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Jantar Mantar – Instruments for Time Calculation

Jantar Mantar is one of the most famous constructions from the Mughal Period. It is one of the five observatories that were built between the years 1724 to 1730 by Maharaja Jai Singh II of Jaipur. This observatory consists of stonework made of astronomical instruments. It lies on the Parliament Road, South of Connaught Circus in New Delhi. Maharaja Jai Singh II has keen interest in the astronomical observation and thus studied all the systems, from west to east before he started the construction of this Observatory. He first built metal instruments, some of which you can see in Jaipur but later he discarded them.

This was a task given to him by the Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah of revising the astronomical tables and the calendars. The principal reason for the observatory was to accumulate the astronomical tables, to be able to predict the time and movements of the sun, moon and the planets. Today, this is popularly known as astronomy. He built five such Jantar Mantar in India – Delhi, Jaipur, Mathura, Ujjain, and Varanasi. There are three separate instruments inside the observatory of Jantar Mantar in New Delhi; Samrat Yantra, Jai Prakash and Mishra Yantra.

The Samrat Yantra is a huge sun dial that measures the accurate time of the day within every half second. A bringht yellow structure on the right stands 70 feet high, 114 feet long and 10 feet thick.

JaiPrakash is the instrument was made by Maharaja Jai Singh II. It has hallowed out hemispheres with some markings made on their concave surfaces which ascertain the position of the sun and other heavenly bodies that existed. 

Mishra Yantra, the only instrument that was not invented by Maharaja Jai Singh II. The two pillars that are constructed on the southwest of the Mishra Yantra actually determine the longest and shortest days of the year. It is an interesting spot that tell you how in the ancient times our ancestors knew everything what we call technology today.


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