This open air observatory is set outside the gateway of the city palace complex. It was built by the astronomer king sawai jai singh 2nd, in 1728 and is one of the five open-air astronomical observatories built by him. The first being at delhi in 1724, followed by observatories at jaipur (1728); Ujjain (1734); Varanasi (1737) and Mathura (1738). It is the largest and most important of the five and is best preserved after the restoration work in 1901. The original brass instruments were replaced by masonry instruments for greater accuracy, which still hold good for many astrological calculations. Some of the instruments used for measuring local time, the altitudes of stars and constellations, the sun’s declination, meridian, altitude and determining eclipses are – laghu samrat yantra or the small sun-dial; samrat yantra or the big sun dial ; dhruv yantra or the pole star instrument; narivalaya yantra; raj yantra or king of instruments; palbha yantra or the horizontal sun-dial; unnatansha yantra; disha yantra; dakshinovritti bhitti yantra; shashtansha yantra or the sextant ; rasivalaya yantra or the zodiac instrument ; chakra yantras or the circle instruments ; kapali yantra ; ram yantra ; jai prakash yantra and digansha yantra etc.
The monument was recognized as one of the world heritage sites by UNESCO in 2010.
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