Jantar Mantar - Jaipur

Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the Kacchwa ruler of Amber, was known to be an avid astronomer. The Kacchawas, in general have been known to promote the arts, sciences and culture generously. The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur, is one of the five astronomical observatories built by Jai Singh II, between 1727 and 1734. It is a major tourist attraction in Jaipur and a major highlight of Rajasthan tourism.

The Jantar Mantar in Jaipur is a collection of large stone and marble structures. The installations with geometric forms are large scale versions of similar medieval astronomical devices found at many places around the world. The observatory at Jaipur is considered the largest stone observatory in the world. The complex houses a total of fourteen structures, the most notable among which is the gigantic sun-dial. The sun dial is still used to calculate local time with an accuracy range of 2 seconds, a remarkable achievement, considering the age of the construction. It is built to accurately point out astronomical measurements including the autumnal and vernal equinox, the summer and winter solstice, the annul orbit of the sun, and the celestial North and South Poles.

The other devices are designed to calculate the eclipses, tracking stars and their orbits, and the declinations of major planets. The chief building material is local stone and marble, with bronze used as markings on the marble, to indicate the scales and measurements.

It is said that when the entire complex was conceptualized, Jai Singh dispatched emissaries to all parts of the world to obtain the best possible designs for the proposed monument. The best design selected was from La Hire�s tables, and the structure was commenced on the guidelines provided by the manual. After completion, however, it was found that the devices in the complex were more accurate than predicted by the manual.

The Jantar Mantar in Jaipur was renovated in 1901, and was declared a national monument in 1948. It is undoubtedly one of the highlights of tourism in Jaipur .The other similar observatories built by Maharaja Jai Singh II are located at Delhi, Varanasi, Ujjain, and Mathura. These observatories are all famous landmarks in their respective cities and feature prominently in their tourism. The jantar Mantars have found their rightful place in numerous books, magazines and even postage stamps, a fitting tribute to the marvelous achievements of the astronomers in medieval India.

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