Cosmic architecture in India: the astronomical monuments of Maharaja Jai Singh II
The observatories built in the eighteenth century by the Indian Maharaja Jai Singh II of Jaipur (1686-1743) are little understood wonders of architecture and science. Cosmic Architecture in India is a major contribution to the understanding of these mysterious buildings and to the history of astronomical science. Fully illustrated with color photographs, technical drawings, and contextual illustrations this volume sheds new light on these fascinating monuments.
Situated in Delhi, Jaipur, Benares, Ujjain and Mathura, the buildings show no similarities with contemporary Mogul architecture -- indeed their simple geometrical forms inspired Le Corbusier, the great modernist. So what was the real significance of these observatories?
In a fascinating investigation Andreas Volwahsen reveals how Hindu priests and mystics as well as Indian mandala theory were the main influences on Jai Singh's architectural projects. Rather than the accurate measurement of the heavens -- for which the observatories were in any case useless -- the Maharaja's aim was to create a representation of his own earthly powers, and ultimately display his own superior knowledge.
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Maharaja Jai Singh II and his Observatories
THE OBSERVATORY OF JAI SINGH IN JAIPUR
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