Places To See - Jantar Mantar


Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh of Jaipur built five such buildings across India. The largest and most spectacular one is located in Jaipur. The next best is in New Delhi. This awesome observatory is only a couple of minutes’ walk from Connaught Place. Being an astronomer and a scientist, he built sun dials, clocks, and astronomical instruments and travelled widely.

Singh was not satisfied with the astronomical instruments of his time, and set forth to improve upon them. Besides astronomical calculations, this observatory can tell you the accurate time of the day based on the movements of the sun, the day of the week, zodiac signs and horoscopes, and many such astronomical details.
The most astonishing structure in the Jantar Mantar is the Samrat Yantra. It is a huge sundial, off whose several curved quadrants time of the day can be read. There is a large triangular centerpiece called the gnomon. Walk up the steps of the gnomon and you can find out the height of the sun in the sky according to the shadow it casts on the various quadrants.

But the most impressive is the Jai Prakash: two almost identical hemispheres that have wide dissections. One structure is the reverse of the other, i.e. they would fit into each other if put face to face. There are wires connecting each wide section. This instrument can determine all the zodiac signs.