Jantar Mantar of Jaipur is one of the five observatories constructed by Jai Singh II. Ujjain, Delhi and Varanasi are the other cities that house the remaining Jantar Mantars but there remain no traces of the one at Mathura.
Among the many instruments that are part of this observatory is the world’s biggest sundial. Jantar Mantar is located just a stone’s throw from City Palace and Hawa Mahal and features instruments made of stone and brass that were built using instrument design principles from ancient texts.
In all there are 19 instruments that help observe astronomical positions with the naked eye. Jantar Mantar is a fine example of Ptolemaic positional astronomy and has instruments that operate in each of the three main classical celestial coordinate systems: the ecliptic system, the horizon-zenith local system and the equatorial system.
When it suffered some damage in the 19th century, Major Arthur Garrett, an amateur astronomer who was posted as the Assistant State Engineer in Jaipur, undertook the first major restoration work on Jantar Mantar. As of 2010, Jantar Mantar has been included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites and remains a gem of Jaipur that cannot be missed.
In 2007 I visited India in the Rajistan region. During my search for the famous Hevelis I visited Shekhawati, Nawalgarh, Mandawa, Jhunjuno, Fatephur and Dunlod. This slideshow is the collection from all these locations. They were all in different conditions ranging from derelict and falling down to part lived in to completely restored. I have tried to reflect this in my selection of images and even put a couple of images of the restoration drawings put on the walls to guide the artists during restoration. Haveli- Is a huge private mansion in India or Pakistan. The Rajasthani havelis were constructed by the wealthy Marwari community in the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan in the 19th century. A haveli typically has two courtyards one for the men and the inner one for the women, the walls were adorned with beautiful colourful frescoes painted by commissioned artists. The themes were usually images of Gods, Goddesses & animals. Mandawa, Ramgarh, Fatehpur are dusty little towns in the Shekhawati area that have many old havelis, which in their glorious days would have been a treat to the eyes, but even today have not lost their timeless beauty. A handful of these havelis are being restored and given a new lease of life by private organizations, historians & architects. Some of them have been converted into heritage hotels.