We all been known that flight was shaped into reality by the great Wright brothers and it was because of them we were able to live our dreams. But surprisingly some researchers have founded out that humans achieved flight in earlier history. This tells us that Aeronautics do existed in the early 20th century. So let’s have a look at the oldest version of Indian Aeronautics.
We can find some enthralling facts about flying machines and science fiction weapons in the ancient Vedas, Indian epics and Sanskrit text.
First let us have a look at the Vedas.
The flying machines in the Vedic literature of India are usually termed as “Vimanas” which is a Sanskrit word with the meaning ‘having been measured’ or ‘apart’. The ancient Indians considered the flying machines as a mythological one which is capable of travelling into space and underwater and can be used at the warfare.
The concept behind the Vimana is simple. There will be always an extra seat available in the Vimana immaterial how many number of people travel/sit in the vehicle. For example-if there are 6 persons sitting in the vehicle, then there will be 7 seats available.
Types of Vimanas:
The following are the type of vimanas or flying machines described in ancient Indian Hindu texts.
– “Agnihotra vimana” (Vimana with two engines), where ‘Agni’ means ‘Fire’ in Sanskrit.
-“Gaja vimana” (Vimana with more than two engines), where ‘Gaja’ means elephant in Sanskrit.
There are also many Vimanas which has been named after few animals and birds like kingfisher etc.
There is an early 20th century text on aeronautics called “Vaimanika Shastra”-meaning “Science of Aeronautics”. The Vaimanika Shastra is also known as vimanika or vymanika.
The “Vaimanika Shastra” gives a clear understanding about airplane and most of the topics related to aeronautics and different planes such as ‘mantrik’, ‘tantrik’, ‘kritak’, ‘shakuna’, ‘sundara’, ‘rukma’, and ‘tripura’.
I would like to share a passage from the famous Ramayana which reads-
“The Pushpaka chariot that resembles the Sun and belongs to my brother was brought by the powerful Ravana (King of lanka, now which today it is called as SRI LANKA); that aerial and excellent car going everywhere at will …. That car resembling a bright cloud in the sky … and the King got in, and the excellent car at the command of the Raghira, rose up into the higher atmosphere.”
Pushpaka Vimana is the first flying Vimana in the Hindu mythology which takes the meaning of “flowery”.
As of now this ancient aircraft technology has no physical remains yet it takes place a major role in the ancient Indian texts and I personally believe that these served as a basic platform for newer version of Aeronautics.