Thursday, 1 July 2010
Caught in Clocks
In the heat, in the city, my mind is working more than the rest of me. I am hiding out in memories until the weather breaks, and so I thought I would post some old photos of a place my mind keeps turning around on recently... Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.
Built in the early 1700s by Maharaja Jai Sing II of Jaipur in order to chart heavenly bodies, increase astrological knowledge, and revise the calendar, it is still standing, but no longer functional. But there are four other similar observatories in other cities, three of which are still working. Of the two observatories we saw in India when we visited a few years ago, this one was the more beautiful, and had the nicest atmosphere. Families strolled through the observatory, leisurely climbing stairs, calmly considering each angle.
Modern office buildings have pushed up around the edges of the observatory, which sits still like a ghost of dusty old strivings for cosmic understanding and order. We arrived just before sunset, and as the day went out we felt small as we wandered through, peered around, stepped over and under this giant astronomical instrument. Like being caught in a celestial pocket watch.