About three hundred years back, Maharaja Swai Jai Singh the Second, performed an Ashavmedh Yajna near Jal Mahal just before laying the foundation stone of the new capital, the present day Jaipur, of the Kacchwaha kingdom.
On March 11, a group people of the state capital, re-enacted the ceremony. But their aim was different. They wanted to revive the Hindu traditions of observing the new year, Nav Sanwantsar. The group led by Suresh Mishra, president Rajasthan Brahmin Mahasabha, noted astrologer Kedar Sharma, Rajput leader Lokender Singh Kalvi, industrialist Satish Katta, Mahant Sitaram Das, Mahant Purshottam Bharati and social activist, R.S. Jaimni, performed the Puja at the same place, where Maharaja Swai Jai Singh did. It evoked the curiosity among the people, who had gathered there to watch the ceremony. The group, Sanskriti Avam Golok Sansthan, made this Ashvamedh yajna a symbol to spread the message of Nav Sanwantsar, the beginning of the Hindu new year.
A decorated Ashva (horse) with a Chatri on its back, undertook the Ashavmedh yatra of the city for next seven days. On different days, the decorated horse started his journey from a prominent temple to take a round of the area. At places, the horse was received even by the Muslims, Mahants and other people, moving with horse, were telling the people, the importance of Sanwantsar and impressing upon them to celebrate their own new year with gaiety. The Ashva attracted big crowd, wherever it went and there was rush to perform the puja of the horse
Later a 551 Kundi yajna was organised at the same venue, where Ashvamedh Satambh, was built by the Maharaja Jaipur as memorial of the Ashvamedh yajna. According to Shri Mishra, this kind of yajna has been performed in the city after a gap of 307 years, when it was first performed by Swai Jai Singh.
The Sansthan, for the past seven years, was engaged in observing the Nav Sanwantsar. But it was on a limited scale. But this year, the group decided to make it big, to inspire the younger generation to observe their own new year and not the Christian new year, which has nothing to do with the age-old tradition and culture of the country.
As they rulers themselves were scholars, they built Jantar Mantar in Delhi and also one in Jaipur. Though, the Jantar Mantar on Parliament street in Delhi, is more of a tourist spot, but the Jantar Mantar in Jaipur is still very much in use.
Every year, on an appointed day, the scholars would assembled at the Jantar Mantar and on the basis of astronomical calculations, for which the Jantar Mantar was built, would predict the monsoon rain. There are still good number of scholars in the city, who are well versed with the functioning of the Jantar Mantar and often their predictions are more correct than the met department.