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Yukti Kalpataru Of Bhoja – Shipping Building In Hindu Religion – Yuktikalpataru

Yukti Kalpataru is a famous treatise in Sanskrit principally on ship building in ancient Hindu world. It was written and compiled by king Bhoja of Dhara (C 1000 – 1055 CE) of the Paramara dynasty. And therefore it is also known as Yukti Kalpataru Of Bhoja.

There are references to shipping and shipbuilding in other languages of the world but Yukti Kalpataru is the oldest book which deals with shipbuilding in such exhaustive detail.

Apart from Shipping, Yuktikalpataru also touches upon many other topics like selection of jewels, swords, horses, elephants, ornaments, flags and so on.

The book begins with the selection of wood for building boats and ships. The ships are built using light and hard and this type of wood cannot be joined with other types of woods like soft and heavy or hard and heavy or light and soft. The light and hard wood brings wealth and happiness as per the author. Ships made of other types of wood are not good and do not last long. They rot in water early and are liable to split at the slightest shock.

Yukti Kalpataru Of Bhoja gives an elaborate classification of ships based on size. There are ordinary ships that are used to travel in rivers and special ships which are used in the ocean. Under the ordinary class are ten types of ships and boats, differing in length, breadth, and height. Ocean-going vessels have two sub classes – dirgha, noted for length, having 10 varieties, unnata, noted for height rather than for dimensions.

River Boats are classified as follows:

The measurement is done in cubits and one cubit is equal to 18 to 21 inches.

Name             length             breadth          Height

Ksudra           (16 cubits)     (4 cubits)       (4 cubits)

Madhyama    24                    12                    8

Bhima            40                   20                   20

Capala            48                   24                    25

Patala             64                    32                    32

Bhaya             72                    36                    36

Dirgha            88                   44                    44

Patraputa       96                    48                   48

Garbhara       112                  56                    56

Manthara      120                  60                   60

Ocean Ships are classified as follows: Dirgha

Name             length             breadth          Height

Dirghika        (32 cubits)     (4 cubits)       (3 cubits)

Tarani            48                   6                      4

Lola                64                    8                      4

Gatvara          80                   10                    8

Gamini           96                    12                    9

Tari                 112                  14                    11

Janghala        128                  16                    12

Plavini            144                  18                    14

Dharini          160                  20                   16

Begini             176                  22                    17

Ocean Ships Unnata

Name          length             breadth          Height

Urdhva       (32 cubits)     (16 cubits)     (16 cubits)

Anurdhva      48                   24                    24

Svarnamukhi 64                   32                    32

Garbhini        80                   40                   40

Manthara      96                    48                   48

King Bhoja of Dhara in his Yukti Kalpataru also gives the qualities of various types of ships. Bhima, bhaya and garbara, for example, are liable to bring bad luck. Among dirgha ships, lola is associated with misfortune and urdhva brings luck and profits.

Raja Bhoja further classifies ships according to length and position of cabins. Sarvamandira vessels have the largest cabins, extending from one end of the ship to other and used generally for pleasure trips of royalty. Ships which have their cabin towards the prows are called agramandira and are used for long voyages and in naval warfare. These ships are used in dry seasons after rains have ceased.

Source – 

  • Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume XI page 642 – IHRF – Rupa
  • The positive background of Hindu sociology (1914) Benoy Sarkar and Kumar Brajendranath Seal – AMS Press New York.