Jantar Mantar, Delhi

Jantar Mantar is a collection of architectural 13 architectural astronomy instruments. The site is one of five built by Maharaja Jai Singh II of Jaipur, from 1724 onwards, as he was given by Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah the task of revising the calendar and astronomical tables.

Of the thirteen instruments, three are quite large and remarkable:

  • Samrat Yantra, or Supreme Instrument, is an equal hour sundial in the form of a giant triangle. On either side of the sundaol is a quadrant with graduations indicating hours, minutes, and seconds.
  • The Jayaprakash are hollowed out hemispheres with markings on their concave surfaces. Wires were stretched between points on their rim so an observer could align the position of a star with various markings from below.
  • The Misra Yantra is a tool to determine the shortest and longest days of the year, including  indicating the exact moment of noon in various cities and locations regardless of their distance from Delhi.

The Jantar Mantar is centrally located and is easy to visit on any excursion to Lutyens’ Delhi.

 

Charminar

CharminarThe Charminar – or literally Four Towers – is a monument and mosque located in the center of Hyderabad. There are many theories about why the Charminar was built. The Archaeological Survey of India states, “It is widely accepted that Charminar was built at the center of the city, to commemorate the eradication of plague” as Qutb Shah (of the Qutb Shahi Tombs fame) had prayed for the end of a plague that was ravaging his city.

The Charminar is a square structure with each side 20 meters (approximately 66 feet) long, with four grand arches each facing a fundamental point that open into four streets. At each corner stands an exquisitely shaped minaret, 56 meters (approximately 184 feet) high with a double balcony.

You can climb to the top, but expect a long line – and know that the Charminar is still a functioning Mosque and Madraasa. The neighborhood is quite crowded with many tiny shops: this being a major marketplace in Hyderabad. During Golden Hour at sunset the Charminar is a sight to see, with the bright Andhra sun shining on the limestone and granite of the minarets.

Pair a trip to the Charminar with a visit to the calmer Chowmahalla Palace nearby.

  • Hours: variable, closed on Friday
  • Address: Khilwat, Charminar, Hyderabad, AP 500082
  • Directions: Go to the center city – ask anyone for Charminar. They will guide you. I would suggest a taxi or hired car.
  • Charminar on Wikipedia
  • Charminar on Andhra Pradesh tourism site