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Posted on | December 21, 2011 | No Comments


Vedh Shala (Observatory)

The observatory was constructed by Maharaja Sawai Raja Jaisingh of Jaipur in 1719 when he was inUjjainas the Governor of Malwa under the reign of king Muhammad Shah ofDelhi. Besides being a brave fighter and a politician, Raja Jaisingh was exceptionally a scholar. He studied books on Astor-mathematics available in the Persian and Arabic languages at that time. He wrote books on astronomy himself.Miraza Ulook Beg, the grandson of Temurlung and an expert on astronomy, built an observatory in Samarkund. Raja Jaisingh constructed observatories inUjjain, Jaipur,Delhi,MathuraandVaranasiinIndiaby permission of king Muhammad Shah. Raja Jaisingh set up new instruments in these observatories employing his skills. He made alterations in a number of main Astro-mathematical instruments by observing the activities of planets himself for eight years inUjjain.Thereafter the observatory remained uncared for two decades. Then as per suggestations of Siddhntavagish (Late) Shri Narayanji Vyas, Ganak Churamani and (Late) Shri G.S. Apte, the first Supreintendent of observatory, (Late) Maharaja Madhav Rao Scindia renovated the observatory and funded it for active use. Since then it has been continuously functioning.The four instruments viz. Sun-Dial, Narivalaya, Digansha and Transit instruments are made by Raja Jaisingh in the observatory. The Shanku(Gnomon) Yantra has been prepared under the direction of (Late) Shri G.S.Apte. Having arrived at the last moments of its position, the Digansh Yantra was re-constructed in 1974 and the Shanku Yantra was re-built in 1982. Marble notice boards displaying information about the instruments were prepared, both in Hindi and English in 1983.Miss Swarnmala Rawala, the then Commissioner of Ujjain Division Ujjain was at great pains to complete renovate and beautify the observatory in 2003.  In addition, ten solar power operated solar tube-lights were installed with the help of Energy Development Corporation and beautiful banks constructed along the River Shipra at the observatory site under the auspices of M.P. Laghu Udyog Nigam. An automatic telescope having 8 inches diameter to facilitate visitors see planets through it has been installed in Simhasth 2004. A new ephemeris in the shape of a balloon has been recently launched in the Institution.


Shanku Yantra
A vertical gnomon (Shanku) is fixed at the centre of the circular platform having a horizontal shape. The seven lines drawn according to the shadow of the gnomon indicate the twelve zodiac signs. Among these lines, the 22nd December makes the shortest day, the 21st March and the 23rd September make the days and nights equal, and the 22nd June makes the longest day of the year.With the help of the shadow of the gnomon the angle of elevation and zenith distance of the sun can determined. The Altitude of Ujjain is determined by the mid-day shadow of Shanku Ynatra when the days and nights have equal length.


Nadi Valay Yantra
This instrument made in the plane of the celestial equator has two – the north and the south parts. When the Sun is in the northern hemisphere for six months, the northern hemisphere disc is illuminated. But when the sun is in the southern hemisphere for the remaining six months, the southern disc is illuminated. The exact time ofUjjainis known by the shadow of the nails fixed parallel to the Earth’s axis in between these two parts.This instrument is used to ascertain whether a celestial body is in the northern or the southern half. Observe a desired planet straight from a suitable point on the round edge of the northern part. If it is visible, then deem it to be in the northern hemisphere, otherwise it is in the southern one, likewise, information could be had from the southern part.


Sun Dial

The upper planes of the two walls on the sides of the steps in the middle of this instrument are parallel to the axis of the earth. In the direction of the planes the pole star is visible. To the East and the West of the wall the quarter of a circle is formed in the plane of the Celestial equator on which hours, minutes and a third part of a minute are engaged.

When the Sun shines in the sky, the shadow of the edge of the wall falls on some mark indicating local time of  Ujjain be calculating the hour and minutes. By adding minutes to this clear time table given on the east and the west side of the instrument one knows the Indian Standard Time.

This Instrument is mainly used to find out the declination of any celestial body from the celestial equator towards the north or the south. First find out the particular point on the edge of the quadrant from where the center of the celestial body could be observed to coincide with the edge of the wall. The reading at this point of the wall gives the declination.


Samrat Yantra
This instrument is mainly used to find out the declinational andcelestial ofit.Its distance form the celestial equator toward north to south.First find out the particular point on the edge of the quadrant from where the center of the celestial body could be observed to coincide with the edge of the wall .The reading at this point of the wall sides declination.


Diganash Yantra
This instrument is used to fix out the Altitude (distance from the horizon) and the Azimuth (angular distance from the east or the west point measured along the horizon) of any celestial body. For this purpose a sextant type device called Turiya Yantra is fitted on the pole at the centre of the circular platform. Arrange the position of Turiya Yantra in such a way that the two holes of the Yantra are in line joining the celestial body so that it may be visible through both the holes. The Pointer of the Turiya Yantra moving along the round graduated disc at top of the pole gives Azimuth. The suspending thread of the Yantra gives the Altitude on the graduated seal of the quadrant.


Bhitti (TRANSIT) Yantra


This instrument built in the plane of the meridian circle ( i.e. the circle joining the south-north and the zenith point) is used for observing the zenith distance of any celestial body ( Corresponding to its mid-day)There are two nails at the top of the instrument fixed with string in the center of graduated quadrants. When the object is in the south of the prime vertical (the circle joining the east the west and the zenith point) the southern nail is to use. The northern nail is used likewise if the object is found in the north.At the time of the transit of the celestial body, the observer has to keep his eye on the string and move it forward or backward to determine the particular position of the string at which the center of the heavenly body could be seen, through the point of the intersection of the nail and the wall.The reading of the quadrant at this position gives the zenith distance.
Ephemeris (Panchang)
The observatory has been bringing out Ephemeris (Panchang) every year since 1942. The Ephemeris (Panchang) published from 1942 to 2003 are available at the office for sale.


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