As a student of Environment Engineering, I have always taken pride on the fact that I represent the flag-bearer generation of modern Indian science. But what I saw in Jantar Mantar during the recent trip to Jaipur with my travel-buddies- completely left me flabbergasted! Built around the time period of 1727-1733, Jantar Mantar certainly gave me Goosebumps with the accuracy of its geometric devices and the sheer thought that went behind in building this observatory.
We visited this stone observatory in a cheerful morning. An Indian has to shell out Rs.40 as an entrance fee, for a foreigner the amount is a whopping Rs.200. On the other hand, I was quite happy that students only need to pay Rs.15 per person and their abundant presence during our visit to Jantar Mantar and their unadulterated curiosity for everything around, really made our day.
As for the observatory itself, the beauty of Jantar Mantar lies in the fact that- even if you don’t have any inkling about Astronomy barring the basic ones taught in your school curriculum, then also this place wields the power to make you as curious as a child.
Like others, what really held my attention for the maximum time in Jantar Mantar was its Sundial. The precision of its time telling again made me realized that time flies and how! Also the complexity and calculations that went behind Ram Yantra, whose specific purpose is to indicate the altitude and declination of celestial bodies, also evoked the awe inside of me.
It was an amusing sight for me to see my otherwise restless friends, observing all the instruments with the calmness and interest that can be only found among inquisitive kids.
Before we leave the premise of Jantar Mantar, I paid a mental salute to the visionary Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II who was the founder of the observatory as well as the city of Jaipur. In a time when the princely states of India were always engaged fighting wars among each other, that King had the courage and the knack to laid the stepping stone for astronomical science in future India.