Scariest Ancient Weapon Ever? Man Catcher aka Sasumata


Hey guys, today we are going to look at this unique and weird ancient weapon. This is called the Man Catcher and the weapon originated in India in ancient times and we will get to that later. But you can immediately begin to see why this is called the Man-Catcher. Imagine this tree trunk is somebody’s neck. You would thrust this weapon on to a person’s neck and it would just slide in. But when the victim tries to pull free, he cannot get out of it. The man catcher is a unique weapon because its primary purpose is to catch or restrain an individual, and not to kill him. So, we can call this a tool, because it is not really a weapon, used for killing somebody. Technically, You use this tool and not fight with it.

The man catcher, the iron part is actually small, just about one foot long, but it will be typically mounted on a long pole and the design is very interesting. They have 2 flap like structures which are attached to 2 more tensile spring like curves. So when you force it on a man’s neck, the flaps will give way and you can move it forward and catch him. However, the flaps will not move out, so it acts like a one way valve. You need at least 2 people to release it, so there is no way for a man to escape this, by himself. And look at these spikes all around , it will make sure that the victim cannot try to run away and he can’t even move rapidly, because the spikes would hurt him.

This particular man catcher is actually about 200 years old and was used by British. This is an antique artifact and my friend Jayesh has an extraordinary collection of all types of antiques, and has a countless number of ancient weapons. It is said that these man-catchers were used in British India to control Violent criminals. Of course, there are much simpler models of this, some just have a u shaped structure on a pole.

So, why was the Man-Catcher invented? Isn’t easier to just use a knife or a sword against an enemy? The man-catcher was originally invented by Hindu saints of India who did not want to kill the attacker, but wanted to restrain them. Hindus believe that killing or hurting someone was a sin, even if that person was attacking you. But you also had to save your own life, and man-catcher is the perfect weapon for the job. So, the Hindu saints made it a custom to carry this tool and called it Dhandam or Dhanda. . This was the very first and the most simple man-catcher and was used at least 2000 years ago. If anyone came to attack them, the saints would restrain them using the man catcher.
It is said that about 1500 years ago, Bodhidharma, an Indian prince took this weapon to China and Japan, and used it to control lawless criminals. Bodhidharma is considered the founding father of Kung Fu and he introduced this weapon and called it Sasumata, which roughly means “Taken Alive” in Sanskrit language.

While Indians have completely forgotten about this ancient tool, the Japanese, Chinese and even Thai people are actively using the Man-Catcher today and they still call it Sasumata. They find it ideal for restraining an attacker without hurting him. Even if he has a knife, the man catcher has a long handle so you will have enough distance and it would be impossible for him to attack you. And even police officials are using this today and if you have a couple of people with these Sasumatas you can totally corner an attacker and completely subdue him.

Now we saw how the man catcher went from India to China and Japan 1500 years ago. Eventually, the Man-Catcher reached the Europeans, and they began using it in the medieval period. It became a very popular tool in Europe, and they were very creative in using this. For example, they used it to catch a person, a rich person and they would not release him, unless he paid them a ransom. In Europe, the man catcher was also called a “catchpole”.

Now the best use of this weapon was in defending a castle. When you are trying to breach a castle, you would eventually have your soldiers climb the walls of the castle using ladders. This was the classic move in castle warfare. Now, imagine you are the first person who has climbed on the ladder and when you are just over the castle wall, a person from inside the castle, uses the man-catcher on you. You will end up completely restrained. You may have an armor to protect you, and you may have a sword, but you can’t move away, you can’t attack the other person and you will be kicking and screaming on top of the ladder, and none of the other soldiers below you on the ladder can climb up. So man-catchers were very very effective in defending castles, all we need is a lot of soldiers with man catchers ready to use them on the attackers who come up using ladders. And the soldiers can catch these attackers using the Mancatcher and then just hold them in the same position and let them keep their feet on the ladder. So these man catchers will completely make these ladders useless.

Is this just my fancy theory? No, in fact, there is an excellent Castle in Austria called the Hochosterwitz castle. This was built more than a thousand years ago and is famous for its 14 gates and locals maintain that no enemy has gone beyond the 4th gate. Authorities confirm that they had a total of about 200 man catchers to defend the castle. Such a large number of man catchers proves that they were used to restrain enemies who tried to climb the walls using ladders.

Now, Even though the man catchers are fading away in real life, the really cool part is that today’s gamers have revived this weapon virtually. For example, It is used in the Warhammer game, by these rat people and the man catcher is used in very creative ways. Here you can see a person is caught using the Man catcher and this person is just raised up and it is sort of like, hanging him to death. The man catcher was also featured in one of the Assassin’s Creed movies. So it is becoming more and more popular in the United States.

In Russia, the man catcher was actually used as a bear catcher, to catch bears in real life. Until about a hundred years ago, Russian hunters took these for hunting, and used it to catch bears. Imagine catching a full size bear with nothing other than this weapon, that was considered as a great act of bravery in medieval Russia. So you can see how a simple, defensive tool created by Indian saints traveled all over the world and evolved into one of the most creative devices.

Praveen Mohan


Ancient Warangal Fort – A Mass Manufacturing Megalithic Factory?

Hey guys, today let us take a look at the famous Warangal Fort in India. This is one of the strangest ancient sites, at first look, we can see thousands and thousands of rocks, cut in various shapes, strewn all over this site. I mean you can literally find any geometric shape you want in this site – this is extraordinary stone work.

When you hear the name Warangal Fort, you expect to see a fort or fortifications or crude walls, but here you will find some of the most beautiful carvings, this was definitely not built as a fort. . A fort does not need such beautiful, artistic carvings and complex geometric shapes. Historians also agree that this site is not a fort, but they merely call this a fort, because it is surrounded by fortifications many miles away, but they have no idea what the actual purpose of this place was. Why do we have so many rocks piled up? And in these piles, we can also find some of the most exotic Hindu Gods lying in the dirt. These statues are priceless and are actually worth millions of dollars. In India, you can see they are just left lying around in dirt.

Because we find several idols like this, some have argued that this site was built as a temple, and it was later ruined. Was this site, once an ancient temple? and was it ruined by nature or humans? If you examine the site carefully, you can find something weird. There are at least a dozen different types of rocks. This is Red Stone, this is black basalt, and this is granite. This is bizarre, because if a temple was built with a combination of all these rocks, it will look ugly. All Hindu temples are usually built with the same type of rock, it would be impossible to use so many types of rocks for constructing a single temple.

And the entrances to this confirm that this was not a temple. The entire site is surrounded by 4 entrances which are just incredibly huge, they are each 33 feet tall. There are no walls surrounding it either, this is very unique, a temple does not need such tall entrances and Hindu temples always have an outer wall around them. If this was not a temple and this was not a fort, what was going on here? What was the actual purpose of this site?

No one has come up with a solid answer to this question, but after analyzing this place carefully, I can say this entire place was built as a manufacturing site, as a factory for mass manufacturing, megalithic stone objects. Now, what I am saying goes against all the theories of archeologists and historians. They believe that every ancient temple was built by local artisans and stone masons, who cut stone blocks and carved statues on site, within the temple premises. But Warangal Fort shows something extraordinary, it shows that the pillars, statues, and even blocks for walls were built at a completely different location, a mass manufacturing site. This was the purpose of this site.

Look at these rectangular blocks for example, there are hundreds of them. They have the most amazing geometrical patterns, and each one is different from the others. What are these rectangular blocks? If we visit the temples around this area, you will realize that these blocks are actually centerpieces of ceilings in Hindu temples. All Hindu temples, have these blocks fixed on top of the main deity. There is usually one such piece in each temple. And we find hundreds of these ceiling pieces in this site, this proves that these pieces were created here to be transported to hundreds of different temples. Look at all these blocks, do you see what they are? This is just scrap, left over from mass manufacturing, just like how we get scrap metal from a metal processing company.
And the location of this site confirms this, Warangal Fort is located at the dead center and hundreds of temples are built all around it. This information is stunning because it shows that whoever built this civilization had extraordinary intelligence, this kind of planning, logistics and implementation does not even exist today in India. Having a central manufacturing site at a perfect location to transport finished stone blocks to all the temples. This is fantastic.

But the question is WHY? What is the need to have a central manufacturing site for just temple parts? Why can’t they just cut stone blocks and carve statues on the temple site itself? Now, why do we mass manufacture anything? When we need a car, why don’t we build our own car and let the car company manufacture it? Because, mass manufacturers use advanced machining technology, which you and I don’t have. This is why mass manufacturers exist. Is it possible that Warangal Fort was also using advanced machining technology? Is this why they were able to create thousands of these temple parts? I mean look at this lingam. Is it possible to create it with chisels, hammers and just primitive tools? Take a look at these ceiling parts. They look incredible, but if you pick any one of them, and try to explain it in words, you understand the how complex these blocks are. For example, this one has a protruding bud in the center, Note that it also has 8 small petals ready to come out on top of it. The bud is sitting on another small circle and is surrounded by 3 perfect circles which are concentric, and they all have many petals carved on them. All these circles are placed in a perfect square which fits inside a perfect rhombus, flanked by 4 small squares, and everything is fit inside this bigger square. And this is all done in 3 dimension, this is not on painted on paper. There are so many protrusions and depressions. If you look at these flower like patterns, I mean they look amazing from the top, but when you look at them from the side, they actually look like petals coming out in 3D. And if you touch these petals, it can literally cut your fingers, that’s how sharp the finish is. It is impossible to do this with primitive tools. We have clear evidence of drilling technology on this site, they must have had drilling tools to accomplish this level of drilling. And how do we explain these minute holes found in these carvings?

Look at this polygonal lingam which is in ruins. Observe the sides and the finish on the surface. And look at the bottom, Was it really made with primitive tools? Take a look at this pillar, you can literally use this flat surface as a mirror, if you pour water on top of this surface. If I give you a chisel and hammer today, can you achieve this level of polishing?

And look at this Latticework, these are called Jali in India. We have people who insist that these were created using geopolymer technology, even though we believe that this technology was invented only in the last century.
Whether these are geopolymers or rocks, one thing is certain: ancient builders were definitely using advanced machining technology, and Warangal Fort was the mass manufacturing factory. They were mass manufacturing these pieces and then transporting them to various locations of the temples, and whoever designed this entire set up must have had very high intelligence.

I keep saying whoever, because archeologists and historians establish something very clearly. There are no inscriptions on this site, and the origin of Warangal Fort is shrouded in mystery. Some people think it was built by a dynasty called Kakatiyas, but we have solid evidence that this structure predates these rulers by centuries, may be even by thousands of years. Nobody really knows who set up this ancient manufacturing site, and how long it operated. Did we once have an ancient civilization with advanced technology which was eventually wiped out? The people who came here after many centuries, merely inherited these stones, and they must have had very limited knowledge because they actually tried to put these pieces together, and build structures. Here you can see how they have pieced the ceiling blocks to make a wall. This was not a good idea and obviously you can see why their attempt failed. Not to mention the Islamic Invader Alauddin Khalji who invaded this place. His army tried to deface each and every stone block which had human or animal figures, but I think he simply could not finish the destruction. This is an elephant, but now it looks almost like a pig. And experts confirm that the invaders also took many of the rectangular stone blocks from here and built this structure called Kush Mahal, which is just half a mile away.

The human beings in the 12th century had very limited intelligence, they were pretty much like us: They had wars, looted and damaged everything, and they just thought that these were pieces of a temple that needed to be put together. The ancient civilization was definitely far more advanced, we can literally see this by looking at their machining technology. These circular parts cannot be created without lathe machines. Look at the perfect circle, but then look at it in 3 dimension, look at the turning and the steps of this structure, this cannot be created without a lathe machine. In a previous video, I showed you an ancient lathe set up, lying in the dirt in Hampi. And look at this square slot in the center, and look at the identical slot in Warangal fort.
All these parts are were created in lathe machines, and then assembled with these pillars in various temples. All these pillars which are fully assembled were put together by the archeology department.

There are also solid, monolithic pillars, exquisitely carved, lying on the ground. They have beautiful designs and deities carved on them. And we can also see independent statues of animals like this lion for example, this is my personal favorite statue here. It looks like it was molded, just like how we melt and cast plastic. Now, remember we saw so many varieties of rocks. These rocks like granite and black basalt are very hard rocks and basically, you would need a harder material to cut them. Today we use diamond tipped tools. Were ancient builders using diamond tipped tools, I mean how did they make such precision cuts? The hardness of the rock is so important, it would be impossible to cut such hard rocks with simple tools.

I think all this is definitive proof of lost ancient technology and high tech machining, and confirms that Warangal Fort was built as a mass-manufacturing factory. What do you think? Was Warangal Fort built as a mass manufacturing site for megalithic stones? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section.

Praveen Mohan

5000 Year Old MAGIC Jar Unearthed in India? Defies Law of Gravity?

Hey guys, today we are going to look at an extraordinary artifact known as “Magic Krishna” , this is currently displayed at the Chennai Museum in India. This weird looking item is about 300 years old, and it looks like it is made of plastic, but is made completely out of clay. The specialty of this container is that, it defies the law of gravity and the laws of physics. Now, I am going to demonstrate how this jar defies the laws of nature. On the bottom, we can clearly see that there is a hole right at the center and if you pour water on the top, the water should normally drain through the bottom hole. However, when we pour water at the top, you can see that the water does not leak through the bottom hole. Instead, the water level slowly rises as you pour more water, and once the water touches the feet of this idol, the water somehow magically starts draining through the bottom hole.

But it does not stop, the entire water completely drains out of the container. This does not make any sense at all, this defies the laws of nature. Normally, when there is a hole at the bottom, the water should begin draining immediately as we pour water on the top. This will happen due to gravity, but this is an anti-gravity jar, so the water doesn’t come out through the hole. And here is the second problem: the water doesn’t drain even when we fill it halfway, and it appears as though it begins draining as we add more and more weight of water. If this is the case, the hole must stop draining as the water comes down to half level. We expect that only a certain amount of water would drain.
But somehow, when the water touches the idol’s feet, the water begins draining and it drains out everything completely. How does this happen? Is this some kind of a magic jar? Is this why it is safely kept behind glass doors in a Museum? Yes, it is in fact a Magic Jar, and this is the idol of Lord Krishna, a Magical Indian God. Archeologists confirm that this is a rare artifact, and only one such container exists in all of India.

In ancient times, magic jars like these were used in many temples and an interesting story was told while giving a demonstration and I am going to tell you that story now. About 5000 years ago, Lord Krishna was born, and his uncle wanted to kill him immediately. So in an attempt to save his life, baby Krishna was secretly taken away by his father, who decided to carry him across the river Yamuna. As his father was crossing the river, the water level began rising. His Father begged the river to subside, but the water level kept on rising. But when the river Yamuna finally touched Lord Krishna’s feet, it completely drained out and became dry, so the Father and Son could cross the river safely. The river Yamuna later revealed that it wanted to desperately touch Lord Krishna’s feet and get his blessings. So, this is why the water level keeps rising until it touches Krishna’s feet and once it touches his feet, everything will drain out.

So, how does it really work? I decided to recreate this magic jar and here you can see that I have built a rectangular tank and at the bottom, there is a hole. On the top, I have built a similar cylindrical structure and I have glued an idol of Lord Krishna, hoping that the water will behave similarly. And as I keep pouring water, the water does not drain through the bottom hole, because water naturally wants to touch Krishna’s feet but watch carefully when the water touches Lord Krishna’s feet, all the water begins magically draining out, leaving the container empty. Now, the key to this is hidden underneath this cylinder, it does not have a complex valve system or anything like that, all we need is a U-tube or a U-bend set up inside the container. One of the bends fits into the hole , and the other leg is set up very close to the floor of the tank. Now, if I pour water, nothing happens until the water touches the bend, water will not drain through the bottom hole. But once that level is reached, which is where the Krishna’s feet would be strategically placed, the water will begin draining, but it won’t stop until everything gets completely drained out. Scientists call this a Siphon.

What you saw in the museum was only about 300 years old, but it is believed that the very first magic jar with the same principle was created at the time of Krishna, who lived about 5000 years ago. Ancient India is known for making these anti-gravity or magic containers – in a previous video I showed you another jar which defies the law of gravity, it is known as Karigiri Jar. It does not have a mouth but it has holes on both top and bottom, but the water does not come out through the top or bottom holes, you can only get the water out through the designated spout.

In the western world, a container similar to the ‘Magic Krishna’ was designed about 2500 years ago, by Pythagoras. Yes, this is the same Pythagoras, the guy who proved that the sum of the squares of 2 sides is equal to the square of the hypotenuse. This is called a Pythagoras Cup. I have made a simple model of this using a plastic cup and a straw. He used these cups to tell a completely different story. Pythagoras would give these empty cups to his friends and they could all pour wine and drink from these cups. However, if someone got too greedy and decided to completely fill the cup, the entire cup would become empty. So, the moral of the Pythagoras’s cup was not to be greedy, and always try to keep a fair share and not get too much. If you try to get everything, you will end up getting nothing. And you can also simply rename this as Magic Krishna as well, if we conceal the straw and place an idol of Krishna here, it will not drain the liquid until it reaches a certain height… And once it reaches a certain height, which would be the same spot where Krishna’s feet would be set up, all the liquid will drain out completely.
I have heard a slightly different Hindu Story, which will give you a different result in the Magic Krishna jar. While river Yamuna is considered a devotee of Lord Krishna, the river Ganga is said to be a devotee of Lord Shiva. And Yamuna is represented by water, but Ganga is actually represented by Mercury, liquid mercury. In Indian alchemy, mercury is considered as Lord Shiva’s body fluid. And if we mix Ganga and Yamuna in this container, will it still give us the same output? If I pour mercury and water side by side, can Krishna do his magic? Ganga is considered as the holiest river, and also has magical properties and Ganga only worships Shiva, and not Krishna. So, when we add Ganga or mercury along with Water, we can see that the ‘Magic Krishna’ does not work. Even though we have filled this container up, the mercury and water are not draining. Why?

Because Yamuna or Water does not have enough power to move Ganga or mercury, up the siphon. Of course Ganga is the heaviest of all rivers, I mean mercury is the heaviest of all liquids. And the only way to make this work with mercury is by adding pure mercury, all the way to the top. And of course, you can see how ancient Hindus were talking about science purely using symbolic names. It is very fascinating to see that ancient Indians understood the laws of physics, gravity and siphon and they always had a strange way of mixing religion and science. Remember I showed you the inverted shadow of a tower in a temple at Hampi, which is also based on laws of physics. India is full of these weird artifacts and carvings which use a combination of religion and science to create quote on quote “Magic”.

Praveen Mohan

India’s Oldest Spiritual Center in Ruins – Mamandur Caves

Hey guys, today we are going to see some of the oldest cave temples in South India, these are called Mamandur caves, and they are in the middle of nowhere. Archeologists estimate they were built around 600 A.D, which means they are at least 1,400 years old.   These are the very first artificial caves built by ancient builders in this region and the beauty of these structures is that nothing was added in the construction process. Normally,  construction means adding materials to build a structure, but here, the construction was a process of removing materials to create these structures. Archeologists refer to them as temples, as a place of worship, but these were in fact built as a place for meditation. Spiritual leaders have mentioned that these are the oldest “energy sites” in all of South India.

There are a total of 4 caves, and they are in terrible condition. What you see on the ground is piles of bat droppings, the poop accumulated here is so bad that breathing this in will make you sick as a dog and can cause diseases like  histoplasmosis, which can kill you. So, if you ever plan on visiting this place, don’t be like me and take necessary precautions.

According to archeologists these are incomplete caves, but there are a total of 4 caves and all of them are said to be unfinished. I mean think about this, people could have started building one cave temple and could have left it unfinished. But instead, archeologists say they people began working on the first cave and left it unfinished, and then moved on to the next cave, which is right next to it. And while the second cave was half done, they again gave up the project and moved to the 3rd cave and so on. This is a ridiculous theory put forth by archeologists. The reality is this, what you are looking at are finished structures. Out of the 4 caves, the first one was built as a temple. This was an ancient Shiva temple with a lingam in the center. You can see paintings on the walls, which means that this is a finished structure. Painting process only begins after completion of a structure, not in unfinished stages and  is usually the last stage.

If you look at other caves,  they also have paintings which indicate they were also complete. The main reason archeologists claim these are unfinished caves is because there are no idols inside these chambers.  But these were created as a place for meditation, ancient texts describe monks meditating in small, isolated chambers, and these are the oldest examples in the region.  If you look at the doorway of these chambers, you can see slots both at the bottom and at the top. These are for doors, to lock yourself in, in complete isolation for long hours of meditation. This is why this ancient site was referred to as the spiritual center of South India.

In addition to isolated meditation, group  meditation and chanting was also taught in these caves. This is why some of them have no private chambers and look like a pillared hall.  And the series of slots on the floor reveal that a roofed structure existed once upon a time, there would have been stone slabs or wooden poles placed inside them to support a roof.   A small group of people would sit together and chant a specific Mantra. What kind of Mantra did they chant? The visual representation of that Mantra is this cymatic pattern. The same pattern is repeated on many of the pillars. Decoding this pattern will reveal what Mantra was chanted inside the caves.

So, you can see what was once a spiritual center of India is now a place for drinking, illegal activities and a massive home for bats. Please share this video to spread awareness and I hope someday the Government can clean up this mess. I am Praveen Mohan, thanks a lot for watching, don’t forget to subscribe and I will talk to you soon. Bye.

Evidence of Ancient Machining Technology at Warangal Fort?

Hey guys, this is an ancient site called Warangal Fort and you are looking at some of the most amazing carvings to your left and right, carved at least 800 years ago. But your eyes are naturally attracted to what’s in the center, and you realize that this cylinder is completely out of place. Now, why do you feel this way, why do you think this lingam is an Out of place artifact?

Because your brain instantly and intuitively knows that this lingam could not have been made without machines. This is why it looks so odd. All these brilliant carvings around this, can be made with simple tools like chisels and hammers, but this cylinder cannot be made with primitive tools, such a perfect cylinder can be made only with high tech machines.

This is not where it was originally found. Archeologists unearthed this lingam which was buried for many centuries and placed it on this pedestal which is carved with simple tools. While digging up this lingam, these scratches were made on it, and examining this lingam using precision tools revealed something shocking. It is a perfect cylinder with no visible tool marks at all. How was such precision achieved in ancient times?

Look at the level of finishing, I can use the top of the lingam as a mirror. I am not going to use this priceless piece for demonstration, but I will pick something less polished instead. How about this pillar on the same site, the finishing doesn’t look as great as the lingam, but when I pour water, you should be able to see my reflection. Imagine how fantastic this would work on the lingam. And Lingams are almost always placed facing east, so imagine how it would look when the first sunrays fall on it.

Now the real problem is in finding out how ancient builders made this lingam 800 years ago. Is it possible that they chiseled it into a crude cylinder, and then polished it manually with simple abrasives such as sand, to achieve this level of perfection? But experts who examined this lingam with precision instruments point out to something extraordinary. The roundness or concentricity of the cylinder, the lack of taper, and the straightness of the cylinder, were so perfect, that they concluded it cannot be achieved with hand tools at all. Such precision can be achieved only with machines.

Now, let me ask you a question, can we make a perfect cylinder today, with simple tools? Forget that this lingam is made of black basalt, a very hard rock.  Imagine this is as soft as clay. Can we make a perfect cylinder using clay, simply by shaping it with hand tools? Engineers confirm that making a perfect cylinder is impossible unless we use a rotating mechanism, at least as primitive as a potter’s wheel. The only way, even to make a clay cylinder is to place it on a rotating wheel. So, we can be sure that this cylinder, was not made by chisels, but a rotating mechanism was definitely involved. Now, the natural question is, did ancient builders place this lingam on a potter’s wheel and rotate it manually, and make it into a perfect cylinder?

We are going to forget that this rock is very hard, and we are also going to forget that we would need a harder tool like steel or diamond to work on it. Let us simply assume that the ancient builders did have steel or diamond tipped tools. We are only going to focus, if we can recreate this cylinder today, by manually rotating it on a potter’s wheel.

Human beings cannot turn a wheel for more than a maximum speed of 150 rpm, if we place a rock of this size and make a wheel accordingly. But engineers confirm, that if such a slow speed was employed, the cylinder would be full of circular tool marks, and would look nothing like this lingam. To achieve this level of perfection, the cylinder would have to be rotated at a minimum speed of 2000 rpm, which is 13 times faster than what is humanly possible. So, it is impossible to create something like this without using advanced technology. This leaves us with only one question: what kind of machines did ancient builders use? Perhaps the mystery can solved by looking at this strange symbol, carved on the lingam itself.

-Praveen Mohan

Floating Stones of Ramappa Temple – Advanced Ancient Technology

Hey guys, this is a rock taken from an 800 year old temple in India, and it has some strange properties. When dropped in water, it doesn’t sink like normal rocks, it floats. There are some rocks which naturally float in water, like Pumice but this rock  you see here, is not a natural formation. In fact this is not a rock, it is a brick, made by heating a mixture of mud and other materials to a 1000 degree Celsius, and was made into a lightweight block.

During my recent exploration I met 2 guys, Dinesh who is an architect and Arvind who researches ancient sites. They explained that we use the same technology today, these blocks are called ACC or AAC blocks. AAC stands for Autoclaved Aerated Concrete – and is made by injecting foam into concrete which makes the block lightweight. These blocks when dropped in water, also float just like the ancient brick we saw. If we look at the Wikipedia page, it shows that AAC was invented in mid-1920s, just 100 years ago. However, we can see that this technology was in use 800 years ago in India.

Now, we don’t know what the ancient builders used to make the bricks float, and I could not get a sample of this brick to examine the ingredients. Since we don’t know how it was created, let’s move on to Why these bricks were created. I mean, what could possibly be the use of creating such lightweight bricks in Ancient India. This brick was taken from a temple called Ramappa temple, so I decided to go to the temple and find out why these light weight bricks were used.

You can see that this is a fabulous temple, the bottom portion is made of sandstone, which stands to a height of more than 25 feet, but there is a huge tower on top which is completely made of these floating bricks. It has now been covered with plaster of Paris by the archeology department. Why did ancient builders decide to create and use lightweight bricks for the tower? Why do we use AAC blocks today?  Modern Engineers recommend the use of lightweight blocks in buildings to make them earthquake proof.

Structures built with heavy materials become rigid and are less flexible when earthquake occurs. When an earthquake happens, the building can sway horizontally or vertically and if the building is too rigid, it will start cracking and begin to collapse. On the other hand, light weight blocks like these floating Bricks, have these holes and are half the weight of regular bricks – these can make the structure more flexible to ground movement. If we make a building with these floating bricks, the building will swing and sway along with the ground, and will not collapse. This is exactly why, these floating bricks were used on the tower, to make it earthquake proof.

Now, all this sounds great in theory, but can this temple really withstand an earthquake? Let’s go inside and you will be surprised. As soon as you enter, you realize that this temple was affected by a massive earthquake. Look at these sandstone blocks, they have been twisted out of place and are not at the same level at all. This is the center of the temple, look at the floor. These rectangular rocks at the base, have popped up and are protruding on all sides. These blocks are called plinth beams and have been dislodged by an earthquake and the pillars have sunk to about 14 inches inside the ground. The original pillars would have stood 14 inches taller.

Remember, I showed you the exterior of the temple a few minutes ago, and at that time I guarantee you that you would have not guessed that this temple was  affected by a massive earthquake. This earthquake occurred on April 1st 1843 and destroyed all the houses around the temple, but the temple which was already 600 years old at that time, was able to withstand the earthquake.

Now we can understand, why the ancient builders created these floating bricks, their earthquake proofing technology was not just a theory, it is a fact.

Right next to the main temple, there is a miniature model of the temple and this tower is also made of floating bricks. In the last century, many people have stolen these floating rocks from the smaller tower, which is why it looks like this now.

You may wonder why the bottom portion of the temple, which is made of sandstone did not collapse. The bottom structure is designed with an extremely wide base. The plinth beams were not rigidly connected, but were given gaps, so they could pop out and save the structure, when earthquake occurs. But most importantly, ancient builders employed a technique called Sandbox Technology. What is Sandbox Technology? The ancient builders dug a trench which is more than 10 feet deep, and filled it with a strange mixture. Initial analysis shows that this mixture consists of powdered granite, Non-centrifugal cane sugar, sand and another unique compound which has still not been identified. The temple was erected on top of this mixture, and the mixture acts as a cushion, and absorbs the vibrations of earthquakes, minimizing damage to the temple.

Praveen Mohan