Yasuko's Room
Contributed by Yasuko Seki

A Tour of Indian Buildings<6> Freedom of only one day in Delhi
By Yasuko Seki

2006/08/30

The whole view of Jantarmantar
The time we got to Delhi, the final destination of this tour, having flied from Dacca via Calcutta was around 10pm. We originally planned to have the last banquet there to cerebrate the successful trip in India. Unfortunately, however, all the restaurants there were already closed. The only place that was open was a cafeteria open for 24 hours. We, a kind of reluctantly, went there and ordered hamburgers and french-fries.



One of the equipments to observe
celestial movement


Buildings in Jantarmantar

Photos:SEKI
The last day of our stay in India came and the free time at my disposal given by the members who had been crazily busy visiting the architectures by Corbusier and Kahn from early mornings until late at nights was as short as a half day. It was absolutely impossible for me to do everything I’d planned to do such as shopping, exploration of the city, getting the esthetic therapies of Ayurveda and tasting ultimate Indian cuisine in such a short time. I reluctantly gave up Ayurveda and hurried to the downtown. Alas! It was Sunday and all the commercial facilities were closed!
Not being daunted, I went to the astronomical observatory of, ‘Jantarmantar’ , which seemed to me to take around 1 hour to see all. The astronomical observatory of this kind can be found in many places in India such as Ujjain、Banaras、Mathura and so on. The biggest among them is the one in Jaipur. They were built by the King Jaising at the beginning of 18th Century for the observation of celestial movement. The buildings designed for a sundial, a transit instrument, an alidade instrument are of beautiful forms as those of the architectures of Expressionism.
Well, this one in, ‘ Jantarmantar ‘ in Delhi is now like a theme park. Indian can enter it free of charge but foreigners have to pay rather high entrance admission, considering the average of commodity prices in India, though I forgot exactly how much I had to pay. The inside of the park was neatly and orderly arranged, which allowed me to experience the dreamy lives of Maha Rajas around 300 years ago. If we played hide-and-seek here, what a great joy it would be!
India is now attracting people’s attention from all over the world as one of BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China), the countries that are expected to make great economic development. Apart from its progress from the economic viewpoint, what architectural cultures will it create in the near future? Whatever ones they may be, they should be achieved by Indians for the sake of Indians. After watching the buildings designed by Corbusier and Khan, I, who wants to come here again to practice Ayurveda I gave up this time, think a thing like this.


A Tour of Indian Buildings 1-6
Translated by Yuji Tazaki