Time Required: 1-2 hours
Open Time: 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM on all days
Cost: Indian citizens- INR 40 per head (above 15 years of age)
Foreign citizens- INR 200 per head
Camera- INR 50
Audio Guide- INR 150
The architectural marvel Jantar Mantar (also called the Vedh Shala Observatory), established in the 17th century is the oldest to be constructed among the group of five observatories ( Jaipur, Delhi, Ujjain, Mathura, and Varanasi). Maharaja Jai Singh took onto its construction in 1719 to help the Hindu scholars and astrologers with their research and studies. Jantar Mantar, an outcome of great diligence has not only served as the research station to astronomers in the old times but also continues to serve its astronomical as well as tourism purpose even today. Visiting the place would make you learn about the ways by which time, revolutions, and position of celestial bodies were calculated in the bygone age. Everything you see would surely make you think about the richness of king's intelligence. Furthermore, the place is a paradise for stargazers.
Built by Sawai Raja Jai Singh between 1725 and 1730 AD, Jantar Mantar in Ujjain is an important structure for historical as well as astronomical research even today. Ujjain since the old times has been the research centre for Hindu astrologers and scholars. Developing of Jantar Mantar was one among the many milestones achieved in the 18th century. The name Jantar Mantar comes from a Sanskrit words 'Yantra' and 'Mantra' meaning the magical instrument. The architectural masterpiece enjoys a great significance in the field of astronomy. According to some Indian astronomers, the Tropic of Cancer is supposed to pass through Ujjain, which makes Jantar Mantar a more important observatory for Hindu geographers as well. Furthermore, the then Maharaja of Gwalior, Madhav Rao Scindia renovated it in 1923 AD. Passing through the ravages of time, the Jantar Mantar in Ujjain still is a home to different astronomical studies.
One of the greatest paragons of brainpower, Jantar Mantar was ostentatiously built in Ujjain, the 'Greenwich of India'. Savai Raja Jai Singh manoeuvred the world of planetary and religious science with the construction of this yantra. It has some prominent monuments within such as-
1. Shanku Yantra
A vertical gnomon (Shanku) is fixed at the centre of the circular platform. The platform is in the horizontal plane. The shadow of the gnomon aids the drawing of seven lines on that particular plain. According to this, 22nd December is the shortest day of the year, 21st March and 23rd September, are the dates having equal days and nights, and 22nd June is the longest day of the year. These lines also represent the zodiac signs. The shadow of the gnomon helps in the determination of the angle of elevation and Zenith distance of the Sun. Furthermore, on equinoctial days the midday shadow of the gnomon represents the latitude of the Ujjain.
2. Nadivalaya Yantra
Built in the plane of the celestial equator, the instrument has two parts, namely, northern and southern.The north disc illuminates when the sun is in the northern hemisphere and vice versa for six months each. The shadow of the peg parallel to the axis of the earth, fixed at the centre of the disc represents the time of Ujjain. It calculates the equinoctial days.
3. Samrat Yantra
The Supreme Instrument or the Samrat Yantra is 22 feet long instrument with a staircase at an inclination 23 degree and 10 degrees. It is the equinoctial sundial of the great Jantar Mantar. The upper planes of the two walls beside the steps in the middle of this piece are parallel to the Earth's axis. This setting makes the pole star visible during the night time. To the east and the west side of the wall, lie two quadrants situated in the plane of the celestial equator. Engraved on the quadrants are hours, minutes and fraction of a minute.
4. Digyansha Yantra
It has a circular wall with a diameter of 32 feet and 10 inches. This instrument is used to find out the altitude and the azimuth of any celestial body. To serve this purpose, Turiya Yantra, a sextant type is constructed on the pole which is at the centre of the circular platform. The pointer of the Turiya Yantra which moves along the round graduated disc located on the top of the pole helps to find the Azimuth. The suspended thread of the Turiya Yantra gives the altitude on the graduated scale of the quadrant.
Located at Jayasinghpura, Jantar Mantar is easily accessible through local buses and cabs.
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