india travel shot: jantar mantar, a slice of jaipur in delhi

Deep in the heart of New Delhi’s central business district, Connaught Place, is a remnant of the Princely State of Jaipur. Surprised?

Known earlier as Jaisinghpura Village, this patch of land formed part of Jaipur’s territories from the 16th Century right up to the year 1911. When Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II built a monumental observatory to measure time in Delhi, on the invitation of the Mughal Emperor in 1724, he was technically building it on his own land.

He named his futuristic structures to measure the movement of the heavens Jantar Mantar, meaning instruments and formulae. So chaffed was he by his invention, he repeated it in his own capital, Jaipur, and three other cities in the following years.

Fast forward to 1911: Sir Edwin Lutyens decides this area is to be the site for the new Imperial capital, New Delhi. But it is already occupied. So, the British government buys it off from Jaipur, relocates all the villagers [to nearby Karol Bagh], and razes their homes to the ground. Except for the monuments and places of worship that stand on it.

Hence, surrounded by high-rises is a fenced area of green with a medieval observatory, along with Hindu [Hanuman Mandir and Bhairav Mandir], a couple of Jain temples, and a Sikh temple [Bangla Sahib Gurudwara], all dating back to Jai Singh’s reign.

These have become so much a part of Delhi’s heritage, the fact that they are actually remnants of the Princely State of Jaipur are all but forgotten. πŸ™‚

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Note: Yash Gupta, a conservation architect at Intach, leads a fabulous 2-part walk through Jaisinghpura based on his research of the area.

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