Jantar Mantar, Jaipur

The name is derived from Yantra (“instrument”), and Mantra (“formula”, or in this context “calculation”). Therefore Jantar Mantar means literally ‘calculation instrument’.

Fascination for the unknown elements of Universe enticed the astronomers of India since long. Aryabhata of fifth century is the first of the astronomer of the classical age of Indian mathematics. And in the list of other eminent astronomers of India is Sawai Jai Singh II of Jaipur.

Various sundials.

Jai Singh II, the illustrious ruler studied several books on astronomy with the sole intention of understanding the planetary objects and their movements. He sent scholars to several foreign countries like Greece, Britain, Arabia and Portugal to study the science of astronomy. And with the help of scholars like Pt. Jagannath Samrat and Pt. Keval Ramji, he built not just one but five observatories between 1727 and 1734.

Narivalya Dakshin Gola used to find whether heavenly bodies are in Northern or Southern hemisphere. It can be used to read time also.

The first experimental observatory was built in Delhi and then he built four more in Jaipur, Ujjain, Varanasi and Mathura. Below is ‘Jai Prakash Yantra‘ claimed to have been invented by Sawai Jai Singh II.The hemisphere surfaces are of marble and are scribed with celestial latitude and longitude lines, the location of the shadow of the sun, and thus the celestial coordinates of the sun, can be read from the markings on the hemisphere segments.

The observatory has fourteen statistical instruments for measuring time, predicting eclipses and to ascertain other astronomical events. The Sundial there tells the time to an accuracy of about two seconds in local time of Jaipur and is a major crowd puller.

To see the World visit other participants at: That’s My World Tuesday.

Update: Jantar Mantar was carefully renovated in 1901 and was declared a national monument in 1948. They are all freshly painted and therefore look new. (Answer to Reader Wil’s query.)

(Once you are there, you will find a maze of structures of different shapes and sizes. You will be totally at a loss to understand what each of the structure means. Guides are available, costly affair but worth it.)

No Spooky Experience at Brij Raj Bhavan Palace Kota, Rajasthan!
Elephants of Jaipur

53 Responses to “Jantar Mantar, Jaipur

  • Indrani, I always love your posts and this is surely no exception! Fascinating and intriguing as well as beautiful! I love learning so much about India from the many friends I have made there through blogging. Thank you for sharing and you are certainly one of those wonderful friends!

  • Great post and such beautiful structures. Hard to believe they were used by astronomers. They almost look like contemporary art to me.

  • India is such a mystical magical place replete with amazing architecture and historical tid bits.

    Thanks for continuously sharing.

  • That must be an inspiring place, where astronomical studies were begun so long ago. Great photos of the instruments and nice historical detail.

  • Wonderful buildings! India is so much varied than I thought, but maybe people are thinking the same thing about Niger after discovering My World? Thanks for letting us in, Indrani! I love visiting your blog as I have yet to visit your country, and you’re such a positive and thorough representative of it.


  • I love the geometric shapes.

  • Thanks ma’am, for all that info.

    And very well captured photographs… especially the last capture.

  • I have been thinkuing of getting a sundial for my garden but I would suspect that these would be a little large.LOL. I enjoyed reading this.


  • Wow, amazing pictures and information. This would be another must-see-places in India for me 🙂

  • That’s me too much text on the late evening,
    I just throw it through the translator ;(
    That experimental observatory that was built in Delhi
    that I know, because I have read about it 🙂
    I personally find that very interesting !!
    About the sundials, at my place where I was born
    there was one, a very simple but it worked well ( I think it worked… )
    The Sundial with you tells the time and more things
    thats very special and of course again an attraction for tourists !!
    It seems to me an instructive post, Thank you………

  • Wow, what a fascinating post. Those structures are all amazing. And so is the story they tell thru you. Great captures.

    Thank you for sharing this. I find your country more interesting all the time.

  • Wow those shots are incredible, thanks for sharing.

    Have a great week!
    Regina In Pictures

  • These are so unusual and interesting.

  • Sundials are fascinating. What a cool place. Beautifully presented, as always.

  • The Observatory is a fascinating place with precision instruments on a large scale.
    Your photos show it off to perfection.

  • Indrani: What a neat look at all the fancy structures from your world.

  • Recently Jaipur has moved to the top of the list of the places I want to see in my life. This certainly adds to the reasons for that. Such an interesting post with wonderful photos!

  • Wow very interesting. It is something like the chinese fengshui. Thanks for visiting my blog, have replied your query.

  • I would so love to learn how these sundials work and how to read it. I’m just so amused with it. Your part of the world so beautiful.

  • What great architecture and history.

  • What a majestic place. Must be fascinating to visit.

  • Lovely shots. Thanks for sharing.

  • I have seen the jantar mantar at delhi !!

    this one i missed when i was there in jaipur… but your pics make me want to see it…

    its fully functional rite ? unlike delhi ?

  • Accuracy of 2 seconds – I am proud of Jaipur – also!
    [Aside – which is the timepiece that has most moving parts?
    Answer – (Sand-grain-filled) Hour glass]

  • Your blog makes me realize what an isolated world I keep myself in. Thanks for opening the world up to me!

  • Wow..Always Wanted to go here… for sure sometime

  • Your blog is very interesting, but I’ve said that more than once! I like to read about the history of India. These buildings look rather modern! Were they built at the time the first astrologers lived? Thanks for your visit, have a nice day.

  • These are amazing. The curved one is really neat. Thanks for teaching me about these!

  • Weren’t you in Bangalore sometime back?How do you get to travel so much?

    I have seen Jantar Mantar too, You must be following my footsteps.;-).Your whole blog is with pictures of places where I have lived or visited or have a connection with.:-)!

  • Now that accuracy is amazing..if only I could do that with my kids..LOL!

  • Thanks for giving me (and all the rest MyWorlder) a look at your part of the world.

  • I like the way you pick on unusual subjects for this post..mine are so regular..says a lot about your world 🙂

  • What a fascinating place! I’m awed by the meticulous mathematics and precision building required to make these amazing structures. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  • These things fascinate me! Thank you for sharing and thanks for visiting me! =)

  • Wonderful, like a huge pop-up book…a little sad that they were restored.

  • as always…great post and photographs…always enjoy coming to your blog and learning something new.
    have a good rest of the day.

  • What an amazing looking place this is, very interesting.

  • I always learn so much from your posts. Thanks for making history so interesting and thanks, too, for these wonderful pictures.

  • Great pictures of ancient observatory! Glad to hear that they are repainted and maintained well by goverment.

  • great post with a lot of interesting info!

  • this is a fascinating subject for a post. thanks

  • Ah Dear Indrani,

    Your posts about Jaipur, Amber Fort and Jantar Mantar are so special for me! I was there in February 2008! An unforgettable, beautiful, fantastic trip! I love India and wish to make another visit as soon as possible!

    Have a great day,


  • it is so nice to read about those things we know little off. Thank you for explanning. Very beautiful buldings. Best wishes from jeany

  • I have visited this place twice. After seeing these instruments one feels proud abt our illustrious rulers like Jai Singh.

  • Good pictures and very informative write-up.

  • Very interesting post. I have always wondered what it was about, and now I want to see it! Let us hope I will see it soon. Good blog!

    Destination Infinity

  • Fascinating post. I once lived (many moons ago) fairly close to Jantar Mantar – I wish I knew then what I know now!

  • I head this name, but never know what is there. it was something i learn here about!

  • What an amazing site!

  • it certainly had a make over. i saw the JM many years ago – it was 83 i think…

  • I did not know that there is another Jantar Mantar in India (One is in Delhi). Nice designs.

  • Amazing information and the accuracy of two seconds precision bowled me over. Thanks for the wonderful pictures. Was a treat.

  • awesome shadow shot! I enjoyed all your beautiful photos and informational posts–thanks!

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