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ON HARAPPA - The art of Navigation

was born in the river Sindhu 6000 years ago. The very word Navigation is derived from the Sanskrit
word Navgatih. The word navy is also derived from Sanskrit Nou. # Wednesday # BachchanBol
In those days India had colonies, in Cambodia (Kambuja in Sanskrit) in Java, (Chavakam or Yava
dwipa) in Sumatra, in Borneo, Socotra (Sukhadhara) and even in Japan. Indian traders had
established settlements in Southern China, in the Malayan Peninsula, in Arabia, in Egypt, in Persia,
etc., Through the Persians and Arabs, India had cultivated trade relations with the Roman Empire.
Sanskrit and Pali literature has innumerable references to the maritime activity of Indians in ancient
times. There is also one treatise in Sanskrit, named Yukti Kalpa Taru which has been compiled by a
person called Bhoja Narapati. (The Yukti Kalpa Taru (YKT) had been translated and published by
Prof. Aufrecht in his Catalogue of Sanskrit Manu scripts. An excellent study of the YKT had been
undertaken by Dr. Radha Kumud Mookerji entitled Indian Shipping. Published by Orient Longman,
Bombay in 1912.)
A panel found at Mohenjodaro, depicting a sailing craft. Vessels were of many types Their
construction is vividly described in the Yukti Kalpa Taru an ancient Indian text on Ship-building.This
treatise gives a technocratic exposition on the technique of shipbuilding. It sets forth minute details
about the various types of ships, their sizes, the materials from which they were built. The Yukti
Kalpa Taru sums up in a condensed form all the available information
The Yukti Kalpa Taru gives sufcient information and date to prove that in ancient times, Indian
shipbuilders had a good knowledge of the materials which were used in building ships. Apart from
describing the qualities of the different types of wood and their suitability in shipbuilding, the Yukti
Kalpa Taru also gives an elaborate classication of ships based on their size.
The primary division is into 2 classes viz. Samanya (ordinary) and Vishesha (Special). The ordinary
type for sea voyages. Ships that undertook sea voyages were classied into, Dirgha type of ships
which had a long and narrow hull and the Unnata type of ships which had a higher hull.The treatise
also gives elaborate directions for decorating and furnishing the ships with a view to making them
comfortable for passengers. Also mentioned are details about the internal seating and
accommodation to be provided on the ships. Three classes of ships are distinguished according to
their length and the position of cabins. The ships having cabins extending from one end of the deck
to the other are called Sarvamandira vessels.
These ships are recommended for the transport of royal treasure and horses. The next are the
Madhyamarnandira vessels which have cabins only in the middle part of their deck. these vessels
are recommended for pleasure trips. And nally there is a category of Agramandira vessels, these
ships were used mainly in warfare.