Jantar Mantar Varanasi
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Jantar Mantar is an historical and famous observatory located in Varanasi and built by Jai Singh, an ardent follower of astronomy. The Maharaja of Jaipur constructed the monument in the year 1737 and went to great length to ensure the uniqueness and accuracy of the resulting monument. He even sent his scholars to study various foreign observatories and collect crucial information, knowledge and manuals on astronomy which were incorporated in this design. Apart from Varanasi, the maharaja built four other observatories at Delhi, Mathura, Ujjain and Jaipur.
The Jantar Mantar was primarily built to measure the Sun's declination, the local time, the declination of stars, altitude, planets and to determine eclipses. Incorporating several instruments of unique form with a specialized and unique form that are used to record the motion, speed and properties of the heavenly bodies. The effort is commendable as the accuracy of the measurement still continues. The Meridian Pass Time, the location of the Pole Star, the position of the Zodiac could be detected from this observatory.
Some important yantras or instruments at Jantar Mantar include Krantivritta Yantra, Samrat Yantra, Digansha Yantra, Ram Yantra, Disha Yantra and Dhruva Yantra. These striking specimens of geometric forms have captivated the attention of historians, architects and astronomy students from all parts of the world. Exhibiting the architectural skills and master craftsmanship of the yesteryears, Jantar Mantar are now one of Varanasi’s famous tourist attractions.