Even though there is no dearth of scientific gadgets and instruments to predict the monsoon, the astrologers in Jaipur are sticking with the centuries’ old tradition of predictions after analysing wind direction at the India's oldest astronomical observatory, the Jantar Mantar.
“'We predict the good rains, says Pundit Akhilesh, after the analysing the direction of the wind.
The astrologers, however, also underlined the problem of mushrooming high-rise buildings in Jaipur, which, they said, were putting a spanner in smooth flow of the wind.
''The method of analysing wind to predict the monsoon is scientific. Since it has been based on wind direction, we face problems because of the obstacle created by high rise buildings in natural blow of wind, said Dr Vinod Sharma, head of Astrological Department in Sanskrit University in Jaipur.
The scholars and astrologers gathered at Jantar Mantar recently and climbed over the 90 feet high Samrat Yantra, the largest instrument of the observatory, and spent quite some time on top to study the wind direction.
'' The flow of eastern wind confirms that there would be good monsoon rains, said Pundit Satish Chandra Sharma, who has been visiting the Jantar Mantar every year to forecast the rains.
''The Smarat Yantra is 90 feet high and we use a flag in the air, that makes the height 115ft, but now we find that the high-rise structures create problem in the wind direction, Dr Vinod said.
The UNESCO had listed the Jantar Mantar in its world heritage list.
According to the superintendent of the observatory, Om Prakash Sharma, the observatory was constructed by Jaipur's then ruler Jai Singh, who had great interest in astronomy.
‘‘He had built five observatories at five different locations including Delhi, but the Jaipur observatory is largest and well managed, he said.
The observatory has 14 major geometric devices for measuring time, predicting eclipses, tracking location of stars as the earth orbits around the sun, but for forecasting the monsoon rain, the scholars used the Smarat Yantra.
‘‘It is first time in last few years the wind direction sounded a good monsoon rains as well as crops, Pundit Vinod said.