The Jaivana cannon is the largest wheeled cannon ever constructed. It is located at the Jaigarh Fort, Jaipur. It was cast in 1720, during the reign of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II of Jaipur. The formidable strength of its builder, the scientifically inclined warrior Sawai Jai Singh II, lay in the large number of artillery and copious supply of munitions which he maintained. Jaivan rests on a high 4 wheeled carriage. The front wheels are 2.74 m in diameter and the rear wheels are 1.37 m in diameter.
The length of the barrel of the cannon is 20 feet 2 inches and it weighs 50 tons.
Blast from the PastAuthor: Rohit Parihar
Publication: India Today
Date: July 12, 2004
Introduction: Efforts are on to give a facelift to a foundry producing weapons of massive dimensions in Jaipur
Legend has it that when Jaivana, the world's largest cannon on wheels at the Jaigarh Fort in Amer, Rajasthan, was fired, expectant mothers living nearby suffered miscarriages. But the foundry that made and assembled this massive weapon in 1720-it was then one of the world's oldest cannon factories-is falling apart and efforts to restore it to its former glory are on.
Its sheer size gives some idea of what a monumental task Jaivana's manufacture might have been. The 50 tonne cannon rests on six massive wheels, each 9 ft in circumference. The cannon is 31 ft long with a 20 ft barrel that can be raised or lowered by an 8 ft tall elevating screw. Four elephants were used to rotate it. The cannon is believed to have been fired only once- towards Chakshu, 22 km away. About 100 kg of explosives launched a 50 kg iron ball which created a huge depression when it landed. It is a pond now.
Jaigarh Fort was built in the 11th century and developed under Raja Man Singh, a trusted general of Emperor Akbar. Man Singh learned about casting cannons while serving in Afghanistan. He set up the gun foundry complex in 1584. Now, Kunwar Narendra Singh, son-in-law of Jaipur's erstwhile Maharaja Bhawani Singh, is restoring the factory that produced thousands of cannons for close to three centuries before shutting down owing to lack of demand.
The most prominent features of the cannon complex are the giant wheels with teeth measuring 9 inches for rotating cutters to drill holes in mammoth barrels. Each cutter is 9 ft long. Four pairs of bulls rotated the gear system made from thick wooden crossbars fixed to a central beam. It is these wooden parts that have eroded and need repair. Narendra Singh has hired a master carpenter to work on the missing parts. Delhi's National Museum too has been approached for help. Since the erstwhile kings used to supervise the making of cannons themselves, the royal pavilion where they were seated is also being renovated. In addition, a support system is being fabricated to ease the burden on the wheels of Jaivana that are wearing out under the cannon's weight.
With government assistance Narendra Singh believes the factory will once again produce cannons-mini replicas of the original. With its ancient heritage restored, it could also mean a tourist boom for Jaigarh.