India Through the Eyes of Ellen Churchill Semple



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Built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh (1688-1743), Rajput ruler of the kingdom of Amber (later called Jaipur) who had an interest in mathematics, architecture and astronomy. In 1719, he was witness to a noisy discussion in the court of Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah on how to make astronomical calculations to determine an auspicious date when the emperor could start a journey. This discussion led Jai Singh to think that the nation needed to be educated on the subject of astronomy. Even in the midst of local wars Raja Jai Sing found the time to build five observatories: one at Delhi, Mathura (in his Agra province), Benares (depicted on this card), Ujjain (capital of his Malwa province), and his own capital of Jaipur. Relying primarily on Indian astronomy, these buildings were used to accurately predict eclipses and other astronomical events.

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