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Jantar Mantar, Delhi

 

It is the brain-child of Maharaj Sawai Jai Singh II of Jaipur. Built in 1719 on Parliament St near Connaught Place, this manmandir or astronomical observatory ranks second only to the one in Jaipur. Solar and lunar movements and the movements of other stars and planets can be observed from here. It is also a repository of time-measuring instruments. There are also Jantar Mantars at Ujjain, Varanasi and Mathura. It is open from sunrise to 22-00. Nearby is the Hanuman Temple.

About Jantar Mantar
Largest of the five remarkable observatories made by Jai Singh in five different cities, this is the best-preserved one. It shows the Maharaja's passion for astronomy. Translated into 'Instruments of Measuring the Harmony of the Heavens', Jantar Mantar was built between 1728 and 1734. It is a grand celebration of astronomical science. It appears to be a collection of sculptures with each sculpture serving a specific purpose of measuring attitudes, azimuths, calculating eclipses or counting of stars. This is the only observatory out of five built in running condition. Situated within the City Palace Complex, it is cut off from the main buildings.

The samrat yantra consists of a massive triangle with a curved structure on both sides. The jaiprakash yantra is a two hemispherical bowl structure representing the celestial spheres and the use of a vertical rod in the center, giving different positions of celestial bodies during the day and night. The ram yantra is in the form of a high cylinder. It is surrounded by circular walls and the shadow of the sun on the vertical and horizontal marble gradations via the cylinder, indicates the altitude and the azimuth or declination of celestial bodies. The composite instrument is heart shaped and includes a sundial and a massive hemisphere on the northern wall. Sawai Jai Singh's attempt to introduce a renaissance in astronomy through Jantar Mantar never took off due to chaos in the country. The first Indian Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru said that so accurate was his work that Jai Singh would have been remarkable anywhere. Thoroughly restored in 1901, the Jantar Mantar was declared a national monument in 1948.
 

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