Maharaja Jai Singh, who built the fabled pink city of Jaipur, was moved by two seemingly conflicting sets of mythic ideas and images. On the one hand there was the ancient Navgraha (the mandala of the nine planets)-and on the other, the newest myths of Science and Progress (e.g., the Jantar Mantar, the astronomical Instruments he constructed to measure, with the greatest possible scientific accuracy, the movement of sun and stars across the skies).

Thus the city of Jaipur, double coded like Jai Singh himself, is truly astonishing for its synthesis of past and future, of the material and metaphysical words. In this, Jai Singh is indeed analogous to another man, born more than two centuries later,, India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Guiding the nation after Independence, Nehru wanted to re-discover India’s past whilst simultaneously opening the door to a new future.

Thus this Arts Centre, dedicated to Nehru, is really a metaphor for both men- and for Jaipur itself. Like them and like the city, it is double-coded: a contemporary building based on an archaic  notion of the Cosmos:- the very same Navgraha mandala, with one of the squares moved aside , to recall the gesture that created the original plan for Jaipur.