It is India’s 28th and Rajasthan’s second. I’m talking about the Jantar Mantar at Jaipur, built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, receiving the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The astronomical observatory, built between 1727 and 1734, has 20 astronomical instruments. The other World Heritage Site in Rajasthan is the Keoladeo Ghana National Park in Bharatpur.

Having visited this monument recently, I can only agree to the status it has just received! Besides just telling time accurately, the instruments at the observatory can also be used to forecast horoscopes, follow movements of heavenly bodies, predict eclipses and for scientific calculations. I was awestruck at the wonders this one futuristic man had built. The instruments are still much more accurate than the costly quartz ones we sport on our wrists. Another interesting feature of the Samrat Yantra here is that it is the largest sundial in the world.

Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II built five such Jantar Mantars. Besides the one at Mathura, the other three – ones at Delhi, Varanasi and Ujjain – function till date. The Jantar Mantar at Jaipur is the largest and best maintained of the astronomical observatories built by the Maharaja.

There are many more places in Rajasthan that are worthy of this tag, but for now, this observatory itself will draw a bigger number of tourists to the state, and especially Jaipur.