JAIPUR: Astrologers are mostly known for predicting people's future but in Jaipur's Jantar Mantar they gather every year on Guru Purnima during the month of Ashadha of the Hindu calendar to know the future of the rainfall. In an age-old tradition, they ascertain the direction of the winds to make an estimate of the rainfall.
A unique way to predict rains in Pink City has been used since the royal times, a tradition which has been followed for over 200 years now. One such astronomical instrument is known as “Samrat Yantra” which is the largest equinoctial sun dial in the world and is declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The height of the Yantra is 90 meters from the ground, highest at the time when Jaipur was established as a city.
The eve of 'Ashad Purnima' or 'Guru Purnima', the full moon day in the months of July-August, is considered the holiest and most auspicious day to predict monsoon rains. After observing the direction and the intensity of winds at a particular time, the sky is seen on Guru Purnima which helps in forecasting the awaited monsoon.
Rainfall is forecast for a 100 km circumference checking the direction of air by blowing the flag at the peak of Samrat yantra. "In the test, velocity of air from west to east went to the 'Ishan Kon'. From this, there are signs of less rainfall, sporadic rainfall and excessive rainfall in various areas, "said Prof. Vinod Shastri, an astrologer and former Vice Chancellor of the Sanskrit University.
Pandit Rampal Sharma said that the wind from east and north angle holds a lot of significance. There is fear of famine due to air from 'Agnikon'.
Popularly known as the Pink City, Jaipur receives rather limited rainfall, has no connecting river and the available water resources have almost run dry – as a result, the 40-lakh population of the city anxiously awaits the blessings of the Rain God Indra.
The short spell of rains in July disapeared quickly which has made the residents of the city uneasy about the future course of the monsoon this year. A recent spell of rain was cheerful but short lived and now the sky is cloudless for over a week adding to the heat and humidity. A popular topic of conversation all around Jaipur is the prediction of arrival of rains - which everyone tries to guess like an expert.
Shivdutt Sharma who knows a lot about the history of Jaipur and its traditions said, “Previously the flag used for observing the wind’s flow and direction was worshipped one month prior to the aashad shukla poornima. At the time of sunset all prominent scholars and astrologers of the city used to gather around the flag. After worshipping the flag with specific mantras and rituals and prayers were offered and then the flag was taken to the highest point of the samrat yantra. The flow and direction of the flag was observed for two minutes and then the predictions were made following a few discussions.
The members of the royal family used to host this event. Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh himself was a great scholar and an astrologer who helped build this wonderful observatory. Omprakash Sharma, former superintendent of Jantar Mantar, said, "This test has been happening since the time of the British rule and the they also came to see it."
According to the state meteorological department, monsoon in Rajasthan is giving rains to the northern region and the Himalayas. Less pressure region is built over Rajasthan now which has led to no rainfall. Now the experts are waiting for the pressure region to come over the state and monsoon to start again.
“It is a more accurate method than today’s modern science in forecasting rains,” says Vinod Shastri, Although the accuracy of these predictions is anybody's guess, the people in the desert state await these predictions with great anticipation as meteorological predictions about the monsoon have been very dicey.