Thursday, December 11, 2008



The Jantar-- Mantar is a collection of architectural astronomical instruments, built by Maharaja Jai Singh II
at his then new capital of Jaipur between 1727 and 1734.
It is modelled after the one that he had built for him at the Mughal capital of Delhi.
He had constructed a total of five such labs at different locations,
including the ones at Delhi and Jaipur.
The Jaipur (JANTAR--MANTAR) is the largest one of these.



The name is derived from yantra(instrument), and mantra(for formula or in this context calculation).
Therefore JANTAR MANTAR means literally "..CALCULATION INSTRUMENT..". In local Rajasthani dialects,
it is often seen that 'YA' Syllables are casually pronounced as 'JA'.
For instance, 'YATRA' (journey) will often be referred to as 'JATRA'.
Moreover, the way locals interpret the name is not as it's literal meaning,
it is suspected that by 'jantar-mantar' they mean '..MAGICAL WORDS..', 'abracadabra' or 'tantric incantations'.

While this observatory has religious imporatance,
since ancient Indian Astronomers were also the Jyotisa masters, it seems wrong to interpret the name as (Yantra Mandir),
which would mean 'TEMPLE OF INSTRUMENTS'.



The JANTAR MANTAR consists of 14 major geometric devices for MEASURING TIME, PREDICTING ECLIPSES, TRACKING STARS in their orbits.
RELATED EPHEMERIDES. Each is a fixed and 'FOCUSED' INSTRUMENT. The SAMRAT JANTAR, the largest instrument, is 90 feet (27 m) high,
its shadow carefully plotted to tell the time of day.
Its face is angled at 27 degrees, the latitude of Jaipur. The Hindu chhatri (small domed cupola) on top is used as a platform
for announcing eclipses and the arrival of MONSOONS(CHANGING OF WEATHERS).
Built of local stone and marble, each instrument carries an astronomical scale, generally marked on the marble inner lining;
bronze tablets, all extraordinarily accurate, were also employed.
Thoroughly restored in 1901, the JANTAR MANTAR was declared a NATIONAL MONUMENT in 1948.
An excursion through Jai Singh's Jantar is the singular one of walking through solid geometry and encountering a collective astronomical system
designed to probe even the HEAVENS.
The instruments are in most cases huge structures. They are built on a large scale so that accuracy of readings can be obtained.
The samrat yantra, for instance, which is a SUNDIAL, can be used to tell the time to an accuracy of about two seconds in Jaipur local time.
The GIANT SUNDIAL, known as the SAMRAT YANTRA (The Supreme Instrument) is the world's largest sundial, standing 27 meters tall.
Its shadow moves visibly at 1 mm/second, or roughly a hand's breadth (6 cm) every minute, which for most people is a visibly profound experience...
Today the observatory is seen mainly as a tourist attraction. However, local astronomers still use it to predict the weather for farmers,
although their authority is becoming increasingly questionable.
Students of astronomy and vedic astrology are required to do some of their lessons at the observatory, & it can be
said that the observatory is the single most representative work of Vedic thought that still survives,
apart from the texts. Many of the smaller instruments display remarkable innovation in architectural design and it's relation to function, for instance -(THE RAM YANTRA)...