About the Book
Sawai Jai Singh, the statesman scholar of 18th
Century India, designed astronomical instruments and built five observatories
in the cities of north India. His instruments are fine examples of stone and
masonry devices built in the pre-telescopic era in India. His high precision
instruments meaure angle to the very limit of naked eye observer. Sawai Jai
Singh and his Observatories describe Jai Singh’s instruments and observatories
in detail. These also examine questions such as why Jai Singh opted for non-telescopic
instruments in a telescopic age, and why he failed to usher in the Copernican
revolution in astronomy in India.
About the Author
Virendra Nath Sharma is an Emeritus Professor of Astronomy and Physics at
the University of Wisconsin- Fox. Valley Center, U.SA. He received his M.Sc.
from the Agra University, India and Ph.D. from the Colorado State University,
Fort Collins, Colorado, U.S.A.
Around 1978, I first became interested in Sawai
Jai Singh’s instruments. Jai Singh built his masonry instruments in the day and
age of the telescope. The question, why someone would build instruments of
masonry and stone in the age of the telescope, intrigued me. There were no
convincing answers in the existing literature. I also found that literature on
Jai Singh’s astronomical endeavors was scanty. In fact, the last authentic book
on Jai Singh’s instruments had been written almost 60 years ago. Trying to seek
answer to the question why Jai Singh built his instruments the way he did, and
also to learn more about the instruments, I researched primary sources and
investigated the instruments in detail. The effort resulted in a book, Sawai
Jai Singh and His Astronomy.
The present book is an abridged version of my Sawai
Jai Singh and His Astronomy. It will be useful to those people who are
interested primarily in Jai Singh’s instruments and observatories and not so
much in his astronomical program in general.
Sawai Jai Singh and His Times
Jaipur Observatory I
Jaipur Observatory II
The Observatory of Mathura
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