Patna. The News. (By Vedveer Arya, IAS). Ramayana tells us that Rāvaṇa forcibly took over the city of Lankāpurī and Puṣpaka Vimāna from his brother. Vaiśravaṇa migrated to Alakāpurī of Yakśas in the North. Vimāna or Puṣpaka Vimāna was like a hot air balloon carrying a specially designed chariot. Viśvakarmā, the contemporary of Vaiśravaṇa and Rāvaṇa, made a flying chariot named as Puṣpaka Vimāna. Interestingly, King Śālva of Saubha (11150-11050 BCE) was the first to use Vimāna when he attacked the city of Dvāravatī. Rāma, along with Sītā, Lakśmaṇa and Hanuman, boarded the Puṣpaka Vimāna and returned to Ayodhyā from Sri Lanka in just eighteen days.
The Rāmāyaṇa describes Puṣpaka Vimāna resembling a summit of mount Meru (tam Meruśikharākāram nirmitam Vishvakarmaṇā) that indicates the size of a huge air balloon. The description of the take-off of Puṣpaka Vimāna in the Rāmāyaṇa as “Utpapāta Vihāyasam” also indicates the ride of a hot air balloon. Selected natural silk with appropriate coatings can be excellent balloon material. Viśvakarmā of the Rāmāyaṇa era might have used natural silk to make the fabric of hot air balloon.
According to Zoroastrian history, the Kayanian King Kai Khusrow also travelled in an aerial vehicle (hot air balloon) from Iran to China (Xinxiang). In ancient Greece history, Phrixus and Helle were rescued by a flying ram (air baloon) sent by Nephele, their natural mother. Helle fell off the ram into the Hellespont.