Photographer's Note

Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II (1686-1743) was the ruler of the Rajput State of Amber in India. He founded the city of Jaipur, in Rajasthan, as his magnificently designed capital, the city being named after him.

Astronomy, however, was Jai Singh’s grand passion. Jai Singh’s observatories were called 'Jantar Mantars', which in Sanskrit roughly translates to ‘The Formula of Instruments’. They were built with the assistance of the Bengali mathematician Vidyadhar Bhattacharya. The first one was built at Delhi in 1724, the second at Jaipur in 1734 and the other smaller ones at Mathura, Ujjain and Varanasi between 1732 and 1734. These monumentally grand, surrealistic structures, with their remarkable geometric shapes, are themselves the astronomical instruments, outfitted with drafting devices and grid indicators, and are so highly sophisticated that they are capable of exactly measuring planetary positions and reading time precise to one second.

The Ram Yantra (believed to be named after Raja Ram Singh, Grandfather of Sawai Man Singh), photographed here, is a high column inside a marked container which is capable of accurately gauging the altitude and azimuth (the azimuth of a celestial body is the angle between the vertical plane containing it and the plane of the meridian) of celestial objects, including the sun. In the Islamic and Hindu schools of astronomy there were no instruments like the Ram Yantra prior to Jai Singh’s creations.

The height of the walls & the pillar is equal to the internal radius of the building (7.51 metres). The floor is divided into 30 sectors raised on 0.91 metre high supports. The sectors and the intervening open spaces measure 6 degrees. The gnomon (central pillar) of the Ram Yantra is to the left of the frame. What is needed is to observe the shadow of the gnomon - determine its centre and mark it on the floor or the walls of the instrument - wherever it falls.

This would, I think, look well in B&W as well. Pls. do check the Workshop for that version.

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Additional Photos by Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7851 W: 324 N: 16060] (56760)
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