This is a view of the observatory taken at a corner close to its entrance. The word "Jantar" means instrument and the word "mantar" means "formula" or calculation and the two words "jantar mantar" together means "calculating instrument". In ancient India, astrology is inseparably linked to astronomy. There are a total of some 20 major instruments at the observatory, all built of stone, marble and brass and each has carefully calculated calibration marks on the inner marble rings for measuring solar time in hours and minutes and second at the particular longitude and latitude of Jaipur, for ascertaining the declination of planets, for tracking stars from the perspective of planet earth as the earth orbits the sun and for predicting solar eclipses. Each of such instruments is fixed on the ground and is a "focused" tool. Designed for the observation of astronomical positions with the naked eye, they embody several architectural and instrumental innovations.
This is the samrat yantra ( the supreme instrument), a giant sundial. Its face is angled at 27 degrees, the latitude of Jaipur. Its shadows are carefully plotted to tell the local time of Jaipurm accurate up to 2 seconds.
A closer view of the same. On top of the highest part is a Hindu chhatri (small cupola), used as a platform for announcing eclipses and the arrival of monsoons
At 27 meters or 90 feet at its tallest, it's the largest structure at the stone observatory
Another view of the jantar samrat on the left of the photo
There are many holes in the structure to allow the sunlight to pass and cast its shadows
There are stairs on the left to enable astronomers to climb up to the observation tower at the top of the tallest part of the structure
The stairs leading up to the observation tower
It can tell the time, the declination and the hour angle of heavenly bodies from the shadows they cast each second.
One could see some of the other yantras through the holes of this giant yantra
Another Yantra next to the the samrat yantra
The side of that instrument
A view of the instrument from a different angle
The stair case up the instrument
A third instrument called the Dakshinottra Bhitti yantra, built in 1876 to find out the at midday the altitude of the sun and then the declination and length of the day.
These are the principles upon which it works.
This is the Nadivalaya, another bowl shaped sundial
And this is how it works
This is the Jai Prakasha Yantra, another highly innovative sundial made of two hemispherical bowls that produce an inverse image of the sky and allow the observer to move freely around it to take readings
One can see the pointer at the centre of the bowl
This is another sundial instrument. I forgot what it's for. Is it the instrument for making conversion of longitudes and latitudes?
This is the Rasivalaya is a unique group of 12 gnomon-dials to measure the ecliptic co-ordinates of celestial objects, each becoming operative when a different one of the 12 zodiacal constellations straddles the meridian.
Another view of the same group 12 zodiac constellations
This is the one for observing the celestial longitudes and latitudes relating to that of the Capricorn constellation
The symbols and the planets in English, Arabic, Sanskrit and Hindi
This is the one for the Scoprio
Another view of the some of the instruments for the different constellations
Different symmetric curves and straight lines can be observed
More curves and straight lines
Brihat Samrat, probably the largest gnomon-sundial ever built. With a gnomon arm 22.6m high and two lateral quadrants of radius 15.15m, it measures local time to an accuracy of 2 seconds.
The dial on the yantra
One of the sides of the yantra
This is another giant sundial, the Ram Yantra
The pointer right at its centre
These are the principles upon which the sundial works
This is another sundial called the Karnti Writta
This is its sundial
This are the explanations of what it does.
This is the Vrihat Samrat Yantra
These are the explanation of how it works
Time to go: a last look at the stone observatory
After the visit to the observatory, we're back into the streets of Jaipur
- It seems that this kind of fried bun is quite popular. It's dipped into a kind of syrupy soup and then bit off mouthful by mouthful
A young man wanting to pay for a portion
Flowers for saleThis is the equivalent of Sai Yee Street in our Mongkok except that most of the shops here don't sell any cameras or electronic products
All kinds of cheap clothes for sale to the localsAll kinds of ladies clothes for children as well as for adults
Very colorful children's dresses
blankets, mats, table cloths, fabric etc.Indian ladies' shoesIt seems that Indian women don't fancy one-color shoesFruit stall right at the head of the street.
As it was after sunset, the whole street was litSome more expensive dresses for saleSarisMore formal dresses for important occasionsFinally some single color dresses
A security guard inside the mallIndian sunset in an urban setting
All kinds of snacks for sale
They look quite attractive
But for health reasons, we were warned not to eat things from the streets.
Like young people everywhere, this young man was looking at the screen of his i-phone!
After dinner, we were taken to a Hindu temple. Above the temple was the Moti Dungri Fort.
A closer view of the fort
This is Birla Temple built in 1988 by the head of the Birla Group of Industries, one of the richest men in India. The Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu (Narayan), the preserver and his consort Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and for that reason, it's also known as Laxmi Narayan Temple. It's built with the best white marble. The three huge domes of the temple represent three different approaches to the religion. Above the lintel is the image of Ganesh, the protector of households. Many of the deities of the Hindu pantheon are depicted inside the temple, and on the outside walls great historical personages and figures from all religions are shown, including Socrates, Zarathustra, Christ, Budhda, and Confucius. The fascinating exteriors of the temple are carved splendidly with beautiful sculptures based of mythological themes as are its the marble panels inside.
This statue is that of Lakshmi, the wife of Lord Vishnu
This is a statue to commemorate the wife of the builder of the temple
The temple garden
A view of the temple
A closer view of the temple
The entrance to the temple
The temple has many stained glass widows depicting various scenes from Hindu scriptures
Is that Buddha?
Who could it be? Must really try to read some Hindu myths!
The statues of Lord Vishnu and his wife Lakshmi on the altar
A sculpture of Jesus and his mother Mary on one of the pillars
An image of Jesus Christ on another
My last look at the temple and then back to our hotel