Day By Day

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Adventures in India, Part 12 -- Jantar Mantar

A short walk through the streets of Jaipur took us to Jantar Mantar, a remarkable collection of astronomical instruments constructed on an architectural scale. This is one of five such collections in India and is the largest. It was constructed by Rajah Jai Singh II during the first half of the eighteenth century [at the same time as Europe's "enlightenment"] and illustrates the fact that an interest in the scientific investigation of the physical world was not confined to the West.

There are fourteen major structures designed to measure time, predict eclipses, track stars, measure declinations of planets, and such basic astronomical data. 

This is the samrat yantra [the "supreme instrument"]. It is the largest sundial in the world and is accurate to within two seconds.

Other instruments.

Walking through the observatory is like threading a maze.

Once we left the observatory we were again plunged into the colorful chaos of Indian street lite. Here some snake charmers perform for the crowds.

More decorated elephants.

We then proceeded to a local carpet factory for yet another shopping opporunity.

The as the sun set we went back to our hotel, the Jai Mahal, where we found a wedding in progress. I stopped to snap a few pictures from a distance, and then it was off to bed.

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