Hoysaleswara temple

How advanced were our ancestors?

Present-day humans claim to be the most advanced species living on Earth. But, could our ancestors have been more advanced than us?

India can boast of having been the home of the richest, and most advanced empires in the history of the world: The Mauryas, Guptas, Rajputs and even the mighty Mughals.

But not many people care to lower their eyes to the very roots of India, in the heart of the Deccan Plateau. Here lie many other comparatively smaller — but just as rich — empires, including the Cholas, Pandyas, Pallavas, The Vijayanagar Empire, and many more.
Among these is the great Hoysala empire. This empire ruled between the 10th and 14th centuries CE in, the midst of Karnataka. One significant architectural structure, built at the time of the Hoysala empire, was the Hoysaleswara temple, also known as the Halebidu temple.
An epitome of beauty, this temple is the home of the 6th and 7th largest stone bulls in India.
But that is not all.

Pillar with turning marks at Hoysaleswara temple
Turning process
Turning tool in the hands of a god

The pillars of this temple are made of stone, and exhibit round marks on their surface, which can only be achieved through a modern technique called turning. It is impossible to obtain such a result manually using the hammers and chisels of the time.
Now, if such advanced tools were used, then a depiction of the tool would most likely be carved on the walls of the temple, and such a tool can actually be seen in the hands of a Hindu god. This tool is shown with two sets of concentric circles that look like gears, a kind of mechanism that is still used today in planetary gears. If we look closer, we also notice that the outer circle has exactly 32 spokes, while the inner one has exactly half — 16. The gears are also fastened with a kind of chain (that is similar to locks still used today) to hold the two gears in place. If these people living 900 years ago could imagine such a modern-day tool, they most probably were using the same devices to produce the exquisite designs seen on those pillars. Moreover, the god holding the tool was known as Masana Bhairava, who was also the god of measurement. Is it simply a coincidence that the god of measurement was holding such an advanced tool?

Hoysaleswara bull
Bull polish
Modern rotary burr
Carving of the rotary burr
Different shapes of the rotary burr

The stone bulls at the temple are an example of brilliant craftsmanship and a source of awe. These pieces exhibit a level of polishing so high that even after so many years of erosion, they present an extremely high level of luster, leaving little to the imagination as to how they would have looked like when they were first made. Such high level of polishing and precision could not have been done with just chisels and hammers: we know for a fact that it is possible for it to have been done using the modern rotary burr.
A similar tool has also been seen in many carvings on the walls of the temple. The carvings also take on different shapes, similar to the different shapes of the rotary burrs seen today. So, is it possible that these carvings were actually done with these tools.

The temple houses many more such architectural feats, just waiting to be discovered. Many of them are in the darker parts of the temple where little light passes through, making it difficult to really see them in detail. This temple is standing proof that history still holds many secrets and surprises in store for us, and we may not be as different from our ancestors as we would like to think. Our ancestors may have been great people, smarter than even ourselves, capable of so much more than we probably think. But, perhaps due to some unfortunate accident, vast parts of their progress has been lost to us forever.

Keep your eyes and ears open, for you may be the next person to make a life-changing discovery.


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