Located in the heart of Jaipur, the pink city of India, Jantar Mantar was built by Maharaja Jai Singh II and completed on 1734. Jantar derives from Yantra which means instrument while Mantra means calculation.
Etymologically, Jantar Mantar means instrument for calculations.
Source: The Washington Post
However, there is more astronomical and astrological significance to it. Jantar Mantar monument is equipped with architectural instruments for measuring astronomical observations and to calculate exact time hence making it more accurate than any other observatory out there!
Maharaja Jai SIngh II was very fond of maths, architecture and a savant astronomer. He built five observatories in New Delhi, Mathura, Jaipur, Ujjain and Varanasi. Jaipur has the largest observatory which also has the world’s largest sundial, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Jantar Mantar is a collection of 19 astronomical instruments, where each instrument deduces certain astronomical implication. Each instrument is made of marbles, stones and brass.
Fig: Narivalaya Yantra
Other than records of astrology stored in the enormous reserves of the pristine Vedic books, Jantar Mantar is an existing proof of 4000 years old science of Vedic Astrology.
For people fascinated with the zodiac signs, there is an arcane astronomical instrument installed in Jantar Mantar known as Rashivalya Yantra. It is a collection of 12 instruments depicting the zodiac signs at different places indicating each one’s unique traits. Each zodiac instrument is determined by their celestial latitude and longitude.
Fig: 12 Actual Zodiac Signs in Jantar Mantar
Fig: Rashivalya Yantra
The largest instrument in Jantar Mantar is Vrihat Samrat Yantra, also the world’s largest sundial. The height of Samrat Yantra is 27 meters and the base length is 45 meters. As in the past, it was not possible to find exact time thus, the only way to get exact time was to increase the dimension of the scale, which led to the cosmic size of Samrat Yantra. It can give Jaipur’s local time to an accuracy of 2 seconds.
Fig: Vrihat Samrat Yantra
There is mini version of Vrihat Samrat Yantra known as Laghu Samrat Yantra. The upper edge of the yantra makes an angle of 27 degrees with the horizontal wall which denotes the latitude of Jaipur. The scales are made of marble. It can give Jaipur’s local time to an accuracy of 20 seconds.
Fig: Calculation of time with Laghu Samrat Yantra
The amazing thing about this medieval marvel is the integration of astronomy and astrology. Till date no one can refute the preciseness of these instruments!
One must visit Jantar Mantar to explore how people used to calculate time when there were neither wristwatch nor home clock. Jantar Mantar is a must visit for the amateurs and aficionado of astronomy. It is definitely a place to explore!
Cheers, Askmonk – Astrology on the go!