On the Day of Our Eclipse: Remembering Jantar Mantar Astronomy Court

It was one of the hottest days I have experienced :115 degrees Fahrenheit. Anjula and I sat at a table about as big as a dinner plate drinking heavily iced lime juice, dosed with sugar, salt and soda water. Around us were surreal structures, all very neat and precise, which seemed so very un-Indian to me at the time. Everything I saw up until I visited Jaipur was more chaotic than precise; not this place. I understood, then, how the nation could have produced so many fine engineers.

The Jantar Mantar monument ( Bing’s Opening Page photo on Eclipse Day–but they made a mistake: Jantar Mantar is in Jaipur NOT New Delhi) is a courtyard filled with about six or seven constructions that allow observation of astronomical positions with the naked eye. The structures–spherical, inclined, round– are made of masonry, stone and brass  that follow design principles of ancient Hindu Sanskrit…

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