The amazing astronomical wonder of Jaipur was built in 1734 by Jai Singh. Jantar Mantar is still used for astronomical calculations and observations and is also declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Even though similar observatories were built in Mathura, Varanasi, Delhi and Ujjain, most of them are nonexistent today, and only the one in Jaipur is preserved in good condition. Most of the structure is built of stones and marble. They were built with exact mathematical calculations, and it served in charting the movements of the Sun, Moon, and the stars. It has about 20 such wonderful instruments which are huge in size. Let us see some of them in detail.
This is a huge sundial, and the gnomon is 90 feet high, and it is used to find out the time and declination. You have to climb the steps to read them. Using the various instruments in this structure, the diameter of the sun is measured accurately and even sun spots are easily observed.
This is an astrolabe made of brass and masonry. While one of the circles rotate in the equator plane, the other one rotates in the ecliptic plane, and it is used to measure the latitude and longitude of celestial bodies.
This is used to calculate many astronomical data and has a telescope fixed to a rod that passes through a hole in the center. This yantra is still used during the month of August to calculate the Indian calendar.
It has 12 sundials for each zodiac signs and the instruments work similar to the samrat yantras.
Jai Prakash Yantra:
This is one of the most famous instruments in this observatory, and it is used to measure the rotation of the Sun. The shadow cast by the structure is studied, and the latitude and longitude of the Sun are calculated. In the same way, it is used to find out in which zodiac sign the Sun is moving.
With so many fascinating things in this place, you will thoroughly enjoy the trip to Jantar Mantar. The observatory is open to visitors from Monday to Friday, and you can go anytime between 9 am in the morning at about 4.30 p.m. The entry fee is about Rs. 40 for Indian nationals and foreign tourists; the entry fee goes upto Rs. 200. However, there is no entry fee on Monday. If you are taking a camera, there will be a separate fee for that thing.
You can easily take the guided tour which will help you to understand the importance of these instruments in a better way. You will appreciate the beauty of this structure and the far-sightedness of the Kings in constructing this monument. Even though advanced observatories are there which use electronic instruments to calculate astronomical data, these things built of natural material without the use of anything else will fascinate you to the core. Make sure to visit to the oldest observatory, Jantar Mantar on your trip to the pink city.