Astronomical Architecture

Anisha Shekhar Mukherji is an architect with an appreciation of history. Her recent book is on the Jantar Mantar: Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh’s Observatory in Delhi.

The huge and arresting forms of the Jantar Mantar, despite looming large on Delhi’s historical and architectural horizon for almost 300 years, still evade consensus on when they were built, why and how they were made and used, and what exactly is their cultural and historical value today.

This Friday evening (18 February, 2011) she will talk at the India International Centre, New Delhi on The Enigma of The Delhi Jantar Mantar. The lecture addresses one of the world’s most unusual and intriguing works of architecture, Jantar Mantar with its little known facets, context, form and function as well as the appropriate ways in which it should be conserved. Arising out of her association with the ‘Jantar Mantar Project’, and extensive research for her recently published book Jantar Mantar, the talk aims to bring authentic information into the public domain about this historic Observatory. In addition to clarifying the context, form and function of the Jantar Mantar, and its transformation into ‘an archaeological monument’, the talk will also address the appropriate ways in which the Delhi Jantar Mantar should beconserved to ensure its continued existence in the physical and cultural landscape of India and the world.

Anisha Mukherji, a trained architect with a specialisation in conservation, has a particular interest in the research, teaching and application of history. Her earlier published works include The Red Fort of Shahjahanabad (Oxford University Press 2003). The book is widely recognized as one of the most authoritative pieces of research and analysis of the Red Fort and has been an important reference for the case of its inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List. She is the conservation consultant associated with the formulation and implementation of a conservation strategy for the ‘Jantar Mantar Project’―a partnership venture between the Archaeological Survey of India, the National Culture Fund and The Park Hotels.

Jantar Mantar is  222 pages in softcover, Rs 680. ISBN: 9788190359115