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Jantar Mantar: A tale of magic and science

Rajasthan dwells in the desert, lakes and oasis and royal experience. As a traveler, one definitely sets out on a journey to explore the romance amidst valour history and some breath taking heritage. After hovering inside the magnificent Hawa Mahal, I relived the history with its chief architect Ustad Lal Chand’s vision.The moustache twirling, Jodhpuri suit clad guard reminded to visit Jantar Mantar established by Sawai Jai Singh. Local folklore goes that

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 Jai Singh wanted to build a Jantar Mantar that would dwarf all the others of his time. And, he built his instruments with stone, adding to their exclusive grandeur.

The Jantar Mantar is derived from two words – Mantra means instruments Jantar means magical. Perhaps the sophisticated science and accuracy appeared to the local folk like magic. But these instruments are far from magic – they are the result of keen observation and measurements. Even today, these instruments are considered to be the most precise astronomical instruments of its time awarding them the UNESCO World Heritage Site tag. If you are coming to India, Do download this amazing audio tour india app.

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The largest sundial in the world lies within the Jantar Mantar and it is a site to behold.

 

Sawai Jai Singh was a keen astronomer himself and he wanted the science of astronomy to prosper all over India. He built similar observatories in Delhi, Ujjain, Varanasi and Mathura. But the grandest, most sophisticated of his experiments lie here in Jaipur.

To my layman’s sensibilities, these futuristic instruments have a surreal, abstract beauty. But their true brilliance lies in their function. As I followed my audio guide app, I felt like I was heading into some lunar landscape. Huge mysterious astronomical instruments still have mathematical precision in charting and mapping out the movements of the sun, moon and the stars. Samrat Yantra is the enormous sundial that towers over the observatory. The architect’s stability for the instrument is assured by the arches cut in the 90 feet high gnomon wall, which allow the wind to pass through them.

 

I realized that every year on Guru Purnima in the month of Jun-July, local astrologers climb the central stairs and fly a white flag from the top of the gnomon. On the basis of the direction of the flag, outcome of the monsoon are predicted. Jaipur’s very own weathermen claim great accuracy.

 

Dhruva Yantra is something like a brass instrument for finding the position of the Pole Star at night. It also shows the position of the twelve zodiac signs. There was a sudden realization of witnessing the entire galaxy from one spot is a humbling and exciting feeling.

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As my time inside the Jantar Mantar was about to wrap up, I couldn’t have been more impressed with farsightedness of Sawai Jai Singh who saw beyond his time. Rajasthan as of now was a land of valour and sand dunes, post Jantar Mantar trip, it emerged out as the land ahead of its time. With science seeped into architecture, Jantar Mantar lived upto literal meaning magical instruments. If you are looking for a free audio mobile application dont forget to download TripMyWays.

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Each TripMyWay Tale takes you to a different part and aspect of India. We have brought locals, artists and historians come together to provide the ultimate immersive experience and an insider access to India's best kept secrets.

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