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RE: Jantar Mantars
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Jaipur's world famous Jantar Mantar, which is a collection of architectural astronomical instruments and literally means calculation instrument, is attracting wide public attention here following the ongoing renovation at the ancient astronomical observatory. The renovation work has not gone down well with traditional Indian astrologers.

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Jantar Mantar, one of the several astronomical observatories built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II of Jaipur, is situated in the heart of Delhi's commercial centre near Connaught Place. The Jantar Mantar of Delhi is the first and one of the five observatories built by Sawai Jai Singh II and the other four are located at Jaipur, Varanasi, Ujjain and Mathura. It is an astronomical observatory where the movements of sun, moon and planets could be observed. The Jantar Mantar represents one of the last links with the old school of astronomy. This observatory consists mainly of four Yantras (instruments) Samrat Yantra, Misra Yantra, Ram Yantra and Jai Prakash Yantra.

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The Naked Monks of Kundalpur

Between 1727 and 1734 Maharajah Jai Singh II of Jaipur constructed five astronomical observatories in west central India. The observatories, or "Jantar Mantars" as they are commonly known, incorporate multiple buildings of unique form, each with a specialized function for astronomical measurement. The Astronomical Observatories of Jai Singh II

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Nehru Planetarium
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On 3 March 2007 Nehru Planetarium, Mumbai completed 30 years of its existence. To commemorate the occasion a two-day Conference of Planetarium Directors & Professional was organized on 19 & 20 March 2007.
The Conference had the theme "Planetarium through ages: Vision 2027". It was attended by directors and professionals of all the major planetariums in the country. The directors and professionals from sixteen planetariums, namely, Allahabad, Bangalore , Bhubaneshwar, Calicut, Chennai, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Nagpur, Nasik, New Delhi, Vadodara and Warangal actively participated in it.

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The relevance of the historic Jantar Mantar Observatory here will once again come to the fore as Nehru Planetarium in association with Park Hotel and the Archaeological Survey of India organises a public event in the Capital this Saturday -- which happens to be Equinox Day -- to check out the calibration markings on the grand old monument.

A panel of experts from the academic community will be present to give their advice on the future directions to be taken for restoration of the Jantar Mantar Observatory.

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Summer Solstice
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It was a day of disappearing shadows and astronomical observation on Wednesday (June 21), the year’s longest and sunniest day.

The summer solstice marks the position of the Sun in relation to the celestial equator and on this day the earth is at a point when one hemisphere is most titled towards the Sun implying the Sun makes its highest path across the sky.
In simple terms the Sun will take the longest to set and it occurs usually on June 21 or June 22 in the northern Hemisphere, in which India lies.
But the most amazing characteristic marking the day is the play of shadows as in some area they disappear completely while others see them as unusually short during midday when the Sun appears directory overhead along the Tropic of Cancer, an imaginary line at latitude 23.45 degrees.
The line is so called because, in ancient times when the first Western astrological charts were set, the Sun rose in this constellation at this time.
In India`s central city of Ujjain, from where the Tropic of Cancer passes, the day is one of particular amazement as scientists allow people sight of an instrument, which lets them see the amazing feat.

In Ujjain dozens stood in astonishment around the "Shankhu Yantra", whose shadow disappeared at 12.28 pm (local time) and began reappearing seconds later.

"Looking at this instrument you would have seen that even such a thin pole, we will not see its shadow and since this is a unique event a lot of people come here to see how it works" - Jagdish Prasad Gupta, astronomer.

The sight was re-lived in New Delhi at the ancient Jantar Mantar, a 1724-built Sun observatory, where a wall has been titled to lie upon the Tropic of Cancer.
While curious visitors marvelled at the huge wall with shadow, for astronomers it was a day to study and learn from the near perfect astronomy of their predecessors.

"We have tested this instrument before and the accuracy is well within a degree and if you see this instrument was built in 1724 or around that period, it is very remarkable that has such accuracy even to till this date" Vidur, an amateur astronomer.

In New Delhi the sunrise on June 21 was at 5.24 am (IST) and the setting is expected to be at 7.22 pm (IST).
The Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, falls on December 22.

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Jantar Mantars
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Between 1727 and 1734 Maharajah Jai Singh II of Jaipur constructed an astronomical observatory, in Jairpur, the capital of the federal state Rhajasthan in west central India. The observatory, or "Jantar Mantars" as they are commonly known, incorporate multiple buildings of unique form, each with a specialised function for astronomical measurement.

Located about 250 meters south of Connaught Place, Jantar Mantar, (Sanskrit; translated as “Magical Device”), the pale pink ancient observatory will become "useful" again. Introducing amateur astronomers to its finer points this Tuesday, the Nehru Planetarium has organised a lecture tour at the monument to show young enthusiasts the Spring Equinox.

A chance to understand the Spring Equinox in not just textbook term, the lecture will give them an idea about the mathematics behind this phenomenon. Giving students the idea of the "zero" angle, the lecture tour has been organised in collaboration with the Archaeological Survey of India, the Amateur Astronomers Association and Apeejay Park Group of Hotels.
Not the first time that the Nehru Planetarium has decided to use Jantar Mantar to explain the mystic working of the sun, this is an attempt to bring alive the historic observatory where each "yantra" is built to measure the movement of the sun.



Apart from introducing young children to science, such lectures also give students an opportunity to learn more about historical monuments. Making them realise the genius of observatories like Jantar Mantar that were built before the advent of modern technology, the idea is to get them to understand how these huge strangely shaped buildings work.
These lecture tours have got students familiar with instruments like "Misra Yantra'' -- that can be used to calculate the angle of the sun from the equator, also known as the declination.
Measured through the marble circles carefully engraved with angular divisions, known as the Niyat Chakra, this instrument is used to measure the declination of the sun. And the lecture tour on Tuesday will give students and enthusiasts a chance to "see" the movement in all its glory.


Position: 28°37'35.76"N. Longitude: 77°13'0.07"E.
Height above sea level: 212 metres

The Jantar Mantar Observatory contains six instruments. The most important or the 'Supreme Instrument' in Jantar Mantar is the Samrat-Yantra, the huge sundial. It is an 'equinoctial dial' or 'equal hour' sundial, consisting of a triangular gnomon with the hypotenuse parallel to the earth's axis. On the either side of the gnomon is a quadrant of a circle parallel to the plane of the equator.

South of this is the Jai Prakash yantra, an instrument which consists of two concave hemispherical structures, used to ascertain the position of the Sun and other heavenly bodies. Jai Singh himself designed this instrument and hence the name, which means 'Invention of Jai'. The Ram-Yantra is south of the Jai Prakash and was used for reading azimuth (horizontal) and altitude (vertical) angles. It consists of two circular buildings with a pillar at its centre.

Northwest of this is Misra Yantra, which combines five instruments in one and hence its name. It looks like a stylised 'namaste', the Indian form of greeting, folded hands and palms pressed together. The Niyta-Chakra indicates the meridians of Greenwich, Zurich, Notkey (Japan), and Serichew (Pacific Ocean).

Dakshinottarabhitti-Yantra was used for obtaining meridian altitudes and Karka-rasi-valaya indicated the entry of the Sun in the constellation Cancer. The Agra Yantra (or amplitude instrument) is the second quadrant on the west side of the building and the exact purpose of this structure is not definitely known.
The Samrat Yantra, based on the same principles as the large Samrat Yantra, was used to give time and declination before and after noon. Built with brick rubble and plastered with lime, similar observatories were also made at Jaipur, Ujjain, Varanasi and Mathura.

To the east of these instruments, there is a Temple of Lord Bhairava, which was also probably built by Maharaja Jai Singh. The observatory is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India and is a protected monument under the ASI Act. The gardens that surround the instruments have seasonal flowers and lawns, where visitors can sit.

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