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JANTAR MANTAR

Location : Jaipur, Rajasthan
Famous As : Astronomical Observatory
Built In : 1716 AD
Built By : Sawai Jai Singh II

A stone observatory, part of the City Palace complex, Jantar Mantar is one of the several other astronomical observatories created by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II. Other observatories are situated in Delhi, Banaras an Ujjain. These concrete masonary instruments were used to measure everything from altitude to time, an map the movement of the planets and the stars. Jai Singh II had a passion for astronomy and used astronomical inventions from different cultures in the creation of these observatories, the largest of which is situated in Jaipur.

The Jantar Mantar was built in 1716 AD and contains 15 astronomical instrument complexes, one remains unfinished, of which 6 function with Solar lith and 11 by Lunar and Stellar reflection. These monumental instruments give a precise measure of time, of the declination of the Sun, the Azimuth, of the placement of constallations in daylight of eclipses and of another astronomical phenomena. The observatory, open to the sky is a scientific marvel and guarantees to elicit a sense of awe, even from the profane.

Sawai Jai Singh - Newton Of The East

Sawai Jai Singh, the statesman astronomer of India, was born to a royal family on November 3, 1688 in the town of Amber in the state of Rajasthan. One of Jai Singh's ancestors, Bharamala or Biharimala, recognised the ascendency of Mughal power and accepted the suzerainty of the emperor Akbar in 1562. This made the house of Amber the most influential of all the Rajput houses serving the Mughals. Bharamala's descendents, Man Singh and Mirza Raja Jai Singh, great grand father of Sawai Jai Singh, were highly regarded nobles at the Mughal court and were entrusted with important missions.

Jai Singh displayed interest in mathematics at an early age. He had two manuscripts on astronomy copied for him when he was only thirteen. However, his formal education was cut short at the age of eleven when his father died, and he had to take charge of the administration. He ascended the throne of Amber on January 25, 1700. However, he continued his studies along with the discharge of his princely duties and soon acquired mastery over the subjects of astronomy and mathematics.

During the next ten of fifteen years of troubled and uncertain times in the history of India and Delhi, Jai Singh by clever politics became the largest single land owner amongst the kings of Rajasthan. It is said that at the peak of his time, he owned all the land between Delhi and the shores of Gujarat at Surat.

With great wealth and resources available to him as a powerful ruler, Jai Singh embarked upon an ambitious program of reviving astronomy in India. To this effect, he designed instruments, built observatories, compiled an excellent library, assembled competent astronomers of different scientific backgrounds, and sent a fact-finding scientific mission to Europe. His scientific career lasted more than 20 years until his death in 1743 at the age 54.

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