Created to calibrate the movement of celestial bodies like the sun, moon and other planets, from here on earth, Jantar Mantar is old world astronomy in surreally ginormous form. Created by Maharaja Jai Singh II in the early 1700s as requested by Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah, the ‘Temple of Instruments’ resembles a playground, but for light and time. It is said that Jantar Mantar, along with similar observatories Singh created in Ujjain, Varanasi and Mathura, was built to this scale as he found existing instruments too small to be accurate. Among other structures here, there is the time-telling sundial of Samrat Yantra, the hemisphere of Yauaprakash Yantra for aligning the position of a star, and the Misra Yantra, which among other things determines the longest and shortest days of the year.
Close by, The Imperial is one of Delhi’s most luxurious and cultural hotels, and besides celebrity chef Veena Arora’s The Spice Route restaurant and a spectacular spa, the hotel offers guided tours to Jantar Mantar, explaining the sophisticated site in scintillating detail. www.theimperialindia.com