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2013年12月16日 星期一

North India Tour 5 Jaipur Jantar Mantar Observatory and Birla Temple (北印度之旅 5齋浦爾,古天文台.比拉廟)

After visiting the Palace of Breeze and the Amber Fort/Palace and lunch we were taken to see one of the most spectacular examples of precision Indian architecture: the Jantar Mantar stone observatory . The Observatory was built by Sawai Jai Singh II, a Rajput king who served Emperor Aurangzeb and later Mughals and who rebuilt the Jaipur as the new capital between 1727-1734,. The observatory was modeled after a similar one he built at the Mughal capital of Delhi. Of 5 such observatories he built, this is the largest and best preserved. It was designated a monument of national importance by India in 1968 and now forms part of the UN World Heritage as "an expression of the astronomical skills and cosmological concepts of the court of a scholarly prince at the end of the Mughal period". It was also built as a symbol of royal authority, through its urban dimensions, its control of time, and its rational and astrological forecasting capacities. Thus the observatory is the monumental embodiment of the coming together of three different needs: political, scientific, and religious.



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


More shadows


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


 Because of its geometric shapes, there are all kinds of combinations of shadows at the observatory


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 sale

    This 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 locals


    All kinds of ladies clothes for children as well as for adults


    Very colorful children's dresses

    blankets, mats, table cloths, fabric etc.


    Indian ladies' shoes


    It seems that Indian women don't fancy one-color shoes


    Fruit stall right at the head of the street.

    As it was after sunset, the whole street was lit


    Some more expensive dresses for sale


    Saris


    More formal dresses for important occasions


    Finally some single color dresses


     A security guard inside the mall


    Indian 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


One scene


Another one 


One more


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