This unique specimen of Indian architecture located at the very heart of Delhi's business district was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II of Jaipur in the year 1724. Jantar Mantar is one of the several observatories built by him and was used for astronomical observations. The observatory stands testament to the fact that quest for scientific knowledge and endeavor for development of science was very much active in the then India.
Jai Singh built it with the intention of making practical astronomy popular among the masses. In the beginning, brass instruments were used but it was soon decided that the inherent flaws of brass were proving too much of a hindrance to be of any use. Jai Singh was, however, impressed by the observatory at Samarkhand in Uzbekisthan. The sheer magnitude of the observatory impressed Jai Singh. The observatory was operational for only seven years. Stay in an impressive Delhi hotel and enjoy the marvel of medieval architecture called Jantar Mantar.
The name of the observatory means "instrument and formula". There is a huge sun dial called "Samrat Yantra" and the accuracy of this instrument is such that it can measure and calculate the time of the day with an accuracy of half a second. It is said that Jai Singh was the person who designed the machine. There are two pillars at the south-western part of the observatory which determines the longest and the shortest day. In the winter it is observed that the shadow of one pillar falls over the other completely while in the summer you will see that no shadow falls at all.
Although this wonderful observatory is relegated to the dust heap of history, yet its importance in the history of India's quest for science and technology can hardly be denied. This is one intriguing structure that still mesmerizes tourists from all over the world.