Samrat Yantra

The Samrat Yantra (giant sundial) at the Jaipur Observatory

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Celestial Mirror: The Astronomical Observatories of Jai Singh published by Yale University Press, is now available at booksellers.
More about this and Preview the book…

Watch a book discussion with the author sponsored by the Nehru Planetarium in Delhi, India. Participants include Dr. Nandivada Rathnasree, director of the planetarium, Dr. Mark Subbarao, astronomer and director of the Space Visualization Lab at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, USA, and Anisha Shekhar Mukherji a conservation architect and independent scholar of architectural history.

Between 1724 and 1730 Maharajah Sawaii Jai Singh II of Jaipur constructed five astronomical observatories in northern India. The observatories, or "Jantar Mantars" as they are commonly known, incorporate multiple buildings of unique form, each with a specialized function for astronomical measurement. These structures with their striking combinations of geometric forms at large scale have captivated the attention of architects, artists, and art historians world wide, yet remain largely unknown to the general public. Explore the observatories by reading more about them in the Learn section, taking a virtual Tour, or visiting the Gallery.

The Learn section, features a wealth of information about the observatories and the unique instruments Jai Singh created to observe celestial objects.
But more than that, the Learn section also features projects you can do to learn more about the observatories and sky observation without a telescope.

The Tours section features panoramic virtual tours that work on desktops, laptops, and mobile devices!

And the Gallery presents curated collections of photographs, panoramas, 3D models, and animations in a portfolio format.

Recent additions:
We’ve added a project to the Learn section that features panoramas customized to work with the free open source planetarium software Stellarium. Now you can view the night sky from the Jantar Mantar!
More… is a project by Barry Perlus, Associate Professor Emeritus in Cornell University's College of Architecture, Art, and Planning. It presents the observatories through a variety of media, making it possible to explore and learn about these historic sites through interactive panoramic tours, time lapse sequences, and 3D models as well as articles, drawings, and historic texts.

© 2020 Barry Perlus - Unless otherwise noted, all content on this website is copyrighted and may not be used in any form without written consent - contact