The mornings in the hotel were always a pleasing one with courteous and helpful staff prompt with their services. I guess with Ujjain and its people, one can expect nothing but the best behavior considering the Gods that reside in their lands. Well, realistically one can just hope. I had no reason whatsoever to complain because so far my experience in Ujjain was turning out to be superb. I had plans to visit the Vedha Shala, Ujjain and the same driver was at my disposal to take me around.
Constructed by the great Maharaja Sawai Raja Jaisingh, the observatory was ready by 1719. He was the Governor at Malwa, which was then under the rule of King Muhammad Shah. Raja Jaisingh happened to be a great scholar and a real expert in the subject of astronomy. At his behest several astronomical and mathematical instruments were placed in the observatory but pity the structure was largely neglected in the following years. The guide expanded further by informing me that it was through the renewed efforts of Late Maharaja Madhav Rao Scindia that the place was restored to its former glory. The observatory had many remarkable instruments in place, which looked magical if one had to consider the age they were built in. I looked at them trying to understand all that the guide was telling me. The ‘Shanku Yantra’ helped determine the angle of length and the distance of the sun while the ‘Nadi Valay Yantra’ helped to know the exact time in Ujjain through the projection of shadows. There was the Sun-Dial and other Yantras that felicitated astronomy and its concepts even in those ages.
With the sun scorching above us, the guide moved from one object to the other, explaining things to me, some I understood and some I pretended to but the fact that such concepts were understandable to people of those times was note worthy. The trip to Vedha Shala, Ujjain was an eye-opener of sorts and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I climbed the car again to go to the Kalidasa Academy, Ujjain and was smiling to myself as the day was getting more and more interesting.