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    Built by the Rajput king Sawai Jai Singh II in 1734, Jantar Mantar, Jaipur is an astronomical observatory, which features the world’s largest stone sundial. India has five of them, and the largest one is in Jaipur. This Jantar Mantar observatory is also a UNESCO World Heritage site that every tourist must add to their itinerary. Here’s all that you’ll ever need to know about the observatory before visiting it.

    Jantar Mantar, Jaipur History

    the premises of Jantar mantar

    Jantar Mantar in Jaipur is a fascinating astronomical observatory, located at the heart of the city. This is one of the largest observatories in the World, comprising of interesting stone structures that help to interpret position of celestial bodies and calculate local time. Enumerated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Jantar Mantar in Jaipur attracts architects, mathematicians, geographers and historians.

    History of Jantar Mantar, Jaipur

    the beautiful jantar mantar

    Jantar Mantar, Jaipur was constructed by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, and he built 5 such observatories in different parts of the country: Jaipur, Mathura, Delhi, Ujjain and Varanasi. The one in Jaipur is the largest of all, whereas the one in Mathura is almost in ruins, now.
    Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II is the founder of Jaipur city and a potential ruler of Amber region. Along with his political expertise, he was also a scholar in physics, mathematics and astronomy. During his reign, he was commissioned by Emperor Muhammad Shah to rectify astronomical calculations in Islamic zij tables. To accomplish this task, he gathered astronomical data from European and Persian nations and studied and interpreted the same.

    After extensive research and studying the gathered data, Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II constructed stone made instruments to determine the position of planetary bodies and measure time. Jaipur Jantar Mantar was built between 1728-1734 and its stone instruments are considered to be more accurate than others.

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    When to visit Jantar Mantar, Jaipur

    jantar mantar during sunset

    Best time to visit Jantar Mantar: The best time of the day to visit Jantar Mantar in Jaipur is noon. During mid-day, the Sun is vertically above and it is easy to understand the process of interpretation of the readings of each instrument.

    Jantar Mantar Jaipur timings and entry charges: Jantar Mantar in Jaipur remains open from 9:00 Am to 4: 30 Pm, on all seven days of the week. Generally, one can see the whole of Jantar Mantar in 30 to 45 minutes of time.

    Jantar Mantar, jaipur entry fee is INR 50/person for Indians and INR 200/per person for foreigners. The entry cost for Indian students is INR 15/person and that of International students is INR 25/person. Students get this discount on showing valid ID proof.

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    Major attractions within Jantar Mantar

    The Jantar Mantar observatory in Jaipur comprises of 19 instruments to measure the position and distances of extra terrestrial bodies. These instruments are basically stone structures, depicting interesting geometric shapes. It is advisable to take a local guide or an audio guide for clear understanding of the instruments and how they work.

    1. Vrihat Smarat Yantra: The Huge Sundial

    a big sun dial in jantar mantar

    Vrihat Smarat Yantra is a gigantic sun dial, placed at the centre of Jantar Mantar observatory. This is 27 m long and renowned as the tallest sundial in the World. The Samrat Yantra, translating to ‘supreme instrument’ is an equinoctial sundial and measures time up to the precision of two seconds.

    The shadow of the triangular wall of the yantra, which is positioned in the north-south direction with an angle identical to the latitude of this location, travels equal distances in equal intervals of time, on the eastern and western quadrants. This movement is standardized to calculate and interpret the local time.


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    2. Laghu Smarat Yantra

    a staircase in jantar mantar

    Popular as small Smarat Yantra, it is smaller in size and calculates time up to the accuracy of twenty seconds. The ramp of this sundial points towards the North Pole, hence Jaipur time can be easily calculated from the position of ramp’s shadow on the fine divisions of the carved scale.

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    3. Ram Yantra

    a beam structure in jantar mantar

    Ram Yantra measures elevation and azimuth of Sun and planets. The instrument comprises of a pair of tube-shaped structures, open to the sky. Each structure has a pole of equal height at the centre. Scales indicating angles of altitude and azimuth of extra-terrestrial bodies are inscribed inside the walls of these structures. Ram Yantra is only seen in Jantar Mantar of Jaipur and New Delhi.

    4. Jaya Prakash Yantra

    a bowl like structure in jantar mantar

    This is another major attraction in Jantar Mantar of Jaipur. This yantra consists of two hemispherical bowl like sundials with graded marbel slabs. The inverted image of the sky falls on the slabs and the movement of the inverted shadows help to detect the elevation, azimuth, hour angles and exact position of heavenly bodies.

    5. Chakra Yantra

    two circles look like clocks in jantar mantar

    Image Source

    The chakra yantra, Jantar Mantar, Jaipur is a ring instrument which calculates the co-ordinates and the hour angle of Sun. It consists of four semi-circular arcs, on which the gnomon throws a shadow, hence deducing the declination of the Sun on four times in a day.

    6. Digamsa

    a beautiful staircase structure in jantar mantar

    Another must see instrument of Jantar Mantar is Digamsa. It is a pillar in the middle of two concentric outer circles, which helps to predict the sunrise and sunset timings in a day.

    7. Nadivalaya

    a huge sun dial in the premises of jantar mantar

    With a pair of circular plates, facing north and south, Nadivalaya represent the two hemispheres of Earth. The wall of the plates is inclined at such a gradient, that the instrument is always parallel to Earth’s equatorial plane.

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    8. Karnti Vritya

    a structure called Karnti Vritya

    Image Source

    Jantar Mantar excursion in Jaipur is not complete, if you skip Karnti Vritya. This is a special instrument, used to measure the solar sign of the Sun in daytime.

    Places to visit around Jantar Mantar, Jaipur

    1. City Palace

    the gorgeous city palace in jaipur

    Endowed with beautiful Rajasthani and Mughal architectural designs, the City Palace in Jaipur is at a stone throw distance from Jantar Mantar. The courtyard, museum, art galleries and well-decorated garden attract visitors here.

    2. Hawa Mahal

    the gorgeous and red hawa mahal

    Hawa Mahal is located at a distance of 700 m from Jantar Mantar and can be reached in 3 mins in car. Hawa Mahal, also known as ‘Palace of Wind’ offers amazing view of the city from higher floors. The sight of Jantar Mantar from the top floor of this palace will surely leave you awestruck.

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    3. Tripolia Gate

    Tripolia Gate in jaipur

    Built in 1734, Tripolia Gate marks the entry to the ‘pink city’. Designed in European, Mughal and Rajput themes, this grand entrance was also the entry gate to the city palace in earlier days.

    4. Goverdhan Temple

    the premises of Goverdhan temple in jaipur

    Located in the Hawa Mahal complex, this age-old temple dates back to 1790. Built by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, this temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna and Radha. The structure of the temple resembles a haveli.

    If you have not visited Jantar Mantar yet, surely include this in your next Rajasthan tour package and have an incredible vacation.

    Further Read: 40 Places To Visit In India Before You Turn 30


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