Have you ever wondered how people in ancient times measured time, calculated the positions of the planets, predicted eclipses, and observed the movements of the stars? If you are fascinated by astronomy and history, then you should definitely visit Jantar Mantar Delhi, one of the largest and oldest observatories in India.
Jantar Mantar Delhi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that showcases the remarkable scientific achievements of ancient India in the field of astronomy. In this article, we will explore the history, significance, architecture, and instruments of Jantar Mantar Delhi. We will also provide you with some practical details such as timings, entry fee, location, and how to reach.
We will also give you some tips and suggestions on how to make the most of your visit to Jantar Mantar Delhi and what other attractions are nearby.
What is Jantar Mantar Delhi?
Jantar Mantar Delhi is an astronomical observatory built by Maharaja Jai Singh II of Jaipur in the 18th century. The name Jantar Mantar means “instrument for calculation” in Hindi. Jantar Mantar Delhi is one of the five observatories built by Maharaja Jai Singh II in India. The other four are located in Jaipur, Ujjain, Varanasi, and Mathura. Jantar Mantar Delhi was built between 1724 and 1730 as a part of Maharaja Jai Singh II’s quest to reform the calendar and astronomical tables. He was also interested in studying the celestial phenomena and improving his knowledge of astronomy.
Jantar Mantar Delhi consists of 13 structures that are designed to measure time, determine the positions of the sun, moon, and planets, predict eclipses, and observe the equinoxes and solstices. These structures are made of brick, plaster, and stone and are painted in red and yellow. They have different shapes and sizes, ranging from a giant sundial that is 27 meters high to a hemispherical instrument that is 4 meters in diameter. Each structure has a specific name, meaning, and function. Some of the structures are unique to Jantar Mantar Delhi and are not found in any other observatory.
What are the structures inside Jantar Mantar Delhi?
The structures inside Jantar Mantar Delhi are:
This is the largest structure in Jantar Mantar Delhi and is also known as the “King of Instruments”. It is a giant sundial that measures time based on the position of the sun. It has a triangular gnomon that is 27 meters high and two quadrants that are 15 meters long each. The gnomon casts a shadow on the quadrants that indicates the time of the day with an accuracy of two seconds. The Samrat Yantra can also measure the declination of the sun, which is the angle between the sun and the equator.
Jai Prakash Yantra:
This is a hemispherical instrument that measures the coordinates of celestial bodies. It has two concave bowls that are 4 meters in diameter each. The bowls have markings that represent the celestial coordinates such as latitude, longitude, altitude, and azimuth. A metal rod is suspended from a pole at the center of each bowl. The rod points to a celestial body and its shadow falls on the bowl. By reading the markings on the bowl, one can determine the coordinates of the celestial body.
This is a cylindrical instrument that measures the altitude and azimuth of celestial bodies. It consists of two circular walls that are 5 meters high and 11 meters in diameter each. The walls have openings at different heights that allow the observation of celestial bodies. A metal ring is attached to a pole at the center of each wall. The ring points to a celestial body and its shadow falls on the wall. By reading the markings on the wall, one can measure the altitude and azimuth of the celestial body.
This is a composite instrument that consists of five smaller instruments. It was added by Maharaja Madho Singh II of Jaipur in 1850. The five instruments are:
Dakshinottara Bhitti Yantra: This is a wall instrument that measures the meridian altitude of celestial bodies.
Niyat Chakra: This is a circular instrument that measures whether a celestial body is in the northern or southern hemisphere.
Krantivritta Yantra: This is a circular instrument that measures whether a celestial body is in ascension or declination.
Raj Yantra: This is an instrument that measures local time.
Shastansh Yantra: This is an instrument that measures one-sixtieth part (one degree) of an arc.
There are eight other structures in Jantar Mantar Delhi that have different functions and names. They are:
Narivalaya Yantra: This is an instrument that measures the local time in different seasons.
Rashivalaya Yantra: This is an instrument that measures the zodiac signs of celestial bodies.
Digyansa Yantra: This is an instrument that measures the azimuth of celestial bodies.
Chakra Yantra: This is an instrument that measures the declination of celestial bodies.
Kapali Yantra: This is an instrument that measures the coordinates of celestial bodies in a stereographic projection.
Laghu Samrat Yantra: This is a smaller version of the Samrat Yantra that measures time with less accuracy.
Unnatasha Yantra: This is an instrument that measures the meridian altitude of celestial bodies at different latitudes.
Dhruva Darshak Pattika: This is an instrument that locates the pole star.
What is the history of Jantar Mantar Delhi?
Jantar Mantar Delhi was built by Maharaja Jai Singh II of Jaipur, who was a great patron of astronomy and mathematics. He was also a ruler of a large kingdom that spanned across Rajasthan, Gujarat, and parts of Madhya Pradesh. He was appointed by Emperor Muhammad Shah of the Mughal Empire to reform the calendar and astronomical tables. He was also interested in studying the celestial phenomena and improving his knowledge of astronomy.
Maharaja Jai Singh II was inspired by the Ptolemaic astronomy and Islamic astronomy. He studied various texts and instruments from different cultures and regions. He also consulted with scholars and experts from India and abroad. He decided to build five observatories in India, one in each of his capitals: Delhi, Jaipur, Ujjain, Varanasi, and Mathura. He chose these locations because they were situated along the same meridian and had different latitudes. He also wanted to compare his observations with those made by other astronomers around the world.
Jantar Mantar Delhi was the first observatory to be built by Maharaja Jai Singh II. He started its construction in 1724 and completed it in 1730. He used his own funds and resources to build it. He also employed skilled artisans, masons, carpenters, and painters to construct it. He supervised the design, layout, alignment, and calibration of the structures. He also personally tested and verified the accuracy and precision of the instruments.
Jantar Mantar Delhi was used by Maharaja Jai Singh II and his successors for astronomical observations and calculations. They recorded their findings and published them in various journals and books. They also shared their data and discoveries with other astronomers around the world. Jantar Mantar Delhi was a center of scientific learning and exchange for many years.
However, Jantar Mantar Delhi gradually fell into disuse and decay after the decline of the Mughal Empire and the rise of British rule in India. It was neglected and vandalized by people and nature. It was also encroached upon by buildings and roads. It lost its original function and glory.
Jantar Mantar Delhi was restored by British and Indian authorities in the 19th and 20th centuries. It was declared a national monument in 1948 by the Government of India. It was also inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010 as part of the group “Jantar Mantar”. It is now maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) as a museum and a tourist attraction.
What are some tips for visiting Jantar Mantar Delhi?
If you are planning to visit Jantar Mantar Delhi, here are some tips and suggestions for you:
1. The best time to visit Jantar Mantar Delhi is between November and February, when the weather is pleasant and clear. You can avoid the scorching heat, humidity, dust, and pollution of summer and monsoon seasons.
2. The time required to visit Jantar Mantar Delhi is around 2 hours. You can explore the structures at your own pace and learn about their functions and features. You can also take pictures and videos of the instruments.
3. The entry fee for Jantar Mantar Delhi is INR 15 for Indians and INR 200 for foreigners. The entry fee for children below 15 years is free. The entry fee for video filming is INR 25.
4. The timings for Jantar Mantar Delhi are from 6 am to 6 pm every day except on national holidays.
5. The restricted items for Jantar Mantar Delhi are weapons, explosives, flammable materials, alcohol, drugs, pets, bicycles, skateboards, rollerblades, drones, large backpacks, tripods etc. You can deposit these items at the locker facility near the entrance gate.
6. The nearby attractions for Jantar Mantar Delhi are Red Fort, India Gate, Jama Masjid, Humayun’s Tomb, Qutub Minar, Lotus Temple, National Museum etc. You can easily reach these places by metro, bus, taxi, or auto-rickshaw.
Also check out: Jantar Mantar - Reliving the pride of ancient Science in India
Jantar Mantar Delhi is a must-visit place for anyone who is interested in astronomy and history. It is a unique and impressive example of the scientific and cultural heritage of India. It is also a place where you can learn, explore, and have fun.
Jantar Mantar Delhi will take you on a journey into the stars and make you marvel at the wonders of the universe. So, what are you waiting for? Book your tickets now and visit Jantar Mantar Delhi today!