Jantar Mantar translates to 'instrument of calculation', and if you think this is some boring fussy old museum with some obscure brass instruments, you would be so wrong!
This exceptionally well kept open-air observatory of 14 primary astrological instruments is worth your time. It's amazing how precise the observatory is considering that it was constructed when the current form of modern science didn't exist.
Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, who built Jantar Mantar, was a renowned Mathematician and Astronomer. His research and designs which took shape as the various monuments in the Jantar Mantar are awe-inspiring, to say the least. To keep track of stars, the first small prototype of models were prepared and then big size models were made. Such Jantar Mantars were constructed in other cities like Ujjain, Delhi but the Jaipur one is the biggest of all.
The entrance of Jantar Mantar is just across the City Palace exit. It has the biggest sundial in the world, accurate to 4 seconds. There are workings and structures for determining your zodiac sign. Also, there is a separate section depicting the 12 zodiac signs and degree calculation for each sign depending on the time of the day. A unique structure for determining the longitude and latitude is present as well. The experience is mind-blowing as the guide explains and demonstrates how precise these instruments are, considering they were built over 300 years ago. Everything is clean, signposted, and functional.
The light and sound show at the Jantar Mantar as the monument itself is different from other historical monuments. The 45 minutes show is educational in a simple way. The show has a very different treatment as the focus is on what led Maharajah Jai Singh II to make the monument along with a history of Jaipur.
If it's a Mecca for astronomy students and practitioners, it's equally suitable for individuals who can appreciate the futuristic and innovative thought process of the great king and founder of Jaipur. There is a machine to identify stars and constellations by just pointing at them. It is a testimony of the technological advancements of the country during the earlier centuries.