Here is an amazing account of an antigravity device found in an ancient Indian Temple. Read below for the full article.
In 1025 A.D., Mahmud, the moslem Turkish ruler of Ghazni, a principality in Afghanistan, launched an invasion of India. His goal was the important temple city of Somnath, whose Hindu temples were renowned for their wealth and opulence. Mahmud's objective was to seize the temples' gold. he also hoped that by destroying the temples, he might convert the population to Islam.
The Hindus put up a desperate resistance, centered around the temple of the idol Somnat. A later Arab historian, Al Kazwini, writing in the 13th century states that the defenders fought desperately. "They would go weeping and crying for help into the temple and then issue forth to battle till all were killed. The number of [Indians] slain exceeded 50,000."
The temple dedicated to the idol Somnat was renowned for the amazing fact that the image of the idol hung in "the middle of the temple without anything to support it from below, or to suspend it from above."
The writer records that the idol was held in the highest honour by the Hindus and that even moslems, upon seeing the idol, were struck by wonder and amazement. After the city fell, Mahmud
"asked his companions what they had to say about the marvel of the idol, and its staying in the air without prop or support, several maintained that it was upheld by some hidden support. The king directed a person to go and feel all around and above it with a spear, which he did but met with no obstacle. One of the attendants then stated his opinion that the canopy was made of loadstone [a magnetized rock], and that the idol was ironm and that the ingenious builder had skilfully contrived that the magnet should not excercise a greater force on any one side -- hence the idol was suspended in the middle. Some concided others differed. Permission was obtained to settle the point. When two stones were removed from the summit the idol swerved on one side, when more were taken away it inclined still further, until it rested on the ground." Reference: Al Kazwini, translated by Eliot and Dowson, The History of India as Told by Its Own Historians, Volume 1, page 97 -- quoted in A History of India, Volume 1, by Romila Thapar (Penguin Books 1966, 1980)
The historian provides a conventional explanation of the floating idol which attributes its defiance of gravity to the magnetic attraction exercised by the roof of the temple. It seems plausible to an extent, but the fact is that naturally occuring magnets (loadtstones) are not known for their ability to generate a strong magnetic field over long distances. In ancient times, loadstones were used as part of primitive compasses. If their magnetic fields had been too powerful, they would have simply caused the compass needle to stick, immobile, to them. Instead, for the loadstone to be useful, the magnetic field had to be weak enough to allow the compass needle to move. It is therefore hard to believe that the loadstones could generate enough of a magnetic field to suspend a presumably heavy (the size of the idol is not stated, but it would have been made of iron so even a small statue would have weighed a considerable amount) from several feet or more away. Note that the size of the temple is not stated but as the conqueror's men were able to walk around the idol to inspect it one must assume that the ceiling was at least 6 or more feet high and that there was some clearance around the idol.
Moreover loadstones are not that common, so it is hard to believe that the builders would have enough material available to build an entire cupola, which is what would have been necessary to ensure that the loadstones were equidistant.
It should be noted however that other accounts do not allege that the idol was suspended by some sort of antigravity or magnetic device. In an article entitled Rise of the Mahomedan Power in India published in the THE MONTHLY REVIEW. MAY, 1829 the following description of the idol is given:
On approaching the temple, he saw a superb edifice built of hewn stone. Its lofty roof was supported by fifty-six pillan curiously carved and set with precious stones. In the centre of the hall was Somnat, a stone idol, five yards in height, two of which were sunk in the ground.
Note that in this account, there is no mention of antigravity or loadstones. Instead, the idol is described as massive and held up by a support two yards in length. It should also be noted however, that the article from 1829 was written almost 800 years after the fact and that no sources are cited to support the description given by the author. Is the description of the idol from 1829 more accurate than that of the nearly contemporary historian Al Kazwini which was written about 300 years after the fact? Arguably, both versions may be inaccurate because neither men actually ever saw the idol which was destroyed hundred of year's before. However, the account by the arab historian Al Kazwini has the ring of truth to it, if only for the fact that Al Kazwini, a moslem, would not have been predisposed to attribute extraordinary feats and wonders to people he would have considered idolaters and infidels.
Whatever the truth, it is truly a pity that this amazing wonder was destroyed.