Science sights in Eastern Rajasthan
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Near the City Palace is Jantar Mantar, an observatory begun by Jai Singh in 1728, which at first glance looks like a collection of mammoth, bizarre sculptures. The guided tour (30 minutes to one hour) is well worthwhile; guides provide explanations of how each of the fascinating instruments work, and how – through watching, recording and meticulous calculation – Jai Singh measured time by the course of the sun’s shadow and charted the annual progress through the zodiac. Each construction has a specific purpose, such as calculating eclipses. The most striking instrument is the sundial, with its 27m-high gnomon; the shadow this casts moves up to 4m per hour.