Vimanas – The Ancient Flying Machines



Even imagination needs something to start off. It has been proved that our predecessors in ancient times had superior technology than ours and many things are still yet to be deciphered as to how they were able to manage such technological marvels. Studying their way of leading life is also an important facet.

Scientific marvels or prophecies were simply noted and recorded as they found them, without any attempt at corroboration or thought that they might be re-examined in the light of actually having occurred by future generations.

Flight has been one of the most important inventions which has helped man reach the outer space. The concept of flying isn’t something from the near present. In fact Leonardo Da Vinci too had created blue prints of flying machines along with his famous paintings.

Aircraft in the Vedic literature are generally referred to as Vimanas. Especially throughout the Mahabharata, Bhagavata Purana, and the Ramayana, these ancient flying machines appear. Certain scriptures from the Mahabharata & Ramayana also mention Vimanas used during the battles.

The Vimanas described in the Vedas are generally of four types:

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  • Single or two-passenger aircraft
  • Huge airships for interplanetary pleasure trips
  • Huge military aircraft for warfare
  • Self-sufficient flying cities (‘space stations”) for indefinite stay in space


The writing of ancient India are perhaps the richest in tales of aviation. The Mahabharata tells of an “aerial chariot”, with the sides of iron and clad with wings.” Certain numerical data in the Mahabharata are so precise that one gets the impression that the author was writing from first-hand knowledge. A passage from the Mahabharata says, “Bhisma flew with his Vimana on an enormous ray which was as brilliant as the sun and made a noise like the thunder of a storm.”

It makes us ponder as to how can the chronicler give descriptions that presuppose at least some idea of rockets and the knowledge that such a vehicle can ride on a ray and cause a terrifying thunder?

Ramayana, which precedes the Mahabharata also mentions these flying machines. It is said that Ravana abducted Sita & flew back to his kingdom Lanka on a Flying Vimana. These types of flying machines mentioned in these two epics navigated at great heights with the aid of quicksilver and a great propulsive wind. The Vimanas could cover vast, distances and could travel forward, upward and downward. Enviably maneuverable space vehicles!

Tripura Vimana

The Tripura Vimana was supposed to fly in air, and move on water and land. When moving on water the wheeles were supposed to be retracted. The power was supposed to be generated from the generatorat the top using the sun’s rays and some acids. The general description and the diagrams seem to indicate the use of electric motors which were known only in the 19th century.

Scientists say that there are 32 secrets of the working of the Vimana. A pilot should acquaint himself thoroughly with them before he can be deemed competent to handle the aeroplane. He must know the structure of the aeroplane, know the means of its take off and ascent to the sky, know how to drive it and how to halt it when necessary, how to maneuver it and make it perform spectacular feats in the sky without crashing. These 32 secrets the pilot should learn from competent preceptors and only such a person is fit to be entrusted with an aeroplane, and not others. Those secrets are given in “Rahasya Lahari” and other works by Lalla and other masters. David Hatcher Childress also mentions it in length in his book ‘Vimana aircraft of ancient India & Atlantis’.

Tripura Vimana – A Perspective View

The description of these machines in old Indian texts are amazingly precise. The difficulty we are faced with today is basically that the texts mention various metals and alloys which we cannot translate. We do not know what our ancestors understood by them. Today there is hardly any doubt left on the existence of flying machines in antiquity. The mindless cry that there were no such things would have to fall silent in shame. More and more evidences emerge on a daily basis and one day we might well find some more concrete evidence of these Vimanas in physical form.

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