Sunday, October 10, 2010
Jantar Mantar - Temple of Instruments
Being in Delhi, anyone fascinated by India's ancient scientific brilliance cannot afford to miss the Jantar Mantar. This historic observatory is located on Sansad Marg near Connaught Place. If you are in the mood for a walk, you can do so from the Rajiv Chowk Metro Station. Otherwise, it's a 5 minute ride in an auto-rickshaw.
The "Jantar Mantar" is a common name used to denote the set of 5 astronomical observatories built by Maharaja Jai Singh II. Apart from the Delhi, these observatories are located in Jaipur, Mathura, Ujjain and Varanasi. Except the one in Ujjain, all the others have stood the test of time.
The term Jantar Mantar seems to be a corruption of the term "Yantra Mantra", where Yantra means Instrument and Mantra means Formula. It can also be a corruption of the term "Yantra Mandir", which translates into Temple of Instruments.
The Jantar Mantar in Delhi had a total of 4 major instruments, listed below:
1) Samrat Yantra
2) Ram Yantra
3) Jai Prakash Yantra
4) Mishra Yantra
The images of these instruments are shown below. It is understood that the Samrat Yantra is unparalleled in its size, and is clearly the largest sundial in the world.
Please find all scientific information about the instruments in this enlightening document:
It is wonderful to note that Indians used scientific instruments of such huge proportionality so many years back !
Till next time,