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It was cast in 1720, by Jai Singh II of Jaipur the administrator of Jaigarh Fort during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah. 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. Four elephants were used to swivel it around on its axis.
The length of the barrel of the cannon is 6.15 m (20.2 ft) and it weighs 50 tons. The circumference near the tip of the barrel is 2.2 m (7.2 ft) and that of the rear is 2.8 m (9.2 ft). The diameter of the bore of the barrel is 28 cm (11 in) and the thickness of the barrel at the tip is 21.6 cm (8.5 in). The thickness gradually increases as one moves towards the rear of the barrel. The two thick rings on the barrel were used for lifting it with the help of a crane which, though incomplete, is still lying in Jaigarh. A 776-millimetre-long (30.6 in) elevating screw was used for raising and lowering the barrel.
The barrel has floral design. An elephant rests on the tip of the barrel and a pair of peacocks are carved in the center. A pair of ducks also decorates the rear of the barrel.
Jaivan rests on a high two-wheeled carriage. The wheels are 1.37 m (4.5 ft) in diameter. The carriage is equipped with two removable additional wheels for transport. The removable wheels are 2.74 m (9.0 ft) in diameter.
About 100 kg (220 lb) of gunpowder fired a shot ball weighing 50 kg (110 lb).
Jaivana and its firing power
The uses and range of the cannon and cannonballs vary over different sources.
The Jaivana Cannon was only fired once by the Jai Singh II, as a test-fire in 1720 and the then Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah is known to have attended the event before ousting the Sayyid Brothers from power. The most exaggerated myth claims that the weapon had a range of 40 km (25 mi), other sources say it is 35, 22 and 11 km (6.8 mi), although the exact range could perhaps never be determined without adequate scientific computation. Most sources, including local tourist guides agree that it was fired in the direction of Chaksu. The impact is said by many locals and tourist guides to be powerful enough to have caused a depression where a pond can be seen today.
Legend also says that when it was about to be shot, it was kept near a water tank. This was kept there for the gunner to dive in and escape the shock waves. But during the shot, he and eight other soldiers along with one elephant were reportedly killed due to the shockwaves. Many small houses in Jaipur collapsed as well.
- Tsar Cannon
- List of the largest cannon by caliber
- 1957 movie The Pride and the Passion. A large fictional cannon in that movie has a nearly identical carriage and similar size. The fictional cannon may have been inspired by this gun.
R.S. Khangarot, P.S. Nathawat- Jaigarh the invincible fort of Amber(1990), Raj Kmar Parnami, RBSA Publishers, Jaipur