O is for Observatory

One of the truly remarkable places we visited in Jaipur was the Observatory, Jantar Mantar, built by Sawai Jai Singh II which was completed in 1734.

Our guide informed us that the king had a fascination with both astronomy and astrology and the complicated instruments he built were, in some part, intended to help him align the two.

The instruments are monumental outdoor structures and include the world’s largest sundial. The installations ar able to track the planets using a variety of systems.

The science around them baffled me somewhat, but the detailed arcs of planets intersecting with each other, the sun and the moon spoke of diligent recording and dedicated study.

Apart from their direct scientific applications, the systems are also used to predict personal events through astrology. Our guide’s interpretation in this area affected me directly.

As an 18 year old, last century, I told my boyfriend that because our star signs were adjacent, (he Virgo, me Libra), we were incompatible. Forty years on, our guide did our ‘numbers’ and declared that we were only two points short of a perfect match, a fairly rare level of connection. My husband all but crowed his vindication. I felt thwarted. What excuse now for our differences in the cat v dog debates, or milk chocolate v dark, or even fish ‘n’ chips v pizza??


Haiku:
Observatory –
Jantar Mantar reads the world
of planets and stars

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