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Jantar Mantar Observatory
Jaipur and surrounding
Architecture,  Unusual places,  Museums, Galleries, Exhibitions
Unusual places, 
Museums, Galleries, Exhibitions

Likely, the magic lamp of Aladdin never existed, and genies are just fairy tale characters. But the same can’t be said of great astrologers that can be found not only in oriental tales but in the actual history of India, and the ancient observatory in Jaipur is direct proof.

The largest observatory in India covers an area of 2 hectares. It was built in 1727 by the founder of Jaipur, Maharaja Jai Singh II. This observatory was preserved to this day better than the four others built by him. Its construction continued for seven years and was completed in 1734. All nineteen architectural instruments stun with their sizes and allow even those visitors that have little to do with astronomy to see and to appreciate the astronomical measurements.

23 royal astronomers, invited by Jai Singh II from all corners of India worked in the ancient observatory the name of which translates from Hindi as the «calculating instrument». After the death of the great Maharaja, the observatory went obsolete. His sons started a fight over the throne and only after his second son, Madho Singh, came to power in the city, the instruments were given a second chance, though to a lesser extent than during the reign of his father. The next Maharaja was not interested in Astronomy, so he ordered to build a temple and a cannon factory there. It was several generations of Maharajas before restoration works started in the observatory. It happened in 1876 during the reign of Ram Singh II who not only restored the work of his predecessors but made his contribution by replacing many plaster structures with stone ones. Thanks to him, all these instruments of the past still exist in the present.

With the help of the gigantic tools, one can predict the time of solar and moon eclipses, the distance to stars and planets, maintain a calendar, and even predict the weather or fortunate days for weddings. Besides, there is the world’s largest sundial. It measures 27 meters in diameter. Even today, it shows the exact time accurate to one second.

Address: Gangori Bazaar, J.D.A. Market, Pink City

Published by

Diane Mikheeva

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