Ancient Engineering Technology – Ramappa Temple, India

Hey guys, let’s take a look at Ramappa Temple which was built at least 800 years ago, and by the end of this video, I think you would agree with me that ancient builders must have used a very advanced technology, similar to modern day technology.

Let’s take a look at the ceiling in the center of this temple. In one square, we can see hundreds of Gods and if you zoom in and shine a flashlight, we can identify each and every one of them. Every corner tells a story. We are not going to examine the complex spiral designs which look like 3d cymatic patterns, we are not going to look at the protruding buds, and the centerpiece which is hanging out in the middle. We are only going to zoom in on the smaller figures which are less than 1 inch long. This temple was invaded by a commander called Malik Kafur, and he destroyed some of these figures.

But what’s fascinating is that after he destroyed the figures, you can clearly see the X mark behind them. This means there is a gap between each small idol, and the surface at the back. The idols are very small, less than 1 inch long, so the gaps between the idol and the background must have been in millimeters. So, how did anyone create these X marks behind them within these small gaps? Forget about ancient machining technology. We cannot even carve these X marks today, because there is no room to put your hands inside and carve them? How can we make the X pattern on solid rock, with 2 millimeters space to carve, even with modern machinery? We would need flexible drilling and polishing tools similar to instruments used for advanced surgical operations like laparoscopy. Even if they were molded using rock melting technology, the ancient builders would still need very advanced precision tools to create the mold or the frame itself.

But there is more baffling evidence of ancient machining technology. This temple has a series of statues placed all around it, and at first look, you think they are modern day wax models molded to perfection. Archeologists confirm that these were made by ancient builders, but there are no tool marks, and no human errors made on these structures. Were they created using high tech engraving and polishing tools, similar to what we use today?

Now, what really baffles me about these statues is not how perfect they are, but how they are still standing in place, even after a powerful earthquake shook this temple. The earthquake dislodged many of the blocks in the temple, and I have already shown you how the ancient builders made this structure earthquake proof.  But how did these statues, not fall down?

These are individual statues made of black basalt and are standing at an angle. How are they attached to these sandstone blocks behind them? Normally, it would be impossible to find out, but ancient builders were extremely clever, they knew that someday, someone would come looking for answers.

This is why they created a miniature model, a 3d prototype of the temple, and placed it in the temple campus itself. And all I had to was to identify the spots where the statues would have been placed. Look at these rectangular slots here, and the protruding base here. This is where the statues stand in the actual temple. Now we understand how these statues are standing firmly even after the earthquake. These statues were fitted on the slots, so they wouldn’t fall down.  This is really fascinating, because if we look at the miniature model, it would have been easy for the ancient builders to create smaller statues and fix them in these appropriate places. But why did they leave these slots empty? If they had placed small statues in these places, the slots wouldn’t be visible. They left it empty, so we, the future generation can understand how the statues were fit in place. Is it possible, that the ancient builders are trying to teach us how they actually built these temples?

And there is one thing I did not fully understand about the ancient earthquake proofing technology. How did these rectangular blocks called Plinth beams come above the ground? In modern buildings made of concrete, the plinth beams will try to withstand the earthquake, and in case of a powerful earthquake like what happened here, the entire structure would have collapsed. But it did not happen in this temple – when the earthquake struck, the plinth beams popped out from underneath the pillars, and saved the temple from collapsing. So, how were the plinth beams fixed to these pillars? The answer is in the miniature model. At the bottom of the pillars, you can see small slots carved. This is where the plinth beams were inserted. This type of basic slots are neither too tight nor too loose. When a powerful earthquake occurs, the pillars would let go of the plinth beams, and the plinth beams will break, saving the temple from collapsing. If they would have been made a rigid construction, like modern concrete structures, the entire temple would have been collapsed.

We can see that the ancient builders are answering all the questions which have baffled us. But what about the tools used to carve behind these very small idols on the ceiling? This temple has used some extraordinary drilling technology, there are holes which are only a few millimeters wide. You can only pass a flexible thread through them, not even a straight object like a needle. These minute holes cannot be created with chisels, especially on such a hard rock like basalt. They must have definitely used advanced tools like modern day drilling tools. If ancient builders used such advanced tools, wouldn’t they show them on the prototype as well?

Here we can see something remarkably similar to a modern day drill bit. This carving looks almost identical to a tool that we use today – uh -This tool is called step drill bit, and has many advantages over a regular drill bit. If you compare these two side by side, they both have the same conical head, with horizontal lines which are called steps, and both have them even have a vertical groove in the middle. But it is the bottom part of the carving that confirms, this a tool bit. Today our tool bits have a hexagonal stopper at the base to lock into the chuck and not slip. They also have a cylindrical groove at the top of it. This 800 year old figure shows the exact same thing, except that it has a square base to lock into the chuck and has the same cylindrical groove. Are ancient builders trying to tell us that they were using advanced tool bits, just like what we use today?

If these carvings are not tools, what else could they be? We can see everything else is identical between the prototype and the actual temple. Here we can see the small bull on the prototype, and the much larger bull is also there. We can see small pillars and we can see the larger pillars in the temple, which look exactly the same. We can see everything that is shown in this prototype recreated at a larger scale in the temple.  But we don’t see these large scale drill bit like structures anywhere in the temple. Why did they carve them in the miniature model, if they are not present anywhere in the actual temple?  Were they simply left as clues for us to find out how this temple was built?

Perhaps the real evidence can be found at Warangal fort, which is about 40 miles from here. There are carvings of Hindu Gods, but look into their hands. They are shown holding the same drill bits. In many Hindu temples, Gods are shown holding just the head of these tools. And some people believe this represents a pinecone or even corn.  But in these carvings, we can see that the Gods are shown holding the entire tool with a long base. This confirms that this is definitely a tool used in ancient times.

If ancient builders used high tech instruments like drilling machines, perhaps that technology would explain the mystery of these pillars. The pillars in the temple, don’t make any sense. Some parts of the pillars, look like they have been molded. Other parts of the same pillar look like they have been machined with power tools. How could  a pillar made of one solid block of stone, show 2 completely different types of processes? And there is something even more confusing. You can see that the pillars are slightly bent at the top portion. When the earthquake struck, these pillar actually became bent out of shape. These are made of basalt, a very hard, brittle rock. Rocks break, they don’t bend like plastic. So, what’s the secret of these bending pillars? Let’s go back to the miniature model one last time, and these miniature pillars are carved here, and they are identical in design to the actual pillars. They even have these straight slots and curved slots, so we know these are the same pillars.  But here, we can see something very strange, there are triangular marks connecting the rectangular piece at the bottom to the cylindrical piece at the top. Today, engineers we use a type of joint called Taper Joint, it is considered a very strong joint. To connect 2 different parts, one part is created with a tapered protrusion, and the other part will have a tapered hole. And both these parts will be connected by force, and it is nearly impossible to separate them afterwards. Is it possible, that these conical symbols represent taper joint, to show that these 2 separate stone blocks were joined together to make one single pillar. Does the bottom stone have a tapered protrusion, and the top stone have a tapered hole? This theory perfectly explains why the pillars look bent at the top. The pillars made of single stone would have broken, but these pillars must have been made of several blocks and assembled with taper joints, which is why they are bent.

But at this point, the whole idea of taper jointing several blocks to make a pillar is just a theory. To really prove this,  I would have to climb up above 8 feet, and examine these pillars, to see if they are in fact made of multiple blocks. And Archeology department refused to give me permission to examine these pillars.

But I really had to find out, and there are a few abandoned ancient temples nearby which are not maintained by the department of Archeology, I mean no one even enters these temples.  So I decided to go to a temple called the underground temple, which was built around the same time. I will show you this temple in another video, but we are going to find if these pillars are made of one solid piece or if they were  made by joining different blocks. And I find exactly what we are looking for. The joint is clearly visible at the top, and you can see it has dislocated a little bit when earthquake struck. If you look inside, you can even see how these two stone blocks are joined, there is a protruding piece on the bottom stone, which is fitting inside the hole of the stone at the top. There is no doubt that this was the same technology used in the pillars of Ramappa temple.

I think, for the very first time in many centuries, we are actually beginning to understand what the ancient builders are trying to say. They have put these symbols of tools, joints and slots for teaching us about their technology. And I think we have successfully decoded these symbols. What do you think?

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section and please do share this video with your friends.

-Praveen Mohan

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