Jantar Mantar

Jantar is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Yantra’ which means instrument and ‘Mantra’ means formulae or calculations. So, Jantar Mantar, which literally means instruments for making calculations, is an observatory with various large instruments used for making accurate astronomical observations and consequent calculations.

Constructed in 1724 AD by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, who went on to build other observatories in Jaipur, Ujjain, Varanasi and Mathura, Jantar Mantar reveals the scientific acumen at the time.

Jantar Mantar built at the given cities are comprehensive astronomical observatories designed for the observation of astronomical objects and their positions with the naked eye. They embody several architectural and instrumental innovations. Out of these five, the observatory at Mathura no longer exists and the one at Jaipur is the largest and a UNESCO world heritage site.

Jai Singh found the then existing astronomical instruments too small to take correct measurements. So, he built these larger and more accurate instruments.

Rising upto 90ft these structures measure time, forecast weather conditions, predict planetary behaviour and ascertain extra-terrestrial altitude – all with the movement of the sun, that is, the basic principle of light and shade wherein shadows fall on marked surfaces, revealing the position and movement of stars and planets, thus indicating time, predicting eclipses and the intensity of monsoons etc.

Though instruments are fascinating for their ingenuity, accurate observations can no longer be made using these instruments because of tall buildings all around.

Today, Jantar Mantar, Delhi is a popular place for staging ‘dharnas’ (protests) and hunger strikes and one is sure to come across one or two groups of protestors here.


For the curious…

Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II became the ruler of Amer at the young age of 11 years in 1699 AD after his father’s demise. Since childhood, he had deep interest in astronomy, mathematics and architecture.

Jai Singh was inspired by the work of Mirza Ulugh Beg, the 15th century Turkish royal astronomer, who built an observatory in Samarkand which produced the most accurate astronomical readings in its time.

Maharaja Jai Singh II sent scholars abroad to study foreign observatories and bring back the latest books and instruments on astronomy. He studied both eastern and western systems of astronomy before building the first observatory, Jantar Mantar in Delhi. Such was his passion that Jai Singh prepared wax models of these instruments with his own hands!


Entry Ticket Fee for Jantar Mantar, Delhi

INR 5 for citizens of India and SAARC and BIMSTEC countries.

INR 100 for citizens of other countries.

Free for children upto 15 years of age.

INR 25 for video filming



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