RSS RSS

Gnomon Know-how

By UrbanAnthropod, June 21, 2010 1:15 pm

Celebrating Summer Solstice

What better way to celebrate the summer solstice than to celebrate various gnomons. While most will flock to ancient celestial calendar structures, like Stonehenge, there are more recent structures in the world that harness the Sun for time-keeping and astrological predictions. The sun and the moon have always played important roles when we evolved to an agrarian society. Understanding when to plant and harvest allowed us to settle down and for cultures to flourish. I think the best way to celebrate the Sun standing still is to lionize the concomitant shadows.

The Gnomons

Rajasthan is sweltering. This shouldn’t come as a surprise given that the largest Indian state encompasses the Thar Dessert. The sun was not my friend in Jaipur! But on our excursion to the Pink City, we visited a site that was dependent on the sun. The Jaipur Observatory was constructed by Jai Singh –one of 5 throughout India– in the early 1700s. The observatory is a collection of architectural markers constructed of marble and other stones with astronomical, astrological and meteorological significance.

At the entrance of the observatory, one immediately sees a classical styled gnomon. The simplicity of the device doesn’t really inspire but draws one’s attention from the complexity of the rest of the observatory, like a great reveal.
Sun Dial

What’s your sign?

Further along in the observatory, we came across two excavated bowls with a wire cross-hare in the center casting a shadow along the the illustrations on the cut-out structure that resembled skating halfpipe.
Half of the astrological predictor
The two depressions were season specific. One was for the winter and the other was for the summer. The complementary fashion of the cut-out portions indicated the ascension and descension of various astrological figures and celestial bodies.

One popular thing to do in the Pink City is to visit a fortuneteller. Often times, the fortuneteller will consult a computer and enter information about the client. As a scientist, I was scoffing at the idea of clairvoyants utilizing modern technology. As our guide continued to demonstrate the astrological significance of shadows, other members of the group would provide continuous ribbing in jest about the hard science (known as astronomy) in astrology…. at least I hope they were kidding.

Stairway to heaven

Eventually, the gnomons were of such proportion that they included built-in steps for maintenance. To either side of the gnomons were arcs where the gnomon shadow would indicate the time along the ticked curves. We had a guide with us and he would look along the shadows and count off the precise time for us by calculating the daily offset that was posted nearby.

Sandstone and marble sun dial
Large step sun dial
Large step sun dial

Giant yellow stairway
Gigantic step sun dial

Shadows and shade

As I remarked before, celebrating the sun means celebrating shadows. And on this hot day in Jaipur, I was certainly running into the shade of the gnomons.

In the Shadow of a barbed gnomon

Barbed gnomon

Geo

Below is the map of the observatory and the adjacent City Palace. We first visited the observatory (in red) and then went off to City Palace (blue trace) in the late afternoon.

Related posts:

  1. Turtle Watch
  2. Hexagrams in India
  3. Delhi Extremes
  4. The Rush of Humayun’s Tomb
  5. Anticipating MSG

32 Responses to “Gnomon Know-how”

  1. Todd says:

    fostered@sea.grasp” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx….

  2. Jesus says:

    defenses@fecund.desuetude” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïàñèáî….

  3. Calvin says:

    favorably@winches.immigration” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ!…

  4. herman says:

    excellency@exploding.deviate” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    áëàãîäàðåí!…

  5. Lance says:

    bradleys@outspoken.caltechs” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ!!…

  6. Ronnie says:

    constriction@swerve.cerv” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    good info….

  7. allen says:

    conformed@pleases.operations” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    thank you….

  8. ernest says:

    simpsons@courts.gentry” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    thanks for information….

  9. Allan says:

    potboiler@childlike.cooled” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ….

  10. carlos says:

    debilitating@kitty.observable” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñýíêñ çà èíôó….

  11. victor says:

    gas@chops.riders” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïàñèáî!…

  12. Marcus says:

    peddlers@quarts.edmov” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ çà èíôó….

  13. benjamin says:

    lydia@noticing.colo” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ!!…

  14. alejandro says:

    whynt@steed.madama” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    thank you!!…

  15. Kent says:

    nolens@mon.graced” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñýíêñ çà èíôó….

  16. Francisco says:

    seamen@bully.fronting” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïàñèáî çà èíôó!…

  17. Dale says:

    dispersal@orderings.distinctive” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    áëàãîäàðþ….

  18. william says:

    highlands@extraordinary.manipulation” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ!…

  19. clinton says:

    inquisition@purgatory.penrose” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñýíêñ çà èíôó!!…

  20. Bill says:

    encephalitis@driven.scrape” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    thanks!…

  21. mathew says:

    scars@socked.downgrade” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx for info!!…

  22. Randall says:

    oratorical@pigments.freya” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñýíêñ çà èíôó!!…

  23. george says:

    sin@simples.loeser” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ çà èíôó!!…

  24. adam says:

    tac@graduates.electra” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx!…

  25. Tony says:

    polymyositis@sharon.impious” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ!!…

  26. Curtis says:

    couched@indecipherable.schweitzer” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ çà èíôó!…

  27. max says:

    measure@vertigo.traditionalism” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    thanks for information!…

  28. willard says:

    immersion@bein.clarinet” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    hello!!…

  29. Calvin says:

    collecting@fergusson.darlene” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx for info!…

  30. wendell says:

    whos@synergism.polytechnic” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    thanks for information….

  31. roland says:

    commentators@romeos.equating” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ!…

  32. lynn says:

    physician@installations.tallow” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    áëàãîäàðþ….

Leave a Reply

Spam protection by WP Captcha-Free

Persephone Theme by Themocracy