The mention of airplanes is found many times throughout Vedic
literature, including the following verse from the Yajur-Veda
describing the movement of such machines:
"O royal skilled engineer,
construct sea-boats, propelled on water by our experts, and
airplanes, moving and flying upward, after the clouds that reside in
the mid-region, that fly as the boats move on the sea, that fly high
over and below the watery clouds. Be thou, thereby, prosperous in
this world created by the Omnipresent God, and flier in both air and
lightening. (Yajur Veda, 10.19)
The Rig Veda, the oldest document of the human race includes
references to the following modes of transportation:
Jalayan - a vehicle designed to operate in air and water. (Rig Veda
Kaara- Kaara- Kaara- a vehicle that operates on ground and in water. (Rig
Tritala- Tritala- Tritala- a vehicle consisting of three stories. (Rig
Trichakra Ratha - Trichakra Ratha - Trichakra Ratha - a three-wheeled
vehicle designed to operate in the air. (Rig Veda 4.36.1)
Vaayu Ratha- Vaayu Ratha- Vaayu Ratha- a gas or wind-powered chariot.
(Rig Veda 5.41.6)
Vidyut Ratha- Vidyut Ratha- Vidyut Ratha- a vehicle that operates on
power. (Rig Veda 3.14.1).
Kathasaritsagara refers to
highly talented woodworkers called Rajyadhara and
former was so skilled in mechanical contrivances that he could make
ocean crossing chariots. And the latter manufactured a flying
chariot to carry a thousand passengers in the air. These chariots
were stated to be as fast as thought itself. (source: India Through
The Ages: History, Art Culture and Religion - By G. Kuppuram p.
According to Dr. Vyacheslav Zaitsev:
"the holy Indian Sages, the
Ramayana for one, tell of "Two storied celestial chariots with many
windows" "They roar like off into the sky until they appear like
comets." The Mahabharata and various Sanskrit books describe at
length these chariots, "powered by winged lighting...it was a ship
that soared into the air, flying to both the solar and stellar
(source: Temples and
Spaceships - By V. Zaitsev - Sputnik, Jan. 1967 and Hinduism in the
Space Age - By E. Vedavyas p. 31-32).
The Arthasastra of Kautilya (c. 3rd century B.C.) mentions amongst
various tradesmen and technocrats the Saubhikas as ' pilots
conducting vehicles in the sky'. Saubha was the name of the aerial
flying city of King Harishchandra and the form 'Saubika' means 'one
who flies or knows the art of flying an aerial city.' Kautilya uses
another significant word 'Akasa Yodhinah', which has been translated
as 'persons who are trained to fight from the sky.' The existence of
aerial chariots, in whatever form it might be, was so well-known
that it found a place among the royal edicts of the Emperor Asoka
which were executed during his reign from 256 B.C. - 237 B. C. The
Vaimanika Shastra (Hindi edn) refers to about 97 works and
authorities of yore of which at least 20 works deal with the
mechanism of aerial Flying Machine, but none of these works is now
traceable. The Yuktikalpataru of Bhoja includes a reference to
aerial cars in verses 48-50 and a manuscript of the work belonging
to the Calcutta Sanskrit College dated at 1870 A.D.
We are thus in possession of some manuscript material and from the
above it appears that there were Vimanas or aircrafts in ancient
India and they followed the route over the western sea i.e. Arabian
Sea - Africa - Atlantic ocean - Latin America/Mexico, this being the
Some ships also might have followed this route, but
most of the cargo ships, however, had to follow the longer route
over the Pacific ocean via Indonesia - Polynesia - Latin
America/Mexico because of the favorable trade winds and the
equatorial currents which made the navigation easier.
And if the ancient Indians could perhaps boast of some form of air
Nazca lines of Peru acquire an added significance. Not
only the scriptural references of aircrafts and the routes of
navigation, even some base landing sites might have possibly been
found in the tangled outlines and figures in the Pampas of Nazca.
Maria Reiche, a German scientist, through her life-long
dedication studied these seriously, preserved them from destruction
and publicized them before the world. The huge figures which are
visible from the sky might have helped the ancient pilots (Sauvikas)
of India to land in Peru.
more information please refer to Chapters on Pacific, Suvarnabhumi,
War in Ancient India, Hindu Scriptures and Seafaring in Ancient
The Nazca lines of Peru seem to be landing signal for the air chariots
of pre-Colombian times. There are several references in Sanskrit
texts about the Indian Vimanas carrying kings and dignitaries to
pataldesa. Ramayana describes Ravana's flight from
to Rasatala (Peru).
Prof. D. K. Kanjilal analyses the legend of the Matsya Purana
(chapters 129) in his Vimana in Ancient India in the following
"Behind the veil of
legend and scientific truth comes out that three flying-cities were
made for and were used by the demons. Of these three, one was in a
stationary orbit in the sky, another moving in the sky and one was
permanently stationed in the ground. These were docked like modern
spaceships in the sky at particular time and at fixed
latitude/longitudes. Siva's arrow obviously referred to a
missile fired from a flying satellite specially built for the
purpose and the brunt spaceship fell in the Indian ocean. Vestiges
of onetime prosperous civilization destroyed in battles only flicker
through these legends.
These references sharply point to the use of some kind of aerial
flying vehicles known as Vimana apart from mechanical contrivances,
armored cars, various types of missiles etc. These references
sounding queer and unscientific even in recent past have been
approximated to the present-day technology through the innovation of
highly sophisticated weapons and of the space-satellites like
Mariner, Vostok, Soyuz, Aryabhatta etc. These facts require more
than a passing notice.
The flying vehicles were firstly designated Ratha (vehicle or
carriage) in the Rig Veda. Vimanas possessed a very high speed. This
aerial vehicle was triangular, large, 3-tier uneven and was piloted
by at least three persons (tribandhura). It has three wheels which
were probably withdrawn during aerial flight. In one verse the
chariot is said to have three columns. It was generally made of
anyone of the three kinds of metals, gold, silver or iron but the
metal which usually went into its make up according to the Vedic
text was gold. It looked beautiful. Long nails or rivets were
attached to it. The chariot had three types of fuel. Possessing very
fast speed, it moved like a bird in the sky soaring towards the Sun
and the Moon and used to come down to the earth with great sound".
(source: The Indians
And The Amerindians
By Dr. S. Chakravarti p.141-146).
According to Professor Dileep Kumar Kanjilal in his book,
Vimana in Ancient India:
In addition to the
Vaimanika Shashtra, the Samarangana Sutradhara and the
Yuktikalpataru of Bhoja, there are about 150 verses of the Rig Veda,
Yajurveda and the Atharvaveda, a lot of literary passages belonging
to the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Puranas, the Bhagavata and the
Raghuvamsa and some references of the darma Abhijnanasakuntalam of
Kalidasa, the Abimaraka of Bhasa, the Jatalas.
The Avadhana Literature and of the Kathasaritsagara and a number of
literary works contained either references to graphic aerial flight
or to the mechanism of the aerial vehicles used in old ages in
In the Ramayana both the words "Vimana" and
"Ratha" have been used:
asthaya...nadanadipatim (3. 35. 6-7). He boarded the aerial vehicle
with Khara which was decorated with jewels and the faces of demons
and it moved with noise resembling the sonorous clouds.
You may go to your
desired place after enticing Sita and I shall bring her to Lanka by
air.. So Ravana and Maricha boarded the aerial vehicle resembling a
palace (Vimana) from that hermitage.
Then the demons brought
the Puspaka aerial vehicle and placed Sita on it by bringing her
from the Ashoka forest and she was made to see the battle field with
This aerial vehicle
marked with Swan soared into the sky with loud noise.
Reference to Flying
vehicles as Vimana occur in the Mahabharata in about 41 places of
which the air attack of Salva on Krisna's capital
special notice. The Asura king Salva had an aerial flying machine
known as Saubha-pura in which he came to attack Dwaraka.
He began to shower hails, and missiles from the sky. As Krishna chased
him he went near the sea and landed in the high seas. Then he came
back again with his flying machine and gave a tough fight to Krishna
staying about one Krosa (about 4,000 ft) above the ground level.
Krishna at last threw a powerful ground-to-air weapon which hit the
plane in the middle and broke it into pieces. The damaged flying
machine fell into the seas. This vivid description of the air attack
occurs in the Bhagavata also. We also come across the following
references to missiles, armaments, sophisticated war-machines and
mechanical contrivances as well as to Vimanas in
The inscriptions of
emperor Asoka are by far the most authentic records in
support of the existence of aerial flying vehicles which are
mentioned as Vimana. The existence of aerial chariots in whatever
form it might be was so well-known that it found a place among the
royal edicts of the Emperor Asoka
which were executed during his reign from 256 B.C.- 237 B.C.
Vatsyana in his Kama Sutra referred to mechanical contrivances in
their origin among 64 ancillary Sciences.
The Arthasastra of Kautilya (3rd century B.C), a treatise mainly dealing with political
economy but containing information on kindred scientific topics
refers to a class of mechanic known as Saubhika...
A discussion regarding the existence of and the use of flying vehicles
in ancient India naturally waits for an advanced state of knowledge
in cosmogony. A close and careful study of the Vedic literature
shows that it was not just a collection of primeval poetry but a
varied literature of a powerful and dynamic society where the people
had the knowledge of cloud and vapor, of the season and of the
monsoon, of the different types of wind, of the expanse of the sky,
of the strength of the wind blowing at high speed and so on.
types of cloud have been referred to in the Rig Veda (1.101.4).
which also states that smoke and vapor surcharged with water turn
into cloud. Formation of vapor through heat and the subsequent
formation of cloud has been referred to in the Vedas. Indian
meteorological concepts thus date back to the age of the Rig Veda.
Dileep Kumar Kanjilal concludes that:
"With the passage of time
and due to various changes of catastrophes the machines went out of
use so that the secrets of its make-up and flying were equally lost.
That the discontinuity of technical knowledge of a particular
science within the known period of history is not an impossible
factor has been shown by the inability to explore the nature of the
rustless iron of the
pillar of Chandraketu now fixed in Delhi.
Chinese pilgrim in the 7th century A.D. referred to 7 story palaces
of which no evidence now remains. Sir P. C. Roy had shown
that during the period from 1509 B.C. up to the end of the 3rd
century B.C. methods for the large scale production of metals like
gold, silver, copper, iron, tin, lead and mercury and of alloys like
brass, bronze, and those of gold and silver with baser materials
were known. Large varieties of mineral ores, gems, and precious
stones have been described in detail by Kautilya. Knowledge
of the fermentation process also reached a fairly advanced state.
With a highly developed state of civilization flourishing in art,
culture, literature, history, medicine, alchemy, chemistry, physics,
mathematics, astronomy, and astrology, geology, trade, commerce,
shipbuilding, and agriculture it is natural to think that some sort
of flying vehicles as attested by literary references was in all
From the time of Panini
to the time of Bhoja we come across references to the great
universities of Taxila, Valabhi, Dhar, Ujjain and Visala etc.
The annals of history inform us that the depredations of the foreign
tribes began as early as the 2nd century A.D. From two centuries
later came succeeding waves of attacks of other foreign hordes like
the Arabs, Turks and Afghans. All the well known universities and
other centers of learning like the temples, the Viharas and the
Bhandaras containing books and other priceless treasures of the
Indian heritage had to stand the fire and fury of the marauders. In
the dark firmament of devastation and uncertainty a silver lining
was, however, seen in the efforts of King Bhoja in the 12th
century, when he tried to compile the Sanskrit texts. Glimpses of
old heritage survived only in the memory of the people and in stray
literary evidences. State patronization for Indian Hindu cultural
enterprises in the Turk-Afghan/Islamic period was a misnomer."
The original designation
of the flying machine was "Ratha" which gave way for
the term "Vimana". The Samarangana Sutradhara
unequivocally suggested that the design of the plane was imitated to
construct palaces. It was built by the Rbhus for the Gods. Gods as
pointed out by Sayana came from remote space in the sky above and
the obvious conclusion is that Gods as newcomers on the earth from
outer space brought in this technology. The texts of the Rig Veda
ranging from the 1st-10th Manadal refers to aerial flying machines
as Ratha. In the Yajurveda which is considered chronologically later
than the Rig Veda followed by other Brahmanas, the name
These vehicles were
multi-shaped. But the triangular or quadrangular pattern survived
owing to their practical utility. Puspaka the aerial vehicle
survived in use because of its practical usefulness. In the Vedic
texts the configuration of the machines has been broadly shown as
triangular. The inside area as it can be gathered from the text was
about 9 ft X 9 ft. = 81 sq. ft capable of accommodating 7/8 persons.
In a triangular delta wing type this can be easily be made conical
to give it greater feasibility and maneuverability.
The descriptions of the flying aerial cities in the Mahabharata
seem to indicate a higher degree of scientific achievement and
technical skill as the flying cities moved high up above the region
of the clouds and very probably in the exosphere region. We have
earliest temple design in a seal of the Harmika-sira temple built by King Hubiska at Buddha Gaya of the 1st century B.C. which is a
rectangular based conical construction. The Virupaksa Temple of Pattakada, of 740 A.D. has a long rectangular base developed into a
tapering square or hexagonal construction upwards imitate the Trivistapa type. The overall structural similarity of the temples
with a modern helicopter gives
overt cognizance to the Samarangana Sutradhara that temples were
designed after the models of the flying machines. Even the giant
Konaraka temple which resembles the chariot of Surya (Sun God) was
of octagonal pattern on large rectangular base measuring 100 ft X
100 ft. X 100 ft.
Vimana in Ancient India - By Dileep Kumar Kanjilal Sanskrit Pustak
Bhandar Calcutta 1985 p. 11-99).
Here is a survey of some fascinating articles and quotes:
"One time while King Citaketu was traveling in outer space on a brilliantly effulgent
airplane given to him by Lord Vishnu, he saw Lord Siva..." "The
arrows released by Lord Siva appeared like fiery beams emanating
from the sun globe and covered the three residential airplanes,
which could then no longer be seen."
Bhagavatam, Sixth Canto, Part 3)
"The so-called ‘Rama Empire’ of Northern India and
Pakistan developed at least fifteen thousand years ago on the Indian
sub-continent and was a nation of many large, sophisticated cities,
many of which are still to be found in the deserts of Pakistan,
northern, and western India. Rama...was ruled by ‘enlightened
Priest-Kings’ who governed the cities. The seven greatest capital
cities of Rama were known in classical Hindu texts as ‘The Seven Rishi Cities’. According to ancient Indian texts, the people had
flying machines which were called ‘vimanas’. The ancient Indian epic
describes a vimana as a double- deck, circular aircraft with
portholes and a dome, much as we would imagine a flying saucer. It
flew with the "speed of the wind" and gave forth a ‘melodious
sound’. There were at least four different types of vimanas;
saucer shaped, others like long cylinders (‘cigar shaped
D. Hatcher Childress, "Ancient Indian Aircraft Technology" In The
" An aerial chariot, the
Pushpaka, conveys many people to the capital
of Ayodhya. The sky is full of stupendous flying-machines, dark as
night, but picked out by lights with a yellowish glare."
of Bhavabhuti - A Jain text of the eighth century culled from older
texts and traditions)
poems, thought to be the oldest of all the Indian texts, describe
vimanas of various shapes and sizes: the ‘ahnihotra-vimana’ with two
engines, the ‘elephant-vimana’ with more engines, and other types
named after the kingfisher, ibis and other animals."
D. Hatcher Childress, "Ancient Indian Aircraft Technology" In
The Anti-Gravity Handbook
"Now Vata’s chariot’s
greatness! Breaking goes it, And Thunderous is its noise, To heaven
it touches, Makes light lurid [a red fiery glare], and whirls dust
upon the earth."
- Vata is the Aryan god of wind)
In the Vedic literature of
India, there are many descriptions of flying machines that are
generally called vimanas. These fall into two categories:
manmade craft that resemble airplanes and fly with the aid of
(2) unstreamlined structures that fly in a
mysterious manner and are generally not made by human beings
machines in category (1) are described mainly in medieval, secular
Sanskrit works dealing with architecture, automata, military siege
engines, and other mechanical contrivances. Those in category (2)
are described in ancient works such as the Rig Veda, the
Mahabharata, the Ramayana, and the Puranas, and they have many
features reminiscent of UFOs. "There are ancient Indian accounts of
manmade wooden vehicles that flew with wings in the manner of modern
airplanes. Although these wooden vehicles were also called vimanas,
most vimanas were not at all like airplanes. The more typical
vimanas had flight characteristics resembling those reported for
UFOs, and the being associated with them were said to possess powers
similar to those presently ascribed to UFO entities. An interesting
example of a vimana is the flying machine which Salva, an ancient
Indian king, acquired from Maya Danava, an inhabitant of a planetary
system called Taltala.
L. Thompson, Alien Identities)
"The cruel Salva had come
mounted on the Saubha chariot that can go anywhere, and from it he
killed many valiant Vrishni youths and evilly devastated all the
There is this account by
the hero Krishna that is suggestive of more modern weapons. As he
takes to the skies in pursuit of Salva:
"His Saubha clung to the
sky at a league’s length...He threw at me rockets, missiles, spears,
spikes, battle-axes, three-bladed javelins, flame-throwers, without
pausing....The sky...seemed to hold a hundred suns, a hundred
moons...and a hundred myriad stars. Neither day nor night could be
made out, or the points of compass."
"The airplane occupied by Salva was very mysterious. It was so
extraordinary that sometimes many airplanes would appear to be in
the sky, and sometimes there were apparently none. Sometimes the
plane was visible and sometimes not visible, and the warriors of the
Yadu dynasty were puzzled about the whereabouts of the peculiar
Sometimes they would see the airplane on the ground,
sometimes flying in the sky, sometimes resting on the peak of a hill
and sometimes floating on the water. The wonderful airplane flew in
the sky like a whirling firebrand - it was not steady even for a
BANGALORE, OCTOBER 11
India may have had a superior civilization with possible contacts with
extraterrestrial visitors, and the flying devices called 'Vimanas'
described in ancient Indian texts may underline their possible
connections with today's aerospace technology, an Italian scientist
told the World Space Conference here today.
asked the delegates to examine in detail the Hindu texts instead of
dismissing all the Vimana descriptions and traditions as mere
myth. "The importance of such studies and investigations
could prove to be shocking for today's man because the existence of
flying devices beyond mythology can only be explained with a
forgotten superior civilization on earth," he said. Pointing out
that Indian Gods and heroes fought in the skies using piloted
vehicles with terrible weapons.
Dr. Pinotti said they were similar to modern jet
propelled flying machines. 32 secrets: He said certain descriptions
of the Vimanas seemed 'too detailed and technical in nature to be
labeled as myth.' He cited various texts to show there were 32
secrets relating to the operation of Vimanas, some of which could be
compared to modern day use of radar, solar energy and photography.
Quoting from 'Vymanika Shastra' he said the ancient flying devices
of India were made from special heat absorbing metals named 'Somaka,
Soundalike and Mourthwika.'
He said the text also discussed the
seven kinds of mirror and lenses installed aboard for defensive and
offensive uses. The so-called 'Pinjula Mirror' offered a sort of
'visual shield' preventing the pilots from being blinded by 'evil
rays' and the weapon 'Marika' used to shoot enemy aircraft 'does not
seem too different from what we today called laser technology,' he
According to the Italian
expert, the 'principles of Page 1 propulsion as far as the
descriptions were concerned, might be defined as electrical and
chemical but solar energy was also involved'. For instance, the
'Tripura Vimana' mentioned in 'Vymanika Shastra' was a large craft
operated by 'motive power generated by solar rays,' Dr.
Pinotti said, adding 'its elongated form was surely much
closer to that of a modern blimp.'
According to Dr. Pinotti, the huge 'Shakuna Vimana'
in the text 'might be defined as a cross between a plane and a
rocket of our times and its design might remind one of today's space
shuttle.' 'Surely, it expresses the most complex and sophisticated
aeronautical design among all the other descriptions of Vimanas
mentioned in the 'Vymanika Shastra,' he said.
He described the author of the treatise 'Vymanika Shastra' as a
man 'attempting to explain an advanced technology.' Dr. Pinotti, who has made an exhaustive study of the history of
Indian astronautics, said another text, Samaraanganasutraadhaara had
230 stanzas devoted to the principles of building Vimanas and their
use in peace and war. He said ancient Aryans knew the use of the
element 'fire' as could be seen from their 'Astra' weapons that
included Soposamhara (flame belching missile), Prasvapna (which
caused sleep) and four kinds of Agni Astras that traveled in sheets
of flame and produced thunder. He said the car that was supposed to
go up to Suryamandal (solar system) and the Naksatramandala (stellar
system) cannot be dismissed as a myth because of the 'technical
nature' of its description. Dr. Pinotti said
depictions of space travel, total destruction by incredible weapons
and the fact that Vimanas resembled modern unidentified flying
objects would suggest that India had a 'superior but forgotten
civilization.' 'In the light of this, we think it will be better to
examine the Hindu texts' and subject the descriptive models of
Vimanas to more scientific scrutiny,' he said.
Jerry W. Decker, Ron
Barker, Chuck Henderson