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World Heritage #1338 – The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur

World Heritage #1338 – The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur

The astronomical instruments on this site are impressive due to their 300 years of age as well as the accuracy in which they show time and the movements of stars and planets.

The UNESCO World Heritage List includes more than a thousand properties with outstanding universal value. They are all part of the world’s cultural and natural heritage.

Country: India

Date of Inscription: 2010

Category: Cultural site

UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre’s short description of site no. 1338:

The Jantar Mantar, in Jaipur, is an astronomical observation site built in the early 18th century. It includes a set of some 20 main fixed instruments. They are monumental examples in masonry of known instruments but which in many cases have specific characteristics of their own. Designed for the observation of astronomical positions with the naked eye, they embody several architectural and instrumental innovations. This is the most significant, most comprehensive, and the best preserved of India’s historic observatories. It is an expression of the astronomical skills and cosmological concepts of the court of a scholarly prince at the end of the Mughal period.

My visit:

Maharajah Sawaii Jai Singh II of Jaipur led the construction of five astronomical observatories in northern India between 1724 and 1730. Four of them remain and the one in Jaipur is known as the most elaborate. The 19-20 highly varied structures making up this site might be viewed as a modern sculpture park but have in fact different functions. 

The world’s largest stone sundial shows the time with remarkable detail, other structures show the classical celestial coordinate systems (the horizon-zenith local system, the equatorial system and the ecliptic system). The masonry, the use of marble and metal all add to the fascination of wandering between the instruments, large and even larger. 

The story from my visit is yet to be written.

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