Jantar Mantar, Jaipur Overview
“Jantar Mantar” literally translates to “instruments for measuring the harmony of the heavens”. While Jaipur is known for its mighty forts and palaces, Jantar Mantar is a hidden gem that has made its place in the city’s landscape. This popular astronomical observatory has acclaimed international importance, being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Jantar Mantar Jaipur comprises of 19 architectural and astrological instruments that have attracted astronomers, historians and architects around the world. These instruments allow tourists to view astronomical positions with the naked eye. It is also believed to be one of the largest observatories ever built.
Jantar Mantar Location
Jantar Mantar is located near the City Palace and Hawa Mahal of Jaipur. The observatory’s geometric devices were used for measuring time and space. Jantar Mantar is spread across 18,700 square meters area and was restored several times during the British rule in 1902 and then later in 2006.
Image source: Pink City Royals
Who built Jantar Mantar in Jaipur?
Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II of Jaipur constructed five Jantar Mantar in the cities of New Delhi, Jaipur, Ujjain, Mathura and Varanasi in the early 18th century. These monuments were completed between 1724 and 1735. The Jantar Mantar observatory in Jaipur was constructed between 1728 and 1734 and is the largest and most accurate observatories among the five monuments.
Jantar Mantar, Jaipur is constructed in the Ptolemaic tradition. It offers a great testimony to the scientific and technical conceptions of the great observatory established in the 18th century. The observatory is still in use today for teaching and calculation purposes and is still quite accurate. Some of these instruments are still a mystery and also the largest instruments in the world. Jantar Mantar in Jaipur is also the National Monument of Rajasthan.
History of Jantar Mantar Jaipur
Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, who was a brilliant star and a great scholar of astronomy, was the ruler of Amber and founder of Jaipur. He was commissioned by Emperor Muhammad Shah to rectify the astronomical tables and confirm the existing data on the planetary positions. The Jantar Mantar was created to refine the ancient Islamic zij tables and precisely define the calendar. Another reason to create this scientific marvel was to apply the cosmological vision deriving from the Ptolemaic astronomical facts.
After studying astronomy in several cultures including Indian, Europeans, Islamic and Persian, Sawai Jai Singh collected the data and then began building the observatory. One of the many manuals used by Sawai Jai Singh was La Hires’s tables. The Jantar Mantar in Jaipur is also believed to be inspired by the observatory of the king Ulugh Beg ruler of Samarkand in Uzbekistan. But it was far more accurate than the Ulugh Beg observatory.
Read More: 5 Incredible Water Parks In Jaipur
Reaching Jantar Mantar Jaipur
The Jantar Mantar is located in the heart of Jaipur and is a walking distance from the city palace.
Best Time to Visit the Jantar Mantar Jaipur
The best time to visit the observatory is during mid-day when the sun is overhead. You can then understand the importance of the instruments and how readings were taking during historical times. Jaipur is really hot in summers, so make sure you visit the place in winters or spring, between the months of September and March.
INR 40 for Indians, INR 15 for students and INR 200 for foreigners
9:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Image source: Tempo Traveller Hire
Structure of Jantar Mantar Jaipur
As mentioned before, there are close to 20 instruments at the Jantar Mantar, Jaipur. Some of the notable structures include:
Vrihat Samrat Yantra
The Vrihat Samrat Yantra or the sundial gives the local time to an accuracy of 2 seconds. The sundial is the largest in the world, with a gnomon arm of 22.6 meters and largest quadrants of the 15.5-meter radius. The shadow of the triangular wall moves equal distances in equal time intervals on the eastern and western side quadrants.
Small Samrat Yantra
The small Samrat Yantra is a smaller sundial that gives the time to an accuracy of 20 seconds. The shadow of the instrument’s triangular wall falls on the eastern and western side quadrants shows the local time.
Unnatamsa is an instrument to measure the angular height of an object in the sky.
Rasivalaya is an instrument to measure the latitude and longitude of the celestial bodies. In total, there are twelve instruments, representing the twelve signs of the zodiac.
The Nadivalaya is an instrument with dials that comprises two circular plates, facing north and south. The plate’s wall is inclined towards the south at an angle that the Nadivalaya is parallel to the plane of the Earth’s equator.
The chakra yantra is a ring instrument to measure the global coordinates of declination and the hour angle of a celestial object.
The Ram Yantra is an instrument used to measure the local coordinates of altitude and azimuth of a celestial object.
The Krantivrtta is an instrument that can measure the celestial latitude and longitude of an object in the sky. It can also be used to measure the solar sign of the sun in the daytime.
Tips To Keep in Mind While Visiting Jantar Mantar Jaipur
• If you are visiting Jaipur in the summers, then try to visit Jantar Mantar during the morning or evening hours as it can become really hot.
• Always carry a water bottle with yourself to keep your body hydrated.
• Apply sunscreen to avoid sunburn.
• Visit the orientation building first to see a short film on the place and its significance.
• It is recommended to hire a guide to better understand the instruments at Jantar Mantar. The guide typically charges around INR 200.
(All rates mentioned in the blog are as of February 2018)
Hope you liked this article on Jantar Mantar Jaipur. Do share your views with us in the comments section below.