Anand M. Sharan asharan at ENGR.MUN.CA
Mon Oct 2 17:40:54 UTC 2000

I was waiting to see if any one on this web site would clarify the meaning
of the above mentioned word mentioned by Dr. Stone who thinks it means in
this context as observatory .

G.R. Kaye has written a book entitled, " A Guide to the Old Observatories
at Delhi; Jaipur; Ujjain ; Benares " published in 1920, and republished by
The Academic Press, Gurgaon, Haryana, in 1985 .

He also writes that the place was called Jantar Mantar even then. While the
instruments made of brick etc have names such as Samrat ( Emperor ) Yantra
etc. none of the instruments or mechanisms have the name Jantar Mantar .

Who gave its name - Jantar Mantar ?

Jantar is - Yantra . The letter Ya has different pronounciation in
different regions of India . If we start from the South India , its
pronounciation is as it should be in Sanskrit - it is Ya . As we move
north, Ya gets changed to Ja . Secondly, in Yantra , tra gets changed to
tar in the North India in local spoken languages . Hence, Yantra becomes
Jantar . I am not a linguist but this what I have observed .

Now , we come to the second word - Mantar . Here, using the same reasoning
as before, Mantra becomes - Mantar . Hence Yantra - Mantra has become
Jantar Mantar .

Where is the Mantra in these instruments ? Usually, a Mantra is something
which can not be explained by cause and effect relationships in common
usage . Something that is not readily apparent . In which of these
instruments is this applicable ?

It is in the Samrat Instrument - The Sundial . There was no  other dial
then.In Europe, at that time the clocks were made which were small and
accurate but the need was to know the longitude for sea farers. The need
was very different . Here, it was for astronomy . Jaisingh did not rely on
brass instruments which could not maintain allignments, and dimensional
accuracy due to temperature changes . It was the need which determined the
type of construction. In Jaisingh's instruments bigger gave better
resolution i.e., smallest unit of time which one could see .


Anand M. Sharan

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