Jaipur's Jantar Mantar is an astronomical observatory created between 1724 to 1734 by Sawai Jai Singh. It is included in UNESCO's 'World Heritage List'. There are total 19 instruments in this observatory, which can be used to measure time, to predict eclipses, to know the speed and position of a star, to know the divisions of planets in the solar system. The observation of these instruments shows that the people of India had such a deep knowledge of the complex concepts of mathematics and astrophysics (Concepts).
Jantar Mantar It is famous all over the world to analyze and accurately predict astrological and astronomical phenomena through ancient astronomical instruments and complex mathematical structures. It has been inscribed as cultural property on the UNESCO World Heritage List as "an expression of the astronomical skills and cosmological concepts of the court of a scholarly prince at the end of the Mughal period.
Origin of the name - 'Jantar Mantar' is derived from the Sanskrit word 'Yantra Mantra', which means 'equipment and principle'. 'Yantra Mantra' completely means 'magic tool'.
History - Jantar Mantar was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II. Apart from being the founder of Jaipur, he was a Rajput king of Aamer from 1728 to 1734. Being a respected astronomer, Emperor Mohammed Shah appointed him to confirm the astronomical tables and figures available on planetary positions. It took them seven years to complete Jantar Mantar. In 1901, this famous observatory was declared a national monument in 1948.
Details - The observatory is a collection of 19 geometric devices for measuring time and space for astronomy. The size of these devices is very large. Jantar-Mantar based in Jaipur received World Heritage status in 2010. The main instruments located in the Jantar Mantar are: Vrihat Smarat Yantra, Small samrat yantra, Jaya prakash yantra, Ram yantra, Rama yantra A, Dhruv yantra, Dakshina Yantra, Nadivalaya (equatorial instrument / circular dial), Rasivalaya (zodiacal circle), Chakra yantra, Digamsa (Azimuth), Karnti writta, Krantivrtta, Yantra Raj, Unnatamsa.
Instruments equipped in this observatory, the largest is Samrat yantra, which is used for an air test. The height of the Samrat yantra is 140 ft, at which the celestial poles are pointed at the top end. At the same time, marking points have been made, which still provide accurate information of hours, minutes and quarter minutes
The huge emperor Jantar is a sunglasses which is 90 feet high and its shadow carefully tells the time of day. A small domed umbrella is used to predict an eclipse and the arrival of monsoon.
In today's time, Jantar Mantar's equipment is used for weather forecasting, seasonality, monsoon intensity, and flood or famine prospects. Jantar Mantar, with the testimony of the knowledge of the previous era, also waits for the visit of every salon.
As we told you earlier that there are 19 instruments in Jantar Mantar those are used to measure the position and distances of extraterrestrial bodies. But we are going to tell you about some major instruments; how they are useful and how they function.
1. Vrihat Samrat Yantra
Vrihat Samrat Yantra is a gigantic sundial. It is placed at the centre of the Jantar Mantar observatory. This is 27 m long and renowned as the tallest sundial in the World. It is basically a triangular wall, and the wall is placed in a north-south direction. This wall is divided into the equal distance in equal time for both eastern and western side quadrants. Both the sides are divided into 6 hours each and when sun rays drop on it and the shadow starts moving then with the help of the movement of the shadow this instrument tells the right time accordingly. Each hour is divided in 15 minutes and later in 1-minute parts. The minute part is further divided into ten subdivision and each of subdivision is of 6 seconds. Each 6-second division again has 3 small divisions of 2 second each. This movement is standardized to calculate and interpret the local time.
2. Small samrat yantra
The small samrat yantra is a sundial that tells the time with the accuracy of 20 seconds. The shadow of the triangular wall of the yantra, falling on the eastern & western side quadrants, tells the local time. Jaipur time can be easily calculated from the position of ramp’s shadow on the fine divisions of the carved scale. The western & eastern quadrants are divided into subdivisions, each of 6 hours, for the morning and the afternoon segments respectively. Each hour is divided into 5 minutes and 1 minute divisions, and each 1 minute division is subdivided into 3 divisions each of 20 seconds.This movement is standardized to calculate and interpret the local time.
Unnatamsa is another instrument that is placed in the observatory. It is used to calculate the altitude of the angular height of an object in the sky.
4. Rasivalaya (zodiacal circle)
Rasivalaya is the tool to measure the longitude of celestial latitudes and celestial bodies. There are twelve devices that represent twelve signs of the zodiac, one for each measurement is done when the corresponding sign to the zodiac is transferred to the meridian.
5. Jaya prakash yantra
This is another major attraction in Jantar Mantar. This yantra consists of two hemispherical bowls like sundials with graded marble slabs. The vapor image of the sky falls on the slabs and then the movement of the inverted shadow tells the Azimuth, the hour angle, and the position of heavenly bodies.
6. Nadivalaya (equatorial instrument / circular dial)
Nadivalaya is another instrument that consists of 2 circular plates that are facing north and south direction which are its dials. The wall of the plates is inclined at such a gradient, so the instrument remains parallel to Earth’s equatorial plane.
7. Chakra yantra
The chakra yantra is a ring instrument which calculates the global co-ordinates and the hour angle of the sun. It also tells the angle with the help of the shadow. It consists of four semi-circular arcs on which the gnomon throws a shadow, therefore dedicates the Sun's announcement four times a day.
8. Digamsa (Azimuth)
The digamsa is a pillar that has a simple method of determining the sunrise and sunset timings in a day. One must mot miss this instrument.
9. Ram Yantra
It is basically a pair of tube-shaped structures, open to the sky. Each structure has a pole at the center. Each of the poles is of the same height. Scales indicating angles of altitude and azimuth of extra-terrestrial bodies are inscribed inside the walls of these structures.
10. Rama yantra A
This gives the altitude and azimuth of the sun and of the heavenly bodies.
11. Kranti writta
Kranti writta is another instrument that is used to calculate declination and distance from the ecliptic and equinox of the sun and stars.
The Krantivrtta is an instrument that is meant to measure the celestial latitude and celestial longitude of an object in the sky. It is also used for measuring solar sign of the sun in daytime.
13. Yantra Raj
The yantra raj is an adaptation of an astrolabe a medieval instrument for the measurement of time and the positions of celestial objects.
Jantar Mantar Entry and Timings
You can purchase tickets to the Jantar Mantar either at the entrance or online. There is also a light and sound show and for which one can buy a ticket at that moment when they visit the place.
As one can not understand the tools and devices because they are full of science and history so a guide is a must when you visit this place. There are audio guides also available which explains the significance of each structure and gives a background about astronomy.
Best Time to Visit the Jantar Mantar, Jaipur
The best time to visiting Jantar Mantar is mid-day because at that time the sun will be at its peak so you will be able to understand how the readings are taken for each instrument.
How to Reach Jantar Mantar
This astronomical observatory is located at the heart of the city and is walking distance from the city palace.