Pink city has always impressed art and craft lovers from nooks and corners of the world. The city is not just home to historical monuments, forts and palaces but also something that can be marveled at. One such wonderful monument is Jantar Mantar Jaipur. Jantar Mantar is basically a stone structure famed for its meticulous architecture and mathematical accuracy. It is an astronomical observatory that has amazed scientists and astrologists worldwide. Featuring the world’s largest sundials, the astronomical observatory of Jaipur is also a UNESCO world’s largest heritage site and one of the best places to visit in Jaipur.
History: From its concept to its existence
Jantar Mantar was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the founder and a potential ruler of Jaipur. He was a great intellectual in physics, mathematics, and astronomy.
Once there was an active discussion in the court of the Mughal Emperor, Muhammad Shah over defining a favorable date for the Emperor to embark on an important journey. He asked all the astronomers in the court to identify the position and movement of celestial bodies. Everyone submitted different estimations and couldn’t seem to decide on a date. At this time, Sawai Jai Singh II was quick to highlight the disparities and errors in the Islamic astronomical book, Zij and put forth a proposal to bring more accuracy to astronomical calculations.
He was desperate to create accurate and precise celestial observations. So in order to correct the discrepancies in the existing astronomical observation tables, he then decided to create a well-defined calendar to determine the time. For the benefit of mankind, he wanted to prepare an accurate astronomical instrument to understand the exact mechanics of the Cosmos.
From a thought to its existence
To fulfill his dream, he decided that he would construct Jantar Mantar in the year 1719. He made a mission out of this and started studying cosmological principles, based on philosophical findings of Hindu, Islamic, European, and Persian civilizations. And finally constructed five different observatories. He constructed 5 different observatories in India including Jaipur, Delhi, Mathura, Ujjain, and Varanasi.
Jantar Mantar Jaipur
Jantar Mantar Jaipur is the biggest of all. It took 7 years to complete the construction of this unique astronomical and architectural monument. This observatory has an construction between 1727 and 1733. After this, it went through constant renovations with the lapse of time.
Architecture: The beauty of this Astronomical wonder
The unique architecture of the Jantar Mantar leaves everyone stunned by how it is designed without using any mechanical technology. Jantar Mantar spreads over an area of 5 acres that comprises nineteen exclusive geometrical shapes. Each of them has its specific function for astronomical measurements. The instruments were built after keeping in mind the positions of the sun, planets, longitudes, latitudes and the equator. Brass and stone are the two major materials used in the construction of these instruments.
The devices are made up of stones so that they can withstand temperature changes, shakes, and inaccuracies. They followed the precepts of Indian, Islamic, and western astronomy to achieve absolute precision. You will be astonished after watching such instruments, and the small scales made of stones and marbles with proper measurement. The observatory still holds its significance and many instruments are still known for their accuracy.
The science behind the magical structure
The main purpose behind the presence of this structure was to compile and study information related to the universe, time and space. The instruments present here are those used in the Egyptian study of Ptolemaic astronomy. The observatory is popular to operate on the precepts which pass on by the classical celestial coordinates. There are three systems horizons-zenith the local system, the ecliptic system, and the equatorial system that helped the researchers and geographers to track the position of the heavenly bodies. The instruments here have an arrangment in a uniform manner such as Samrat Yantra, Raj Yantra, Chakra Yantra, Disha Yantra, and many more.
The prime attractions of Jantar Mantar
There are many astronomical instruments present in Jantar Mantar Jaipur which impress many tourists with the intelligent artwork of ancient people. These are devices with a perfect alignment of measurement scales to measure time, distances between the planets and other celestial bodies, planetary motions, prediction of eclipses, the instrument to track orbital stars and determine the celestial height. These are the major instruments in Jantar Mantar that you should not be miss.
Vrihat Samrat Yantra
Vrihat Samrat Yantra is a Huge stone Sundial, constructed exactly at the center of Jantar Mantar. It is around 27 meters in height and known as the largest sundial in the world. This instrument displays almost the correct time at the accuracy of 2 seconds. The yantra has got a triangular-shaped wall whose shadow moves according to the movement of the sun. The shadow travels equal distances in equal time lengths. The movement of the shadow of the triangular walls is optimized to predict an accurate time.
It has an observation deck that predicts the movements of the planet to predict the eclipses and monsoons. However, observers still use this instrument for their calculations and is not open to the public.
Laghu Samrat Yantra
Laghu Samrat Yantra or Small Samrat Yantra is a smaller sundial that works on the same principle as the Samrat Yantra, and it is open for the public to use and explore. Since it is small, the equipment calculates time with an accuracy level of up to 20 seconds. There is a sundial with a ramp in the instrument, which points in the North pole direction. When the shadow of the ramp moves onto the finer divisions marked on the curved scale, time is calculated.
This yantra is used for the measurement of azimuth (the coordinate system in which a celestial object’s position is described) and the elevation of the sun as well as other planets. There is a tube-shaped structure with a pole at its center and an opening in the direction of the sky. The poles are of equal heights. There are scales on the inside wall signifying the angle of altitude and azimuth of the celestial bodies.
Jaya Prakash Yantra
Jaya Prakash yantra has two bowl-like hemispherical-shaped sundials, graded with marble slabs. When the inverted shadow of the sky falls on the slabs, its movement helps to identify the elevation, exact position, azimuth, and hour angle of cosmic bodies.
This instrument is a ring-type structure that helps in calculating the coordinates of the sun and the hour angle. It has four semi-circular arches in the ring which makes the shadow fall. Due to this method, the setting down of the sun decreases by four times a day.
This instrument has a total of twelve instruments that represent the zodiac signs and helps in identifying the latitude and longitude of the celestial bodies. Each of the 12 instruments is measured when the corresponding sign of the zodiac transits the meridian.
This instrument measures the solar sign during the daytime. This instrument constitutes many little arrangements on the plane surface setup at an equal distance.
This instrument measures the time to an accuracy of less than a minute. This instrument consists of two circular dials, facing in the north and south directions. The wall of the circular plates has alignment in such a manner that the instrument always appears parallel to the plane of the Earth’s equator.
This instrument has two exterior circles conjoint with a pillar in its interior. It helps in the prediction of the exact timings for sunrise and sunsets.
It is a 60-degree arc instrument nestles in the meridian plane with a slightly darker chamber. Every noon, when light passes through a pinhole in this chamber the instrument fills with light. This way it helps in calculating the diameter of the sun, declination and distance.
Many other yantras are worth mentioning. One is Misra Yantra which is a collection of 5 different instruments, the other one is Kapali Yantra which measure the position of celestial bodies and equatorial systems. Another instrument named Yantra Raj Yantra calculates the Hindu calendar. The Unnatasha Yantra is a metal ring that divides itself into four segments that is able to measure the altitude and distance of celestial bodies. Disha Yantra showcases the directions and measurements, Dakshin Bhitti Yantra measures the altitude, meridian and zenith distances of the celestial bodies and Dhruva Darshak Pattika observes the location of the pole star as per the position of other celestial bodies. While other instruments present here are Palbha Yantra and Kanali yantra. All these instruments are special in their own and are a must-visit.
Things you should know
- There is a light and sound show at the orientation building within this observatory. It is worth your time as it provides you with detailed insight into the observatory and its evolution through a short film.
- Jantar Mantar’s name was derives from Sanskrit words Yantra which means instruments and Mantra which means calculation in English. Together it means Jantar Mantar, a calculating instrument. The names were mistranslated and morphed into Jantar Mantar. Since then it gained popularity that way.
- The instruments were a curation for Pandit Jagannath, the advisor and guru of Maharaja Jai Singh II, to help him create birth charts and predictions of major events like deaths, wars, weddings, etc.
- It has a Research Room and an Observer Room where you can view 3D models of every aspect of the observatory, including the various instruments present in the monument as well as those brought from other districts of Rajasthan. The instruments used in the formation and restoration of the structure are also on exhibit here.
It is one of the most popular places to visit in Jaipur, located near the gates of City Palace at Gangori Bazar.
For Indians: Rs. 50
For foreign tourists: Rs. 200
For Indian students: Rs. 15
For international students: Rs. 100
Camera fees for Rs.50
Cameras are allowed here and you can do photography as well as videography.
If you take interest in learning more about its various instruments, it is better to avail the services of a local guide. Not only they will best brief you about the instruments available at the Jantar Mantar Jaipur but also tell you what each one of them indicates.
For local guides: Rs.200
For Audio guide: Rs.150
The visiting time is from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
It will take 30 minutes to 3 hours to visit Jantar Mantar depending upon your interest in learning about the monuments. You should hire a guide to know a detailed description of the building as well as the working of each instrument.
Best time to visit
The best time to Visit Jantar Mantar Jaipur is during Winter or Spring as this time the weather is pleasant and not irresistible like in summers. Moreover, the best time to visit Jantar Mantar is during mid-day when the Sun is vertically above as this time it is easy to understand the working process of each instrument.
How to reach
From the railway station: It is Near Merta Road Junction Railway station. The monument is located at a distance of about 5.2 km from Jaipur Railway Station.
From the airport: Jantar Mantar is around 13 km from Jaipur Airport. From the airport, you can opt for a line 3 Bus which takes you to Tonk Phatak. After this, you can catch a different bus to Badi Chaupad. After you reach Badi Chaupad, you can either take a small walk or hire a cab to reach Jantar Mantar.
Local transport: You can easily get buses, cabs and even taxis from various parts of the city to City Palace and Jantar Mantar.