Wisdom of the Ancients - Jantar Mantar

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Between 1727 and 1734, Maharaja Jai Singh II is said to have constructed five observatories or Jantar Mantar in west central India. The largest was built in his new capital Jaipur, close to the palace and was modelled after the observatory in Delhi also designed by him. It is widely believed that the observatories were built to verify astronomical observations made at the time, to stimulate interest in astronomy and to provide a scientific basis for astronomical and astrological interpretations.

The observatory in Jaipur is the most comprehensive and the most well preserved of India's ancient observatories and showcases the skills in astronomy and the concepts of cosmology of the period. The Maharaja is said to have used it daily with his astronomy gurus. It has twenty mainly fixed instruments that are examples in masonry of known instruments of the time that had specific characteristics.

Designed to observe the heavens with the naked eye, the instruments feature several architectural and technical innovations and included instruments for taking measurements of time, making predictions on eclipses, tracking the location of stars as the earth travels on it orbital path round the sun and figuring out the celestial altitudes of planets. The biggest is the triangle shaped sundial ‘Samrat Yantra', with a 27 metre high gnomon and markings for minutes and hours, which was used to carefully plot the time of day. Its face is at a 27 degree angle, which is Jaipur's latitude. A small cupola at the top was used to announce the occurrence of eclipses and when monsoons were to arrive.

Although most of the instruments are no longer accurate, watching the Samrat Yantra, the largest sun dial in the world, its shadow visibly moving every 1mm per second can be a profound experience. Even now, the instruments of the Jantar Mantar can forecast the weather, the duration of the season and the intensity of the monsoon. Janta Mantar was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010.

Once a royal hunting lodge set amidst a lush green environment with water and mountain views, the Gateway Hotel Ramgarh Lodge Jaipur offers visitors an experience of times past in an elegant and comfortable setting where public spaces display hunting trophy heads and modern amenities and up to date onsite leisure facilities. Ideally placed for Jaipur sightseeing be it the nearby natural attractions or the many heritage sites of the area, this Jaipur hotel is able to cater to every need and whim of guests and provide an exceptional holiday experience in a historical setting.

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