Taken at the Jantar Mantar, Delhi on December 16, 2016
The Jantar Mantar are astronomical clocks / calendars. Five of them were built in early 18th century India by order of Maharaja Jai Singh II. The others are in Jaipur, Varanasi, Ujjain, and Mathura. The one at Jaipur is said to be the most impressive, and I can attest that it’s more impressive than the complex in Delhi. However, I’ve only visited the two. What we read of the Varanasi one didn’t make it sound worth the trip, even though we were in the area of it. (It’s atop one of the buildings near the main ghat.) I haven’t been to the other two cities, but I’ve heard that not all of the Jantar Mantar remain intact, so they may just be ruins.
When we were visiting the location in Jaipur, a guide asked: “Do you believe in these things, astrology and astronomy?”
To which the natural response is: “That’s like asking whether I believe in ghosts and gravity.”
At any rate, if you are into science these sites are worth your time.
Jantar Mantar is one of the five observatories built by Maharaja Jai Singh II. (The others were built at Varanasi, Mathura, Ujjain, and Delhi.) This one, built in Jaipur, is the most well-preserved and extensive of the five. The observatory largely consists of sun-dials that use shadows to mark the time or describe the movement of the Earth relative to the Sun. It’s impressive how accurately one can tell the time by these sun-dials.
Apparently, the devices have some astrological significance / role as well. [I didn’t ask.] Our guide asked whether: “I believed in astronomy and astrology.” Which is a question that sounds a lot to my ear like, “Do you believe in gravity and ghosts?”
Jantar Mantar is one of Jaipur’s most impressive sights.