Jantar Mantar

Location: Parliament Street (Sansad Marg), near Connaught Place (Rajeev Chowk)

Time to Visit: Open on all days of the week from Sunrise to Sunset

Entry Fees: INR 5 for Indian citizens / INR 100 for foreigners

Preferred Timings: Morning and Evening, when shadows can be seen on the astronomical instruments.

Video filming charges: INR 25.

How to Reach: Tourists can either take local buses from various points within the city to reach this monument, which is located in Connaught Place (CP), the heart of the city, or they can hire auto-rickshaws and taxis or metro rail. From CP one can take a stroll to this monument.

Parking: Free and open to all, 200 m away.

Latitude: 28 degree 37' 35" N.

Longitude: 77 degree 13' 5" E of Greenwich.

Height above sea level: 695 feet.

Local Time: 21 minutes 7.7 seconds after Indian Standard Time

Nearest Railway Station: New Delhi Railway Station

Nearest Metro Station: Connaught Place

Functional Metro Station: Connaught Place

Nearest International Airport: Indira Gandhi International Airport

Time required for sightseeing: 1½ hours

Located about 250 meters south of Connaught Place, Jantar Mantar is one of the world's oldest astronomical observatories. Maharaja Jai Singh II of Jaipur (1699-1743) built this collection of salmon-colored structures after studying Hindu, and Muslim astronomical works. The observatory gives a good insight into the technological innovations of the time and is an integral part of India's scientific heritage. According to Sayyid Ahmad Khan, the author of Athar-us-Sanadid, the construction was completed in 1724. Since Jai Singh himself mentioned that he built the instruments by the order of the emperor Muhammad Shah, who ascended the throne only in 1719, the date of Sayyid Ahmad Khan appears to be authentic.

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 center.

Northwest of this is Misra Yantra, which combines five instruments in one and hence its name. It looks like a stylized '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 well maintained by the Archeological Survey of India and is a protected monument under the ASI Act. The gardens that surround the instruments have seasonal flowers and lush grass, where visitors can sit at ease. Jantar Mantar was the logo of the 1982 Asian Games, and the road leading to it is also famous as a favorite site for political protest rallies.

Though these instruments are not functional, as the markings and the floor measurements have blurred with time, there is a proposal to make them operational in the near future. Jantar Mantar is an interesting place to visit, as the geometric structures are fascinating to look at. Jantar Mantar also provides a calm and soothing environment, in the midst of the regular hullabaloo of the city. Spread in a good open area, the protected monument has all basic facilities such as drinking water and toilet facilities. For eatables it is advisable to eat the packed food available outside the main entrance. There is no parking facility at the monument but tourists can park their vehicles in the nearby parking area, which is 200 meters away.

Annual Event:

Astronomical shows are organized yearly (for details check with the local authorities)

Nearby Tourist Attractions:

Rashtrapati Bhawan, India Gate, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib and Hanuman Mandir

Nearby Places to Eat:

Hotel The Park, Hotel Le Meridien, Imperial Hotel, Hotel Inter-Continental, Parikrama Revolving restaurant, Gaylord, El Rodeo, Bercos, Zen restaurant, Delhi Darbar, Nizam's Kathi Kebabs and Standard Restaurant. For snacks and fast foods: Bengali Market (sweets and chaat), Kake da hotel (Indian food), Wengers, Mc Donalds, Pizza Hut, Domino's Pizza, Nirula's, Ruby Tuesday, Sona Rupa, Starbeans, Barista, Café Coffee Day and innumerable roadside food stalls for the adventurous traveler.

Nearby Shopping Venues:

Connaught Place offers everything from jewellery, books, art, leather goods and a wide choice of Indian and international clothes stores. Central Cottage Industries Emporium has Indian handicrafts and curios. Baba Kharak Singh Marg houses the emporia of all the states of India, dedicated to each state's unique art and craft created by traditional and skilled artisans. Janpath offers clothes, low priced gifts and souvenirs and Palika Bazaar offers a wide range of electronic items.

Last Updated On: 2011/07/01