The Jantar Mantar is an observatory, which has many astronomical instruments for computation in astronomy and astrology. The name is derived from two Sanskrit words; Jantar means instrument or machine while Mantar means calculate. This means that Jantar Mantar literally means calculation machine. There are many Jantar Mantar built in India, they are in Jaipur, New Delhi, Ujjain, Varanasi and Mathura. These are monuments built by Rajput King, besides the astronomical and astrological calculation they also are major tourist attractions. The Jantar Mantar at Jaipur was built close to the former Royal palace and is located in the city of Jaipur very close to the popular Hawa Mahal and the City Palace.
Jantar Mantar At Jaipur
The Jantar Mantar at Jaipur was built in the 18th century and consists of 19 main astronomical instruments in it. These are built with the help of brick rubble and plaster and a few of them are also made of bronze. They enable the observer to view celestial bodies with naked eyes and precise calculation of day, date and time.
The Jantar Mantar in Jaipur was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II as the main point of his new capital Jaipur. The construction began in 1720 and was completed in the year 1738. The observatory was very active during his life, when there were 20 astronomers employed and deputed for calculations. Even after the death of Jai Singh II in 1743 this prime landmark in the city of Jaipur remained functional till 1800. Though it ceased to function as an observatory in the 19th century, the monuments were repaired quite often.
Under the British rule the observatory got a new life and was termed as a monument of Rajasthan. Now the monument serves mainly as a tourist center, attracting almost 700,000 visitors every year. An important and interesting aspect is that the instruments there are still in usable condition and the staff of 12 people or the authorized person is capable of performing the astronomical calculations. The Guide in the Jantar Mantar can calculate the day, date and time with the help of the Sundial.
The observatory has 19 instruments for measuring time, the predictions of eclipses and tracking of major stars and determines celestial altitudes and concerned ephemerides. Amongst the instruments is Chakra Yantra which is similar to the wall clock capable of registering the local time in different parts of the world. There is Vrihat Samrat Yantra which is largest Sundial which measures time in the interval of 2 seconds on the basis of the shadow cast by the gnomon from sunlight. The Kranti Vritta Yantra measures the longitude and latitude of the celestial bodies. The Dakshin Bhitti Yantra is an instrument that measures the meridian, altitude and zenith distance of the celestial bodies.
The Vrihat Samrat Yanta means ‘great king of instruments and is 88 feet high and the shadow shows the time of the day.
In July 2010 Jantar Mantar of Jaipur was inscribed on the World Heritage Site by UNESCO under criteria (iii) and (iv).