Out of many topics of ‘Vymanika Shastra’, the one picked up by most Indian researchers is on metals and materials. In particular metals conclusively categorized for use on vimana have incited curiosity.

Three ancient scientists quoted are Shownaka, Manibhadra (in his Manibhadra Kaarika) and Saamba.

All the three sages commonly point at three kinds of root metals for aviation applications - Somaka, Soundaalika, and Mourthwika. Apart from lightness, metallic property targeted is heat absorbing / resistance.

The root metals [in ore form] are described to be available at identified layers of earth’s crust out of about three thousand metal bearing layers. Different layers contain different metal ores in varying grades.

Loha Kalpa and Lohatantra are described as the master texts on metallurgy.

To obtain different alloys for manufacture of varieties of vimanas, sixteen alloys have been stated to be processed from the three core metals by mixing in different proportions. They are given in the table.















The ancient scientists have propounded that formation of metallic ores is attributed to forces of:

  • Gravity of the centre of earth

  • Gravity of global earth

  • Solar flood

  • Air force

  • Planetary forces

  • Sun’s gravitational force

  • Moon’s gravitational force

  • Interplanetary gravitational forces in the universe

Each in proportion 3, 8, 11, 5, 2, 6, 4, 9 and combined with heat and moisture inside the crest.

The work ponders a great deal over various forms of energies [forces] that lead to the synthesis of each of the three types of core metals. For the benefit of the readers summery is given in table form.

Core metal or Beeja loha

With exponent sage and governing text.

 Alloys under each category

Souma [sage Atri] in Naamaartha kalpa

Related-works—Paribhaasha chandrika--Vishwambhara kaarika

Souma,Sowmyaka,Soundaasya,Soma Panchaanana,Praanana, Shankha, Kapila.

Soundala Type

Viranchi, Souryapa, Shanku, Ushna, Soorana, Shinjika, Kanku, Ranjika, Soundeera, Mughdha, Ghundhaaraka

Mourtwika type

Amuka, Dvyaamuka, Kanka, Tryamuka, Svetaambara, Mridambhapa, Baalagarbha, Kuvarchaa, Kantaka, Kshvinka, Laghvika.

Important observations:

  • Knowledge of metals in ancient India was not confined just to basic metals such as Iron, Copper etc., Development of metallurgical technology apparently scales up to aviation requirements. Enormity of basic research in the entire process can be visualized.

  • Knowledge of factors causing formation of ores in earth’s crust must have existed. How far this theory matches with geo-physical phenomenon of modern science can be a separate study.

  • Geological studies and mining of ores apparently existed.

  • Discussion on interplanetary forces influencing earth’s crust stated here are indicative of comprehensive and deep knowledge that existed in ancient India.

  • Considering the number of alloys mentioned, very fine property-specific developments must have been aimed at in metallurgical processes.

A brief chapter thereafter deals with the purification [more appropriately, refining] process of metals and alloys. The processes are slightly different for each class of metals. Guiding text is ‘Samskara Darpana’.

Several types of acids, decoctions, charcoal, salt and native materials of Ayurvedic origin feature in these processes. Modern metallurgists would find it strange that a variety of organic substances participate in the process of refining.

Deliberating on production of Ooshmapa metals [heat resistant] under the category of Souma, Soundala and Mourtwika, mixing of each alloy under each variety and their proportion of mix has a special connotation. Each alloy is given a number under the three core metals against which proportions are prescribed for the mix to obtain the desired quality of alloy Deeper study should be very gainful.

Lallacharya’s classification of metals is distinct in it’s own way and it is source- related as follows:

  • Kritaka or artificial

  • Corrupted

  • Mud-born

  • Aquatic

  • Mineral-born

  • Vegetation born

  • Evolved from vermin

  • Flesh born

  • Grown from salt

  • Hair born and egg born

Crucibles – Mooshadhikaranam:

  • Ancient metallurgists seem to have developed a wide variety of crucibles to suit each process. Guiding text is Moosha Kalpa.

  • The process of manufacture of ‘Antarmukha’ [Inward looking] crucible stated to be prescribed for preparing metals for vimana is given in detail.

  • Fire place [furnace] or kunda – vyaasaatikaadhikaranam.

  • Kunda Kalpa, the guiding text stipulates the use of koorma or tortoise shaped furnace for melting aircraft alloys.

  • Kunda Nirnaya goes further to outline the constructional aspect of these furnaces.

Bellows - Bhastrikaadhikarana:

  • Guiding text—Bhastrika Nibandhana. For the purpose here, a specific type of Bellows to match with Tortoise shaped furnace is prescribed.

  • The constructional details include specific leather for the body of the bellows and a variety of organic and inorganic materials.


Specific-to-type crucibles, furnaces, bellows selected from amongst a wide-ranging types and numbers hint at very fine development of metallurgical processes.

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