Jantar Mantar, Jaipur, India

Jantar Mantar, Jaipur, India

Acrylic on canvas,

20 x 28 inches

2020

This is the famous astronomical site in Jaipur, India, known as Jantar Mantar, which in Sanskrit means: calculating instrument.  It is a collection of nineteen architectural astronomical instruments built by Rajput King Sawai Jai Singh II, the founder of Jaipur, Rajasthan.  It was completed in 1734 and it features the world’s largest stone sundial.  This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

It is an impressive site.  As I walked around the instruments, I tried to understand that these structures were meant for measuring time, predicting eclipses, tracking the location of major stars as the earth orbits around the sun, ascertaining the declination of planets, and determining the celestial altitude and related ephemerides.

The section I painted is truly in red, perhaps not as dark since it has faded with time.  It represents the Laghn Samrat Yantra, two sundials on different faces, they represent the north and the south hemispheres.  The accuracy of the instrument in measuring the time is very accurate, and it is built of local stone and marble. 

 

Sculptor Isamu Noguchi visited this site and was impressed by some of these structures and he did use motifs and the idea of staircases in some of his projects.  I too felt attracted to these structures, not only as functional structures, but as beautiful pieces of architecture. Geometry is abundant in this site, and I thought that I had to paint it in clean flat colors.

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