Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh (Jai Singh II), the legendry figure in construction is credited with setting-up of solar observatories at Jaipur & in four other cities of India, was born in 1688 A.D. and succeeded the throne of Amber at the age of eleven Years in 1699 A.D. During his reign the state was full of troubles, warfare and with political anarchy in Northern India.
Sawai Jai Singh was inclined towards astronomy from an early age and studied as a scholar should, works of Hindu, Muslim and European astronomers, particularly those of Plotemy, Ulugh Beg and La Hire. He also translated well known treatise on the subject in to Sanskrit and Persian and sent his staff across the sea to collect information on astronomy. Jai Singh professedly followed the Uzbek astronomer Ulugh Beg and brought up to date the latter’s celebrated Catalogue of Stars. He was helped in his endeavors by Samrat Jagannath and Pt. Kewal Ram. Sawai Jai Singh first built a large observatory with instruments of masonry in Delhi in 1724 A.D. after experimenting on the small instruments made in brass. In his view, such instruments could provide more exact and precise reading than smaller ones of brass. There after, he built observatories at Jaipur, Ujjain, Banaras (Varanasi) and Mathura.
The Jaipur observatory was completed in 1734 A.D. It is the biggest one among the five. It contains almost all of the Raja’s instruments with a greater degree of precision. The “Rashivalaya Yantra” (Zodiac Circle or Ecliptic Instrument) is found no where else except at Jantar Mantar, Jaipur. Sawai Jai Singh himself used to take astronomical readings in this observatory situated near his palace, now popularly known as “The City Palace”. The observatory was renovated in the time of Maharaja Madho Singh, in 1901 A.D. The renovation was carried out by Pt. Chandradhar Sharma Guleri, Pt. Gokul Chandra Bhavan and Lieutenant A.ff. Garrett. Stone and lime plastered marking plates were replaced with marble.Sawai Jai Singh emerged as the patron of astronomy of his era in India. His works on rectification of the Calendar and prediction of eclipses were remarkable. He prepared in 1718 A.D. a set of astronomical tables, the “Zeech-i-Muhammad Shahi” which he dedicated to the then Mughal Emperor Mohammad Shah.
Following 16 instruments were built in this Jaipur observatory and they all are in good and working condition for exact calculation of planets and stars:-
1. Laghu Samrat Yantra 2. Dhruva Darshak Pattika
3. Nadi Valaya Yantra 4. Palbha Yantra
5. Kranti Vritta Yantra6. Yantra Raj Yantra
7. Unnantansh Yantra8. DakshiNottar Bhatti Yantra
9. Vrihat Samrat Yantra10. Shasthansh Yantra
11. Rashi Valaya Yantra12. Jai Prakash Yantra
13. Chakra Yantra14. Kapali Yantra15. Ram Yantra
16. Digansh Yantra
Keoladevi National Park
Formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, the Keoladeo National Park is recognised as one of the world’s most important bird breeding and feeding grounds. It originated in as a royal hunting reserve during the 1850s and was a game reserve for Maharajas and the British. In fact, Lord Linlithgow, Viceroy of India from 1936 to 1943, shot over thousands of ducks with his hunting party in a single day! In 1982, Keoladeo was declared a national park and then later listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985. The park is home to over 370 species of birds and animals such as the basking python, painted storks, deer, nilgai and more. Noted Indian ornithologist and naturalist Salim Ali used his influence to garner government support to create Keoladeo National Park.
Ranthambhore fort is a world heritage site which is situated in Sawai Madhopur district in Rajasthan. Sawai Madhopur is a small town, located in the eastern part of Rajasthan. Ranthambhore fort is surrounded by Vindhays and aravallies hill ranges. The name ‘Ranthambhore’ is derived from two hills-Rann and thambhore. The ancient fort is located on Thambhore hill which is 481 metres above the sea level. From the top of the hill some breathtaking views around the fort can be captured.
Chittaurgarh Fort, the ancient Chitrakuta occupies a place of pride in the history of Rajputs as it remained an important seat of Rajput power from the 7th to 16th cent. AD. The construction of fort is ascribed to Chitrangad of the Mori dynasty in 7th century A.D. It has been a witness to the rulers of several dynasties such as the Mori or Mauryas (7-8th century AD), Pratiharas (9-10th century AD), Paramaras (10-11th century AD), Solankis (12th century AD) and lastly by Guhilots or Sisodia clan of Rajputs and was finally abandoned in 1568 after the siege by Emperor Akbar in 1567. It sprawls majestically over a hill 180 m (590.6 ft) in height spread over an area of 280 ha (691.9 acres) above the plains of the valley drained by the Berach River.
Historically, Chittaurgarh is established as an indomitable Rajput hill fort withstanding several attacks by Muslim invaders such as Alauddin Khilji in 1303 AD, Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat in 1535 AD and finally by the Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1567 AD. Each time the Rajput women and children committed the ritual of Jauhar (group immolation by the women and children of a besieged fort when the fall of the place seems inevitable). Hence, the Fort has strong associations with these sacrificial events.Chittorgarh Fort is truly an embodiment of chivalry and pride of the Rajputs. The fort has a long story of romance, courage, determination and sacrifice.
A glimpse of the fort still makes one to think the glory of the Rajputs who once lived here.Enclosed within defensive walls pierced with several gateways, the fort precinct with an evocative history is studded with major urban centers, well-designed palaces, two commemorative towers, havelis, series of temples, baori and water bodies, etc.
Jaisalmer Fort is one of the largest forts in the world. It is situated in Jaisalmer city in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It was built in 1156 AD by the Bhati Rajput ruler Rao Jaisal, from where it derives it name. The fort stands proudly amidst the golden stretches of the great That Desert, on Trikuta Hill, and has been the scene of many battles. Its massive yellow sandstone walls are a tawny lion color during the day, fading to honey-gold as the sun sets, thereby camouflaging the fort in the yellow desert.
For this reason, it is also known as the “Golden Fort”. This fort, popularly known as the ‘Sonar quila’ by the locals, is located in the very heart the city, and is one of the most breathtaking monuments in the locality.
Amber Fort is situated in the valley of Aravalli ranges just below Jaigarh in Amber, a town with an area of 4 square Kilometers, 11 kilometers from Jaipur, Rajasthan State, India. Raja Man Singh-I started the construction in the end of 16th century. Amber Fort is a bland of Mughal and Rajput architecture in style with its large ramparts, gates and cobbled paths, the fort overlooks the Maota Lake. It is flocked by the Indian and Foreign tourists round the year.
Gagron – A Historical and religious Place located 12 kms towards the north of Jhalawar off NH12 the fort was built by Dod (Parmer) Rajputs. In this fort many other constructions were done by later victorious ruler’s outside fort is the Dargah of Sufi Saint Mitthe Shah, where a fair is held every year during the month of Moharram. Nearby is the monastery of Saint Pipaji, who figures amongest the chief eight disciples of Guru Ramanand and was contemporary of Saint kabir.
Kumbhalgarh is situated about 80 Km. northwest of Udaipur amidst Aravali hills in the Kelwada tehsil of Rajsamand district. Its construction is attributed to Rana Kumbha between 1443-1458 A.D. under the supervision of famous architect Mandan on the site of a still older castle which traditions ascribe to Samprati, a Jaina prince of the second century BC.The fort has ten gates with several groups of temples devoted to Hindu and Jain pantheon
which includes the Ganesh temple, Neelkanth Mahadev temple, Vedi temple, Parsavnath temple, Bawan Deori, Pitalia dev temple, Mamadev temple, Golerao group of temples and Jain temples No. 1,2,3 etc.. The other monuments within the fort includes Badal Mahal, Kumbha Mahal, Birth Place of Maharana Pratap and ancient bunds, reservoirs and step wells etc.. The whole fort is encircled by a strong fortification wall having perimeter of about 10 km. with 5 m width abutting wall on the inner side of the fortification supported by a series of round bastions.