Explore Jantar Mantar The Astronomical Observatory In Jaipur

Jantar Mantar, the prominent place of Jaipur, Rajasthan, is an astronomical observatory built by Sawai Jai Singh between 1724 and 1734. It is included in UNESCO's 'World Heritage List'. There are 14 major instruments in this observatory that are helpful in measuring time, predicting eclips, knowing the speed and position of a star, knowing the declination of the planets of the solar system, etc. Seeing these instruments shows that the people of India had such a deep knowledge of the complex concepts of mathematics and astronomy that they could turn these concepts into an 'academic observatory' so that anyone could also know them and enjoy them.

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Who Built this Royal Observatory or Jantar Mantar? | Why is it famous throughout the world?

Jaipur has a wonderful medieval achievement attached to the old royal palace 'Chandramahal' - Jantar Mantar. Famous throughout the world for analyzing and accurately predicting astrological and astronomical events through ancient astronomical instruments and complex mathematical structures, this peerless observatory was built by Raja Sawai Jai Singh (II) of Amer, the founder of the city of Jaipur, under his personal supervision in 1728, which was completed in the year 1734. 

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Swai Jai Singh’s Contribution

Sawai Jai Singh was also an astronomer whose contribution and personality have been respectfully praised by Jawaharlal Nehru in his famous book 'Discovery of India' ('Bharat: Ek Khoj'). Before the construction of this observatory, Sawai Jai Singh had sent his cultural ambassadors to many countries of the world and got the manuscripts of ancient and important texts of astronomy from there and preserved them in his library and also translated them for his study. 

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Five Observatories Made by Swai Jai Singh

Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II built five observatories nationwide based on Hindu astronomy. These five observatories were built in Jaipur, Delhi, Ujjain, Banaras, and Mathura. In building these observatories, he took the help of famous astronomers of that time. First of all, Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh (II) got the Samrat Yantra constructed in Ujjain. The Observatory (Jantar Mantar) in Delhi, and ten years later, Jantar Mantar was constructed in Jaipur. Jaipur Observatory is the largest among the five observatories in the country. The construction of this observatory was started in 1724, and the construction work was completed in 1734. It is bigger in size than the other Jantar Mantras, it also has no competition in terms of crafts and instruments. Out of the five observatories, only Jantar Mantar of Delhi and Jaipur are left today, the rest have vanished. 

World Heritage Site Jantar Mantar

On August 1, 2010, UNESCO announced the inclusion of seven monuments around the world, including Jantar Mantar, in the World Heritage List.  It has been included in the World Heritage Monument category at the 34th International Conference of the World Heritage Committee. Among the main reasons cited for this honor, all the ancient instruments of this observatory are still in good condition. Through which accurate calculations of weather, local time, planets, constellations, and astronomical phenomena like eclipses, etc., can be done even today. Jantar Mantar received the status of World Heritage in 2010. Jantar Mantar is the first cultural heritage site of Rajasthan and the 23rd cultural heritage site of India to be included in the World Heritage List. The credit for creating an unmatched heritage of history goes to Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II.

This monument considered the Indian knowledge of studying celestial phenomena through instruments made of wood, lime, stone, and metal as 'amazing.' Even today, the local almanac (Panchang) of Jaipur is published based on the calculations of these instruments, and every year on Ashadh Purnima, astronomers predict the coming rainfall through the process of 'Pawan Dharana'.

Among the instruments here, 'Samrat-Yantra' (a huge sundial), 'Jaiprakash-Yantra' and 'Ram-Yantra' are the most famous. 'Samrat-Yantra' is the highest (about 90 feet from the ground), through which time can be told with sufficient accuracy.

Major Instruments in Jantar Mantar, Jaipur

The main instruments located in Jantar Mantar of Jaipur are - Brihat Samrat Yantra, Laghu Samrat Yantra, Jayaprakash Yantra, Ramayantra, Dhruvayantra, Dakshinayantra, Nadivalayyantra, Rashivalaya, Dishayantra, Laghukranti Yantra, Dirghkranti Yantra, Rajyantra, Unnatamsh Yantra, and Digansh Yantra. Apart from these, instruments like Krantivrit Yantra, Yantra Raj, etc., were also used for important astrological calculations and astronomical markings.

1. Altitude instrument

The huge metal sphere hanging between two pillars on either side of a circular platform, just to the left of the entrance of Jantar Mantar, is known as Unnatamsh Yantra. This instrument was used to measure the altitude and angular height of an object in the sky.

2. Dakshinodak wall device

To the east of the Unnatamsha Yantra, there is a wall-like building extending from north to south, called Dakshinodat Bhittiayantra. In the front part, there are stairs on both sides from the middle of the wall, which go up to the upper part of the wall. Whereas the surface of the wall is flat. This instrument was used to know the altitude of the Sun in the midday time and through them the Sun's revolution and day scale etc.

3. Compass

This is a simple device. In the Jantar Mantar complex, there is a huge circle made of red stone on a large square flat surface in the middle, and a right-angle cross is made in all four directions from the center. This is a direction instrument that provides general knowledge of directions.

4. Samrat Yantra

The largest yantra in Jantar Mantar is the Samrat Yantra. Because of its grandeur and vastness, it was called the Emperor Yantra. The grandeur of the instrument can be gauged from the fact that the height of its top from the ground is 90 feet. Samrat Yantra also has an umbrella on the top. This instrument was established to know the revolution, equinox, and time of planets and constellations.

5. Shashtansh instrument

Shashtansh Yantra is a part of Samrat Yantra. This ring-shaped instrument is situated in the shape of a moon in the east and west directions from the base of Samrat Yantra. This instrument was also used to know the position and degree of planets and stars.

6. Jaiprakash Yantra ‘A’ and Jaiprakash Yantra ‘B’

Jai Prakash instruments were invented by Maharaja Jai Singh himself. The design of these bowl-shaped instruments is unique. These yantras are between the Samrat and Disha Yantra in the Jantar Mantar complex. In this, considering the edge as the horizon, an astronomical survey of half the sky was done for the knowledge of every object. Besides, these instruments also reveal the position of the Sun in any zodiac sign. These two instruments are mutually complementary.

7. Ring device

This instrument is located on the right side of the entrance. It is divided into two circular faces. The position of the Sun and the local time can be accurately estimated from various lines shown around their central point.

8. Polaroscope plate

A polaroscope is a simple instrument used to know the position and direction of the pole star. This wall-like plaque is gradually raised from south to north in the north-south direction. If you look at its southern end with your eyes, the position of the Pole Star at the northern end becomes clear.

9. Miniature emperor machine | Laghu Samrat Yantra

Laghu Samrat Yantra is the yantra situated to the west of the Dhruva viewer plate. It is also called a sundial. This instrument calculates local time accurately. Made of red stone, this yantra is a smaller version of the Samrat Yantra, which is why it is known as the Laghusamrat Yantra.

10. Horoscope machine | Zodiac ring device

The Zodiac ring device indicates 12 zodiac signs. The special feature of these twelve instruments, which show the position of each zodiac sign and the planets and stars in them, is their design. All these instruments are similar in appearance, but the structure of these instruments indicating the position of the zodiac signs in the sky is different.

11. Wheel machine

Wheel machine made of two huge iron wheels; these instruments were used to measure celestial bodies' declination and instantaneous geographical coordinates. It is situated to the north of the zodiac instruments.

12. Ramyantra

In Ram Yantra, the faces of degrees are shown between the circle of pillars to the center. Important astronomical calculations were also done from these panels. Ramayantra are two yantras located near the western wall of Jantar Mantar. Two miniature versions of these instruments are also located near Jantar Mantar.

13. Azimuth instrument

The azimuth of objects was known through this instrument. The azimuth instrument is located near the exit door. This instrument is built as small circles in the circular rampart. 


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