models for the rebuilding of the Great Ram Yantras in 1891

• Date not known, could have been from Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II’s time

• No work carried out in 2007

Dhruva Darshaka Yantra (North Star Indicator)

• Determines the position of Pole Star • Mentioned in 1902 account by visitor from Varanasi (Tillotson, 2006, pp. 170, 176)

Disha Yantra/ Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh’s Seat

• Indicates direction •Present in 1750’s when Tieffenthaler visited Jaipur. Circular engraving possibly from 1870’s •Recent attempt at repairing the damaged plinth in 2008 has revealed concentric masonry rings below the plinth and experts are trying to decipher the purpose of these rings (possibly to level ground by filling water)

Duration of Openings (Hrs.): 9.00-16.30

Entry Fee (In Indian Rupees):

Indian : 20

Foreigner : 100

Tel: 2610494

Reaching Jantar Mantar

From Agra, Uttar Pradesh to Jantar Mantar, Pink City, Jaipur, Rajasthan (231 Km)

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From New Delhi, Delhi to Jantar Mantar, Pink City, Jaipur, Rajasthan (258 Km)

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From Kota, Rajasthan to Jantar Mantar, Pink City, Jaipur, Rajasthan (238 Km)


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