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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Jantar Mantar of the Pink City is expected to get the World Heritage Status

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The Government of Rajasthan and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) have done sufficient preparations to upgrade the condition of Jantar Mantar at the Pink City Jai Pur of India, and now these are planning to push forward the case of Jantar Mantar of Jai Pur for the World Heritage Status in UNESCO’S World Heritage Committee meet at Brasilia in Brazil in the end of this July.

Image 1: Jantar Mantar astronomical observatory at Jai Pur

Image 2: Sun Dial in the Astronomical Observatory

Jantar Mantar is an ancient astronomical observatory located in the Pink City of India, Jaipur. It is a scientific and architectural wonder built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh in the 18th century.

The name Jantar Mantar has been derived from “Yantra Mantra”, meaning instrumental and formulae”.It consists of 13 architectural astronomic instruments built by Maharaja Jai Singh from 1724 onwards.

Jantar Mantar of Delhi is one of the five astronomical observatories built by him. It is reported that Maharaja Jai Singh was given the task of revising the calendar and astronomic tables by the Mughal Emperor Mohammed Shah. The actual year of the construction of Jantar Mantar Observatory at New Delhi is 1710. Principal purpose of construction of observatories at five sites in India was to compile astronomical tables, and to predict the times and movements of the sun, moon and planets.

Jantar Mantar of Jai Pur is considered to be the largest stone observatory in the world. The observatory consists of fourteen major geometric devices for measuring time, predicting eclipses, tracking stars' location as the earth orbits around the sun, ascertaining the declinations of planets, and determining the celestial altitudes and related ephemerides. Each is a fixed and 'focused' tool. The Samrat Yantra, the largest instrument, is 90 feet (27 m) high, its shadow carefully plotted to tell the time of day. Its face is angled at 27 degrees, the latitude of Jaipur. The Hindu chhatri (small cupola) on top is used as a platform for announcing eclipses and the arrival of monsoons.

Built from local stone and marble, each instrument carries an astronomical scale, generally marked on the marble inner lining. Bronze tablets, all extraordinarily accurate, were also employed. Thoroughly restored in 1901, the Jantar Mantar was declared a national monument in 1948.An excursion through Jai Singh's Jantar is a unique experience of walking through solid geometry and encountering a collective astronomical system designed to probe the heavens.

The agency of UNESCO, ICOMOS has already declared Jantar Mantar of Jai Pur as a site of “Outstanding Universal Value’. This category is considered as most important for any place for gaining the status of a World Heritage Site. After renovation the monument was declared as a National Monument in 1948.

A final Management Plan has recently been prepared by the authorities of the Archaeological Survey of India, and the Government of Rajasthan for filing the nomination papers. It is reported that the Government authorities of Rajasthan  and the Archaeological survey of India have already prepared final Management Plan and papers pertaining to strict implementation of by-laws in the buffer zone of the monument and are ready to file the nomination papers to get the World Heritage Status for the Jantar Mantar Observatory at Jai Pur.

Key Words: Pink City, Jai Pur, World Heritage Status, Rajasthan Government, Archaeological Survey of India(ASI), 18th century, Jantar Mantar, ancient, astronomical observatory, ICOMOS, UNESCO, Management Plan, nomination, by-laws, buffer zone, monument

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