June 3, 2023

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Mysterious portal for stars built 300 years ago by an Indian king

  • Sardinian Shalpa
  • BBC Travel *

Image source, Getty Images


The Jantar Mantar in Jaipur, built over three centuries ago, is an open-air complex filled with vast astronomical instruments of precision.

A week after the spring sunset, on a clear, warm afternoon, I walked through the frenzy of Johri Bazaar, Jaipur’s main market, with coral walls, delicate Laddu carvings and Mughal arches.

It may have been a bad time to look around in the desert capital of Rajasthan, but it was perfect for measuring time with the shadows cast by the sun.

I was on my way to Jantar Mantar, India’s mysterious gateway to the stars.

At first glance, this open-air complex – with its strange triangular walls and stairs – seems to be ubiquitous: it is not as elaborate as the surrounding city palace or as intricate as the revered Govind Dev Ji Temple and the nearby Hawa Mahal.