India’s Oldest Lingam – Evidence of Ancient Machining Technology?
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Hey guys, I am at the Shore temple in Mahabalipuram and this is the world’s oldest lingam, built more than 1300 years ago. We can see right away that something is very unusual about this lingam. It looks like it has been created with machines. This is because this structure is made of 16 equal sides. Now, on the top, you can see that it has been badly damaged, this is because Kings of other faith have tried to destroy this lingam a few hundred years ago. Today, it stands about 5 feet tall, but the original structure stood nearly 12 feet tall. Is this structure made with ancient machining technology or primitive tools like chisels and hammers?
The baffling feature of this structure is that it is made of 16 equal sides, this type of structure is called a hexadecagon. It is impossible to make a perfect monolithic hexadecagon of this magnitude with primitive tools. How could anyone have made this structure 1300 years ago? Today we can make different polygons using computer controlled machines, but cutting a 12 foot rock with 16 equal sides would be not be easy, even with machines.
The biggest problem with creating a perfect hexadecagon is not the length or width of the facets. These can be measured with simple tools, but the problem lies in creating the perfect angle between the sides. To make a structure with just 8 sides, we would have to calculate the exact angle between each side which would be 135 degrees. Now, this lingam has twice the number of sides which means that the angle between each side should be 157.5 degrees – Now there is a decimal point in degrees!
Is this lingam really perfect or does it merely look perfect? If this entire structure was made with chisels and hammers, there would be some human error. So, I decided to calculate the angle between the facets. If this is a perfect hexadecagon, the angles between all the sides, should be exactly 157.5 degrees. Here you can see my measurement with an angle finder. You can see that there is no error, and it shows the perfect angle of 157.5 degrees. I’ve measured all sides, and it is perfect. This “modern instrument” that I use today, doesn’t show me decimal places, but you can see that this black line is always halfway between these 2 lines. So, you can imagine what kind of advanced instruments were used 1300 years ago, by ancient builders. I have also measured the width of all sides and they are all perfect, down to the millimeter. This means there is absolutely no human error in this structure, which proves that this structure was made with advanced machinery.
But there is another structure which is more baffling than this 16 faceted lingam. There is a 16 faceted structure, called Kalasam sitting on top of the temple tower. Making a regular hexadecagon requires straight machining. But what we see on the very top of this temple tower needs much more complex machining because of the varying shapes and grooves. It looks like a metal structure but it is actually made of stone. This Kalasam looks tiny from here, but is in fact 6 feet tall. It just looks tiny because of the height of the tower which is 60 feet. And if you zoom in, you can see the 16 facets and the varying shapes, created to perfection. Such complex design with 16 facets would be impossible without the help of advanced machines and tools. What kind of technology was used back then and why do we have no mention of this lost technology in history books?
Now, the really fascinating feature is that, while the entire structure is made of granite which is locally available, the lingam and the Kalasam are not made of granite. They are made of a type of rock called black basalt which is not available anywhere within an 800 mile radius. Why did they take such pains to transport black basalt from a far away land and use it on specific structures? If you look carefully, we can see why. You can see that the sculptures made of granite, show lots of corrosion, because of the salty sea breeze. However, there is no sign of corrosion on the Kalasam or the lingam because black basalt does not corrode. This is why, the most critical pieces of the temple were made with black basalt. The ancient builders not only used advanced machines, but also understood the chemical properties of various rocks.
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