Jantar Mantar Jaipur

Jantar Mantar Jaipur
India     Rajasthan     Jaipur

The Jantar Mantar is a collection of nineteen architectural astronomical instruments built by the Kachwaha Rajput king Sawai Jai Singh II, the founder of Jaipur, Rajasthan. The monument was completed in 1734. It features the worlds largest stone sundial, and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is located near City Palace and Hawa Mahal. The instruments allow the observation of astronomical positions with the naked eye. The observatory is an example of the Ptolemaic positional astronomy which was shared by many civilizations. The monument features instruments operating in each of the three main classical celestial coordinate systems: the horizon-zenith local system, the equatorial system, and the ecliptic system. The Kapala Yantraprakara is one that works in two systems and allows transformation of the coordinates directly from one system to the other. The monument was damaged in the 19th century. Early restoration work was undertaken under the supervision of Major Arthur Garrett, a keen amateur astronomer, during his appointment as Assistant State Engineer for the Jaipur District. Jai Singh noticed that the Zij, which was used for determining the position of celestial objects, did not match the positions calculated on the table. He constructed five new observatories in different cities in order to create a more accurate Zij. The astronomical tables Jai Singh created, known as the Zij-i Muhammad Shahi, was continuously used in India for a century. However, the table had little significance outside of India also it was used to measure time. When Jai Singh began construction in Jaipur is unknown, but several instruments had been built by 1728, and the construction of the instruments in Jaipur continued until 1738. During 1735, when construction was at its peak, at least 23 Astronomers were employed in Jaipur, and due to the changing political climate, Jaipur replaced Delhi as Jai Singh's main observatory, and remained Jai Singh's central observatory until his death in 1743. The observatory lost support under Isvari Singh (r.1743-1750) because of a succession war between him and his brother. However, Mado Singh (r. 1750-1768), Isvari Singh's successor, supported the observatory, although it did not see the same level of activity as under Jai Singh. Although some restorations were made to the Jantar Mantar under Pratap Singh (r.1778-1803), activity at the observatory died down again. During this time, a temple was constructed, and Pratap Singh turned the site of the observatory into a gun factory. Ram Singh (r. 1835-1880) began the restoration of the Jantar Mantar, and completed restoring it in 1876, and even made some of the instruments more durable by inserting the lead into the lines in the instruments, and restoring some of the plaster instruments with stone instead. However, the observatorya soon became neglected again, and was not restored until 1901 under Madho Singh II (r. 1880-1922).




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