Civilization in the world originated around the Indian subcontinent for the first time some 7000 years ago. This makes Indian civilization not only one of the oldest in the world but also one of
the most mature and stable civilizations. Over several millennia of intensive exploration and questioning everything India’s knowledge base has become one of the largest and the most significant
in the world.
The Sanskrit and Pali scriptures fond in India have significant mention of the sciences include Mathematics, Astronomy and Medicine. The Mughals brought with themselves a new way of doing and preserving mathematical formulations. High precision mathematical tools helped in the development of highly precise measuring devices includes clocks and watches.
The sundial was one of the oldest means of time keeping. The biggest disadvantage of these clocks was their non-usability during the night. The Jantar Mantar in Jaipur which is a medieval era scientific and architectural marvel uses not only the sun and the moon but the astronomical position of stars to calculate time and make other precise astronomical measurements.
The history of Jantar Mantar in Jaipur is extremely unique which attracted me a great deal towards including it in my itinerary. It was completed in the year 1738 by the order of the Raja Sawai
Jai Singh of Jaipur. It had to be later improved and renovated by a British Armed Forces Engineer named Major Garret who was also a passionate amateur astronomer. Major Arthur Garret rectified
many errors in the devices which had developed because of years of neglect and mishandling.
Some of the most important instrument at the Jantar Mantar includes the Kapala Yantraprakara and the Disha Yantra. It has been showed recently that it can be used to convert celestial
measurements in one reference frame into the other. The Disha Yantra and the Dakshin Bhitti Yantra are used as their names suggest to measure positions and directions of celestial
The systems present at Jantar Mantar are largely used for chronology but are also designed to take astronomical data. They are quite complicated and extremely nuanced and it is not possible for
the general audience to grasp its detailed working. The significance and uses can although be grasped and realised. My children and I were extremely excited to learn so much the art of time
keeping in India and how it became the base of all the modern science that we see in our country today.