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Jantar Mantar Observatory

Maharajah Jai Singh II of Jaipur constructed five observatories across India between 1727 and 1734, of which this is the biggest. Each instrument is built of stone for durability (his earlier instruments were iron, but they rusted) and is unique in its purpose.

These are calendars to be used with the stars. They are covered in lines of zodiac and different scales inside.

These are giant clocks. The one in the foreground is a zodiac dial; the big one behind is a sundial.

This is the big sundial. It is built with the main slope at 27° which is the latitude of Jaipur. The sun casts a shadow from the centre wall onto the dial each side.

Here is the edge of the main dial. I think this is Hindi for '11'. You can see the scale carved into the marble surface.

The staircase leading up to the top of the sundial sidewall. These were some big steps!

This is a sundial more like the kind we are used to seeing in the west. The dial you can see works for one half of the year; when the sun moves around the sky a second dial on the back is used instead.

The centre of the round sundial. You can see the shadow cast by the central pin.

These two half-spheres are used to show the current solar zodiac. They represent a whole sphere cut in half; again, one is used depending on which part of the year you are in, hence which part of the sky the sun is in. There is a pointer held above the centre which casts a shadow onto the surface which is marked with the zodiac.

Inside one of the spheres. You can see the shadow being cast. The gaps are for people to walk inside to take measurements.

This is a similar pair of spheres used for finding peoples' significant days. This is a Hindu belief based on the exact moment when you were born.

Here is one of the zodiac starclocks. Each one is built at the proper angle for the constellation it points towards. This one is mine; Virgo.

Here is a view of most of the zodiac starclocks taken from the top of the big sundial.

Here is a general view of the Observatory showing the first, smaller, sundial and the twin zodiac spheres.

Looking back towards the City Palace from the top of the sundial.

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These photos ©2006 Jo & Alan Hunter - please ask before using elsewhere - thank you.