Staying on the topic of giant clocks, I found some more old pictures from my trip to Jaipur in Dec. 2011, where we visited Jantar Mantar. I still remember the guide starting the tour by explaining, “Jantar means instrument, Mantar means calculation”…and I am thinking to myself, “Shoot! Like forever, I thought jantar mantar were some magic words…like abracadabra“. Let me not tell you what that one sentence did to my sense of self-esteem!
The structure in yellow in the photo below is a sundial – essentially a clock! Funny how I managed to find not one, but two giant clocks thousands of miles apart! Both of them reputedly among the world’s largest. Not that I am particularly fond of clocks or good at time management. I mean, I don’t even wear a freaking watch.
Jokes apart – no, this is a truly fascinating place with all those structures basically used as astronomical instruments. Of the five such facilities built by Sawai Jai Singh, the one in Jaipur is the largest, best preserved one and becoming a UNESCO World Heritage site. The sundial (called the Samrat Yantra) towers 90 feet – the canopy at the top was used as a platform for announcing eclipses and the arrival of monsoons. The photo below was taken from the roof of the Hawa Mahal…the sundial can be seen on the left, the royal city palace in the center, and you can also see the Nahargarh fort atop the hills in the background.
Jaipur is one of my favourite cities – it is also where we get our handmade paper products for Kalakosh.