Jantar Mantar, Jaipur: Introduction of Jantar Mantar, History of Observatory

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Introduction of Jantar Mantar in Jaipur

Jantar Mantar in Jaipur is the most famous one among the five observatories built by Sawai Jai Singh and is located close to the gate of the famous City Palace of Jaipur. Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the Rajput ruler of Amber and the founder of Jaipur was a learned man and an astronomer who was deeply interested in the working of the celestial bodies and so he built the observatory known as Jantar Mantar. Jantar Mantar is the biggest stone observatory in the world, which is still in a running condition.

Jantar Mantar, Jantar Mantar in Jaipur

The name 'Jantar Mantar' is derived from Sanskrit word 'Yantra Mantra' which means instruments and formulae. Later due to mispronunciation it was changed to the known name.

Sawai Jai Singh II was commissioned by Emperor Muhammad Shah, to make corrections in the astronomical tables and to confirm the data, already available on the planetary positions. Sawai Jai Singh II took seven years to finish the task. He built the first stone observatory in 1724 in Delhi. Maharaja Jai Singh II constructed 5 observatory in west and central part of India between 1727 to 1734 and Jantar Mantar in Jaipur is the largest of all. The Jaipur observatory was built in 1728.

History of Observatory

There is a fascinating history regarding the construction of this observatory. Sawai Jai Singh II sent his men to various parts of the world. The men came back with manuals, astronomical tables and data on the advances made in the field of astronomy. La Hire's "Tables" was one of these manuals. Sawai Jai Singh II ordered the observatory to be constructed according to the data available in this manual. Amazingly, after Jantar Mantar was built, it was discovered that the observatory was more accurate than the Table itself. 

Sawai Jai Singh had the choice either to construct the observatory with metal instruments or masonry instruments. The metal instruments, constructed according to the text of the Islamic school of astronomy, did not measure up to Jai Singh's expectations. So, he discarded them in favor of the instruments of stone and masonry that he himself designed. In this Observatory one can view the wonderful masonry instruments. The observatory has the Jaiprakash Yantra, Samrat Yantra, Ram Yantra and the Composite instrument, which comprises of a sundial and a massive hemisphere. Jantar Mantar was built not only to verify astronomical observations made at Jaipur, but also to stimulate interest in astronomy, which had become enmeshed in theory, superstition and religious jargon.

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