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Jantar Mantar History
The Jantar Mantar is an iconic historical site, located in the heart of Jaipur, Rajasthan. The site is a collection of 19 ancient astronomical instruments used to study the planets and planetary positions in those days. It is an extension of the first such observatory built in Delhi. But the one is Rajasthan is more expansive and significant. The history of this place is also quite illustrious.
Jantar Mantar Jaipur was built by the Rajput king Sawai Jai Singh II, also heralded as the founder of the city of Jaipur. There is no exact time period documented as to when Jai Singh began the construction of the observatory. But it is said that he built the first stone observatory in Delhi in 1724. Jai Singh built five more such observatories in various places but the Jaipur site remains the largest and the most accurate than the rest.
By 1728, many of the instruments in the Jaipur site were built and the construction continued till 1738. About 23 astronomers were employed to build the instruments in Jaipur and in 1735, with the shifting political climate in the country, Jai Singh replaced the Delhi site as the main observatory, which remained until his death in 1743.
The support and authority of the observatory changed many hands with his successors when the developments of this place died down. Under the rile of Pratap Singh (1778 – 1803) the observatory was turned into a gun factory.
The monument got damaged in the 19th century. Major Arthur Garrett, an amateur astronomer who was appointed as an assistant state engineer in Jaipur, took on the early restoration work. The then king of Jaipur, Ram Singh Jr. completed the restoration in 1876 and reinforced some of the instruments as well. During the colonial era, the Jantar Mantar went through further restorations and even after that in the 2000s
Jantar Mantar Architecture
Spanning an area of 18700, the observatory makes for a massive site of scientific investment of ancient India. Built in stone, marble, iron, and other metals of the time periods of its construction, the architecture of Jantar Mantar Jaipur is a reflection of various religious and cultural beliefs of the 18th and 9th centuries.
Over the years, the reconstructions and restorations were completed with bronze, bricks and mortar. Most of the original materials have been replaced with modern construction materials and equipment but the historical and mathematical value of the instruments remain intact.
Some of the instruments are still considered the largest astronomical devices in the world. used for teaching and calculation purposes.
One of the major highlights of this place is the world’s largest stone sundial. It also features instruments to calculate three main classical space coordinate systems – the horizon-zenith local system, the equatorial system, and the ecliptic system.
The Kanmala Yantraprakaral, one of the 19 instruments, allows transformation of the coordinates directly from one system to the other.
The astronomical tables created by Jai Singh, known as the Zij-i Muhammad Shahi, were continuously used in India for a century.
Hidden Facts about Jantar Mantar
Here are some interesting facts and trivia about this place –
- The observatory consists of nineteen instruments for measuring time, predicting eclipses, tracking location of major stars as the earth orbits around the sun, ascertaining the declinations of planets, and determining the celestial altitudes and related ephemerides.
- It houses the world’s biggest stone sundial. The Brihat Samrat Yantra, or translated as the “great king of instruments“, is an 88 feet (27 m) high instrument which tells the time of the day through its shadow cast by the sun.
- This instrument gives the local time at the accuracy of two seconds. It is faced at an angle of 27 degrees, the latitude of Jaipur. The chhatri (umbrella like top of a tower) on top is used as a platform for announcing eclipses and the arrival of monsoons.
- The etymology is a derivation of Sanskrit words – Jantar or instrument/machine and Mantrana or calcutations. In other words, Jantar Mantar literally means calculating machine.
- The observatory was built to study ancient Sanskrit scriptures, European literature about instrumental astrology, as a secondary research center for Ulugh Beg’s Observatory at Samarkand, Uzbekistan, and the ancient city of Maragheh.
Jantar Mantar UNESCO World Heritage Site
This observatory is a representation of the most fascinating scientific discoveries made in 18th century India. It is one of the greatest observatory sites ever built in the Ptolemic traditions. It is an outstanding testimony of scientific and technological achievements in the medieval world.
It was declared a national monument in 1948. Since 1961, it is managed by the Archeological Society of India, under the Archeological Sites and Monuments Act, 1961. It is also protected as a National Monument of Rajasthan since 1968. In 2010, Jantar Mantar was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, for its significance in India’s cultural and technological history and for its contribution to some of the greatest scientific innovations and advances in the world.
Things to Do in Jantar Mantar
The Jantar Mantar Jaipur timings are from 9 AM to 4.30 PM, seven days a week. It is located at a walking distance between the City Palace and Hawa Mahal. The Jantar Mantar Jaipur ticket price is Rs 50 for entrance. For students, there is a discounted entrance fee of Rs 15, on showing a valid ID proof. Photography and videography of the site are extra, and upon permission of the site authorities.
Apart from this site, here are a few other things to do in and around the monument –
Visit the Hawa Mahal – This iconic structure is synonymous with Jaipur’s legacy. Built with pink sandstone, the 953 jharokha or box windows, this palatial monument remains airy and breezy throughout the year, even in peak summers.
Explore the City Palace – The sprawling complex is almost a town within itself. With courtyards, pavilions, temples, palaces, and gardens, it is a testament to the classic Rajputana architecture.
Take a tour of the Albert Hall Museum – The 18th-century museum boasts a rich display of art, artifacts, arms, jewels, and more, which sums up the history of Jaipur and its ruling families.
Other Attractions Around Jantar Mantar
Amber Palace Fort/Amer Fort
About the Place: The 16th-century hilltop fort encloses courtyards, a magnificent palace, royal halls, gardens, and an ancient Kali temple. The exteriors are made of sandstone and the interiors with Belgian glass of intricate enamel and mirror work. There are also light and sound shows in the evenings.
Timings: 8 AM to 7 PM, Light & Sound Show at 7:30 PM (English) and 8:30 PM(Hindi)
Entry Fee: Rs 50 per person, students Rs 15.
Best time to visit: October to February, before sunset.
How to reach: The fort is located about 12 KM from the city center and takes about 40 minutes to reach. You can book a cab or a rent a local car to travel from Jantar Mantar Jaipur to Amber Palace.
About the Place: The 17th-century fort is a site of ruins with large, imposing fortress with walls and turrets towering high above an adjacent lake. It is an epitome of classic Mughal and Rajputana architecture.
Timings: 8 AM to 10 PM
Entry Fee: Rs 200 per person
Best time to visit: October to March
How to reach: The fort is located 108 KM from Jantar Mantar and takes about 2 hours to reach via NH 48. You can book a local cab or an outstation car rental to reach Kishangarh Fort from Jantar Mantar.
How to Reach Jantar Mantar
The nearest railway station is Jaipur junction, at 6 km from Jantar Mantar. You can take an auto, bus, or local taxi from the station to Jantar Mantar.
You can hire auto, local or tourist buses, or book a local cab to reach this UNESCO Heritage site from anywhere in the city. There are also metro services. The nearest metro station is the Chandpole metro station.
The nearest airport is Jaipur International Airport, 12.7 KM away. You can book an airport taxi or a local car to travel from airport to the monument.
Best Time to Visit Jantar Mantar
Jaipur experiences hot and dry summers with very high temperatures and chilly winters. The best time to visit Jantar Mantar is between October to February and at noon when the sun is at its peak and it’s easy to understand and interpret the readings of each instrument.
[Also Read: Jaipur Kite Festival]
Places to Stay Near Jantar Mantar
- Hotel Arya Niwas
- Alsisar Haveli
- Hotel Jaisingh Palace
- Hotel Bissau Palace
- Jaipur Hotel New – A heritage hotel
- Belvilla The Umaid Vilas Royal Heritage Haveli
Places to Eat Near Jantar Mantar
- The Palace Café Restaurant
- Baradari Restaurant & Bar
- Govindam Restaurant
- Art Café
- Kebabs & Curries Company
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