the Jaipur Observatory

… the Armilliar sphere instrument…

I had heard about the exotic observatory in Jaipur and it was on my “to do” list before I departed.  But with my short visit time to this wonderful city, I only had a small window to make a visit.  My bus to Pushkar was departing at just after noon so I would have to make my visit after breakfast.

… the Large Sundial…

I pre-arranged with my “regular” driver Lucky to take me to the observatory and wait for me outside to take me back to the hotel.  Lucky had proven to be a reliable driver and this made me confident that I would be able to see the observatory despite my limited time.

… the Hemispherical Sundials…

The Observatory was quite interesting.  The ancient Indians were able to track the time exactly, even allowing for geographical error based on where the observatory is compared to the longitudinal lines of the earth.  They plot the date(s), eclipses, and track the movement of the sun and moon through the 12 signs of the zodiac.

Not only where there many Indians at the observatory, but I also saw Germans, Dutch, and even some Chinese.  Regardless of the language spoken, there were tour guides who seemed to speak any language so that no tourist was without a speaking tour guide.  Above, some Indians listened to their tour guid as he described the Hemispherical Sundials that tracked the time of day between the autumnal and vernal equinoxes.  Below, the Amilliar Spherical Instrument counts one hour for each white band of marble as the sun passes overhead.

Like the large sundial (second photo on this page), the small sundial (below) casts a shadow from the staired tower to curved dial below.

The first observatory was built in Delhi and later moved to Jaipur.  Its construction was directed by the Maharajah Sawai Jai Singh II in the early 18th Century.

… my tour guide explains how the sun moves across the arc of the dial…

… the Small and Large Sundials…

The Ram Yantra device is used for finding the azimuth of the sun, moon and stars on the horizon.

The Hemispherical Ball Instrument tracks the suns position as it moves not only daily, but its movement throughout the year.  The shadow of the ball is cast into a large bowl; its movement can be measured through the grid of marks inside the bowl face.


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