Maharajas' Express Blog

Jantar Mantar In Jaipur: The World’s Largest Astronomical Observatory

With umpteen palaces and forts delineating the grandiose past of royal India, Jaipur is a 300 years old historic city and the capital of country’s largest state Rajasthan. Popularly known as the “Pink City”, the city is amongst top holiday destinations in India. The city has innumerable magnificent monuments to showcase which would inevitably leave tourists spellbound, architectural brilliance in particular. 18th Century astronomical observatory is one such monument you must not miss to explore during your visit to Jaipur.

Colloquially known as “Jantar Mantar”, the monument is an astronomical observation site that includes 19 instruments for calculating time, tracking astronomical positions with naked eye, predicting eclipse, and ascertaining the altitudes of heavenly bodies and their associated almanac. Jantar Mantar is actually a name given to a series of five alluring monuments constructed in five distinct places – Jaipur, New Delhi, Varanasi, Mathura and Ujjain, and  is derived from Sanskrit language which literally means “calculating instrument’. The Jantar Mantar in Jaipur is considered to be the biggest and best preserved in these observatories, and the sundial that it houses is the largest stone sundial in the world.

Located near other spectacular monuments City Palace and Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar was built by King Sawai Jai Singh between 1728-1734. This great observatory is one of UNESCO World Heritage sites. It features stone, masonry and brass instruments which were made based on the astronomical and instrumental design concepts of ages-old Hindu Sanskrit literature. Jantar Mantar was a culmination for different scientific cultures that helped spread social practices associated to cosmology. This monumental instrument is a manifestation of the combination of needs which were at the same time observation of the celestial bodies, political and religious.

The Jantar Mantar is a splendid testimony of a very intricate set of astronomical instruments, in the capital of royal state Rajasthan, at the end of the Mughal Empire in India. The authenticity and accuracy pertaining to calculating time along with others, the observatory has been ascertained by a number of world famed cosmologists. The most advanced instruments in the observatory were used to predict eclipse and the location of heavenly bodies, while the Samrat Yantra or Sundial is the centerpiece of the complex.

All those can be experienced exclusively through touring “The Indian Splendour” itinerary of The Maharajas’ Express, and as an optional activities with other itineraries – The Gems of India, The Treasures of India, The Indian Panorama, or The Heritage of India. Know the Maharajas express train fare for all its splendid itineraries.