Production Technology

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Sudheer Birodkar

Production Technology
We have been told through Indian as well as foreign literary sources that, in ancient times, commodities like sugar, palm oil, coconut oil, cotton cloth, clarified butter, cast iron, tin sheets, copper vessels, dyes and pigments like cinnabar (ochre), indigo and lac, perfumes like sandalwood oil, musk tamarind, costus, macir, camphor, and even crude glass crockery were being exported from India.
Production Technology

—The Periplus of the Erythrean Sea - Travels and Trade in the Indian Ocean by a Merchant in the First Century, Translated from the Greek and Annoted by Wilfred H. Schoff, Longmans Green and Co. New York, 1912

It is well known that in ancient times, commodities like sugar, palm oil, coconut oil, cotton cloth, clarified butter, cast iron, tin sheets, copper vessels, dyes and pigments like cinnabar (ochre), indigo and lac, perfumes like sandalwood oil, musk tamarind, costus, macir, camphor, and even crude glass crockery were being exported from India[1]

These items are not gifts of nature. Their manufacture involves processing to effect chemical changes in their properties notably in the case of sugar, glass, metals and perfumes. Thus some kind of chemical engineering must have existed in India in those times i.e. about 2000 to 2500 years ago. Along with this chemical processing, some physical apparatus would have been used. This presumes the existence of at least a rudimentary knowledge that in today's terminology would be called 'mechanical engineering'.


The earliest recorded use of copperware in India has been around 3000 B.C. The findings at Mohenjodaro and Harappa bear this out. The earliest documented observation of smelting of metals in India is by Greek Historians in the 4th Century B.C.

No doubt, the chemical and mechanical engineering would have been very rudimentary by today's standards but nevertheless it would have been chemical and mechanical engineering of some standard as is evident from the following references about the quality of Indian products in foreign literature of those times.

When referring to India, the author of the Greek text Periplus, dated around the 1st century A.D. has said, "There is a river near it called the Ganges .... On its bank is a market town which has the same name as the river, Ganges. Through this place are brought malabathrum and Gangetic spikenard and pearls and muslins of the finest sorts called Gangetic. It is said that there are gold mines near these places, and there is a gold coin called caltis. And just opposite this river there is an island in the ocean, the last part of the inhabited world towards the east, under the rising sun itself, it is called Chryse; and it has the best tortoise-shell of all the places on the Erythrean Sea"[2]

The Periplus further states that "Nelcynda is distant from Muziris by river and sea about five hundred stadia, and is of another kingdom, the Pandian. This place also is situated on a river, about one hundred and twenty stadia from the sea… They send large ships to these market towns on account of the great quantity and bulk of pepper and malabathrum. There are imported here, in the first place, a great quantity of coin; topaz, thin clothing, fine linen, antimony, coral, crude glass, copper,tin, lead; wine, not much, but as much as at Barygaza; realgar and orpiment; and wheat enough for sailors, There is exported pepper which is produced in quantity only in one region near these markets, a district called Cottonara.

This mirrorwork dates back to to the12th Century A.D. But smelting of metals and derivation of alloys was done since 3000 B.C. in ancient India

Besides this there are exported great quantities of fine pearls, ivory, silk cloth, spikenard from the Ganges, malabathrum from the places in the interior, transparent stones of all kinds, diamonds and sapphires"[3]

About other commodities the Periplus says, "The voyage to all these far-side market towns is made from Egypt about the month of July, that is Epiphi. And ships are also customarily fitted out from the places across the sea, from Ariaca and Barygaza, bringing to these far-side market-towns the products, wheat, rice, clarified butter, sesame oil, cotton cloth (the monache and the sagmatogene), and gridles, and honey from the reed called Sacchari." [4]

Thus we see that, in a rambling manner, the Periplus refers to the "muslins of the finest sorts," "fine pearls, ivory, silk cloth" "crude glass", "coins", etc'., apart from many other commodities that were exported from India. Other western historians, and traveller-adventurers like Megasthanes, Strabo, Ptolemy, Fa Hien, Huen Tsang, Pliny, Marco Polo, Al Beruni, Ibn Batuta, etc., have also enumerated the various commodities that were produced and exported by India.

A large list of commodities was exported from India in ancient times. The present day English names of most of these commodities have originated from Sanskrit. This list has been compiled from references to India made by Western, Chinese and Arab historians in ancient and medieval ages.

The large list of items, which were manufactured and exported, shows that India in ancient times had developed the mechanical arts. Metals were smelted and cast into sheets, even into pictures as was recorded by Greek historians; fabric was woven and dyed, needless to say yarn was spun to produce the finest muslin fabrics; oil was extracted from coconuts, groundnuts, palm and sesame; perfumes were made from sandalwood, musk, camphor and spikenard; dyes and pigments were extracted from ochre, indigo, lac, and copal; sugar crystals were made, coir mats woven and even glass and imitation jewellery was manufactured.

All this was not done with bare hands, technology used cannot even be considered as that of handicrafts. The techniques used in making sugar, glass, jewellery, metal sheets, oils, etc., presumed the existence of physical apparatus of some degree of sophistication.

To fabricate that physical apparatus, knowledge of mechanics and mechanical engineering is a pre-requisite. The various references to the use of spindles, oil-mills, furnaces given under various sections in this chapter throw light as to the state of mechanical-arts which supported the export trade and enabled the ancient Indians to maintain a monopoly in the supply of many items for centuries.

The Distillation Of Perfumes

The distillation of scents, perfumes and fragrant liquids and ointments was one area where the knowledge of chemistry was applied in India since ancient times. In fact the very word 'scent', which is of unexplained origin[5], is possibly derived from the Sanskrit term Sugandha which literally means 'good or aromatic paste'. This word could have been transmitted to European languages through the Greek language which has borrowed (and lent) many words from Sanskrit.

Many present day perfumes had existed in India since ancient times and perhaps had originated here. In ancient times, perfumes and fragrant ointments were of two typ viz., Teertha (liquids) and Gandha (slurries or ointments). During the coronation Kings or during any auspicious occasion, person was sprinkled with aromatic oils. Fragrant ointments based on sandalwood were applied during ceremonial bathing. Even today during some festivals like Diwali, aromatic slurries and pastes are prepared out of a powder called Sugandhi, Utne and are used during the ceremonial bath which is taken during that festival.


Since very early times, Sandalwood and Sandalwood oil were items of export. The Greek text of the 1st century A.D., Periplus mentions sandalwood as one of the items being imported from India. The word Sandal (wood) is derived from the Latin terms Santalum Album or Santalacae. These terms used by the Romans to describe sandalwood were[6] derived from the Sanskrit term Chandana, for sandalwood.

The Sandalwood tree is native to India and is found mainly in South-western India in the state of Karnataka. Sandalwood has been a known item of export from India since ancient times. Authors of Sanskrit texts on botany which in Sanskrit is called Vanaspati-Shastra had classified Sandalwood into three types viz. white sandalwood Shrikanda (which perhaps is an abbreviation of the term Shewta-Chandana ), the second is yellow sandalwood or Pitta-Chandana and the last is red sandalwood or Rakta-Chandana.

The reference to Sandalwood in the Periplus is perhaps the earliest available western reference to Sandalwood. It has been mentioned in later times by Comas Indiwpleustes in the 6th century A.D. as Tzandana and thereafter it is frequently referred to by Arab traders. Oil was also extracted from Sandalwood. This oil which was a thick but refined liquid was extracted in specially constructed oil mills called Teyl-Peshani and Teylena-Lip. The oil extracted from these mills was a thick, dark yellow liquid. Along with Sandalwood, the Sandalwood oil was also an item of export from India during ancient times. Sandalwood oil was mainly bought by the Romans between the 1st and 3rd centuries A.D.


Musk is also a fragrant substance which is secreted in the gland by a male musk-deer. Musk is reddish-brown in color and is used as a base for perfumes and also as an ingredient for soaps to give it a musky smell. In Sanskrit, Musk is known as Muska which means the scortum i.e. the pouch of skin containing the testicles of the deer. The English term Musk originates from the Sanskrit term Muska.[7]


Tamarind is a fruit whose acid pulp is used in the making of cooling or medicinal drinks. The English word Tamarind is derived from the Latin term 'Tamarindus Indica' which is derived from the Arabic term Tamr-Hindi which means 'Dates from India'. In Sanskrit, Tamarind is called Chincha and Amlica. The latter term is derived from the word Amlica which means acidic. This name is given to Tamarind due to the acidic odor and juice that it has. This fruit was an item of export from India since ancient times. The fact that it originated in India is evident from the name Tamr-Hindi which the Arabs gave it.


Camphor is a whitish translucent crystalline volatile substance with aromatic smell and bitter taste. It is also used in pharmacy as a medicinal drug. The word camphor is derived from the Latin word 'Camphora' which comes from the Arabic term Kafur, which ultimately originated from the Sanskrit term Karpuram[8].

Camphor was also an item exported from India since ancient times. The Camphor that was exported was not in its natural form but it was refined and cut into strips and square pieces before being loaded for export. That it was mainly obtained from India is established by the fact that the name chosen for this commodity was the corrupted version of the original Sanskrit term. Even today Camphor is used by devout Hindus as incense during prayer.


Spikenard was a costly aromatic ointment extracted since ancient times from an Indian plant known in Sanskrit as Nardostachys Jatamansi which perhaps means 'the braid of hair (Jataa) of (Narada). The English word Spikenard is derived from the Greek term Nardostakhus and the Latin term Spica Nardi; both the terms are derived from the Sanskrit term Nardostachys Jatamansi. This plant has purplish-yellow flower heads and is very rarely found. Its smell is quite pleasing and hence it had been in great demand since ancient times.

In India this herb was available only in the Himalayas. Spikenard, which is aromatic and bitter, yields a pleasant smelling oil on distillation. In India, it had been used since ancient times as an aromatic adjunct in the preparation of medicinal oils and was popularly believed to increase the growth and blackness of hair. The Roman historian Pliny observes the Spikenard was considered very precious in Rome and it was stored in alabaster boxes by persons of eminence.

Another aromatic herb exported from ancient India was the Nard. It is a root of the ginger-grass found in western Punjab and Baluchistan. The Nard is found in semi-aril areas and it seems to have been found by Alexander in Gedrosia (Baluchistan) when his army unknowingly trampled the plant while on march and this resulted in a sweet perfume which we are told "was diffused far and wide over the land by the trampling". The Nard is known in Latin as Cymbopogon Jwarancusa the word Cusa is perhaps derived from the Sanskrit word Kusha for grass. The use of the word grass to refer to Nard is perhaps because of its being confused by the Romans with other aromatic grasses like lemon grass, ginger grass, citronella, etc., which also yield aromatic oils.


Costus is the root of the plants Saussurea Lappa, a tall perennial plant growing on the open slopes of the valley of Kashmir and other high valleys of that region. The plant is found at elevations of 8000 to 13000 feet. It was used by the Romans as a culinary spice and also as a perfume.

This root was dug up and cut into small pieces and shipped to Rome and China. The root is generally of the size of a finger wit' a yellowish woody part and a whitish bark. It is said that Seleucus Callinicus had obtained Costus from India and sent it as gift to the Milesians. The Romans also referred to costus as radix, the root as distirguished from Nard which was called folio the leaf. The price of Costus in Rome is stated by Pliny to have been 5 denarii per pound.

India still exports Costus and today the collection of Costus is a state monopoly. In Kashmir, the product is used by shawl merchants to protect their fabrics from moths. The Indian origin of Costus is evident from the fact that the word is derived from the Sanskrit term Kustha which means 'that which stands in the earth'. This word was perhaps used as Costus was a root.


Macir is mentioned by Dioscorides as an aromatic bark. Pliny says that it was brought from India. He describes it as a red bark growing upon a large root, which bears the name Macir from the tree that produced it. He prescribed a mixture of this bark with honey as a cure for dysentery. The word Macir is today neither found in the English nor the Sanskrit Dictionaries but it has been mentioned in the Periplus on pages 80 and 81[9].

The word Macir has been said to have been derived from the Sanskrit word Makara which in India was said to have been used in ancient times as a traditional Ayurvedic remedy for dysentery. Macir seems to have been the root-bark of the tree Holarrhena Antidysentrica which according to the notes appended to the Periplus was found throughout India and Burma in the lower Himalayas upto 3500 feet.

Both the bark and seed of this tree were among the most important medicines in the Ayurvedic system of medicine. According to the notes to the Periplus, "This tree found by the Portuguese was called 'Herba malabarica owing to its great merit in the treatment of dysentery, they having found it on the Malabar coast. The preparation, generally in the form of a solid or liquid extract, or of a decoction, is astringent, anti-dysenteric and anthelmintic. The seeds yield a fixed oil, and the wood ash is used in dyeing. Thus this commodity which was exported from India in early times had multiple uses.

The Making Of Dyes And Pigments

Many dyes and pigments were extracted in ancient India from vegetables and mineral bases. The Greek historian Ktesias who lived in the 4th century B.C. at the Persian Court has observed that "Among the Indians are found certain insects about the size of beetles and of a color so red that at first sight one might mistake them for cinnabar. Their legs are of extraordinary length and soft to the touch. They grow upon trees which produce amber, and subsist upon their fruit. The Indians collect them for the sake of the purple dye, which they yield when crushed. This dye is used for tinting with purple not only their outer and under-garments, but also any other substance where a purple hue is required. Robes tinted with this purple are sent to the Persian King, for Indian purple is thought by the Persians be marvelously beautiful and far superior to their own." Ktesias also says that the Indian dye is deeper and more brilliant than the renowned Lydian Purple.

We will discuss some of these dyes which were extracted in ancient India, e.g. indigo, lac, ochre, copal, aniline, in the following pages.


Lac is a resinous substance secreted on trees by an insect called the Lac insect. This is used as a protective covering and as varnish on wooden furniture. The English word lac is derived from the Sanskrit term Laksha[10] which itself is derived from the word Raksha which in Sanskrit means protection. This was perhaps as lac was used as a protective covering. Lac was also used as a dye. In ancient times it was used by women for dyeing nails and palms. It was also used to dye cloth. The process of dyeing cloth with lac was termed Vastra-ranga-kruta which literally means 'to give color to cloth'. In doing this, screens were used to hold cloth in place while the dye was being applied.

In ancient times, lac was used both as a dye and a resin but with the introduction of aniline, the demand for lac as a dye became less. It is today used mainly as a resin called 'shellac', which is melted into thin flakes and used to make varnish.


Ochre is a pigment varying from light yellow to orange and brown. It is a mineral of clay and hydrated ferric oxide. The old name of ochre is cinnabar which was perhaps derived from the Sanskrit term Sindhura. According to the Century Dictionary, the word cinnabar originated from the Persian word zinjafr, which is a corruption of the Sanskrit Sindhura.

Ochre (or cinnabar) was used as a dye for cloth and also as paint for walls in Roman times. In India it was, and still is used to paint images of Gods and as a caste mark applied on the forehead called tilaka.


Copal is a resin extracted from a tree which in Latin is named Vateria Indica. This tree is to be found in the Western Ghats (Hills) of India. The word copal is not to be found today[11], but according to the Periplus, it is derived from the Sanskrit term "Kankamon".


This is a blue colored dye obtained from coal tar. This was being extracted in ancient India and was transmitted to the west by the Arabs. It was called Neel or Neelam in Sanskrit. The Arabs named it AI Nil or An Nil from which we have the English word Aniline[12].


Indigo is also a blue colored dye obtained from a plant named Indigofera. In ancient times, indigo was used both as a dye and as a medicine. The word indigo is derived from the Greek word Indikon which means 'from India'. In Sanskrit, it is referred to as Neelam.

The Smelting Of Metals

According to information culled out from various Roman and Greek texts, metals like iron, tin, copper and brass were imported from India. These texts say that the metals were not being imported as an ore but as sheets. This presumes that the ore must have been smelted and cast into sheets in India before it was exported. References in Sanskrit literature also support this.

According to a Greek Ktesias, the smelting of metals was undertaken in India in those days. He has written that, "Every year a spring filled itself with fluid gold which was drawn from it in one hundred earthen pitchers. It was necessary that they should be of clay, because the gold afterwards congealed, and the pitchers had to be broken in order to get it out. Each pitcher contained one talent of gold".

On this remark of Ktesias, McCrindle, who has translated Ktesias' writings, has noted that "The sense of this passage can only be that auriferous ores were melted, and that the gold obtained from them was drawn out in a fluid state. That there was a spring must be a misapprehension, and we must imagine instead that there was a cistern prepared to receive gold."... "If this supposition is right, it follows that the Indians knew how to extract gold from the ore by melting.

We shall now look into some of the metals that were being exported from India.


Marco Polo has mentioned that iron and Ondanique was sold in the markets of Kerman in Iran. The word Ondanique has been interpreted as a corruption of the Persian word Hundwaniy which meant 'Indian Steel'.

Even earlier, during the reigns of the Roman Emperors Marcus Aurelius and Commodus, Ferrum Indium appears in the list of dutiable articles. There also exists an ancient Greek chemical treatise entitled "On the Tempering of Indian Steel". Edrisi has noted that "The Hindus excel in the manufacture of iron. They have also workshops wherein are forged the most famous sabres in the world. It is impossible to find anything to surpass the edge that you get from Indian Steel". This passage which has been quoted in the notes to the Periplus on page 71 proves beyond doubt, in the words of a foreign historian, that the art of smelting and casting iron was well developed in ancient India.

In ancient times, in India, Loha-churna meant iron ore; Kupya- shala and Sandhaani meant an iron foundry'. A furnace was called Chuli or Agnikund. Wrought iron was called Lohabandhan, iron bars were called Loha-pindaha. Smelting of iron was called Loha-drava-Karan (literally, liquefaction of Iron). Loha-chinha meant an iron mould and Lohakaraka meant a smith or ironmonger.


In ancient tunes tin was known as Kassiteros in the Greek language. This word was derived from the early Sanskrit word Kasthira for tin. Even today in some Indian languages tin and aluminium are called Kathila which is derived from the Sanskrit word Kasthira.

In ancient India the value of tin for hardening copper was recognized and the art of tempering tin with other metals was developed. The fact is corroborated by the comments of the Greek historians (quoted below in the section on Copper) regarding the excellent tempering of various metals that had been practiced in India.


Copper has been mentioned in the Periplus as an article of export from India. In those days copper ore was extracted in a big way and it was smelted locally in South India and Rajputana, according to the Periplus.

Philostratus of Lemnos, in about 230 A.D. has mentioned a shrine in Taxila in India, in which were hung pictures on copper tablets representing the feats of Alexander and Porus. In the words of Philostratus "The various figures were portrayed in a mosaic of orichalcum, silver, gold, and oxidised copper, but the weapons in iron. The metals were so ingeniously worked into one another that the pictures which they formed were comparable to the productions of the most famous Greek artists.

In ancient India copper was also known as Tamara, copper plate was called Tamara-Patra. Tamrakar meant a copper smith and Tamara-pana meant a copper coin.


Brass is not an original metal obtained from natural ore, it is a composite metal found as an alloy of copper and zinc. From the above quotation of Philostratus it is evident that in ancient India the art of welding metals together was known. We cannot conclusively say that Brass (called Pitalam in Sanskrit) was manufactured in ancient India but the fact that there were Sanskrit equivalents for copper (Tamara, Kasthira), zinc (Dasta) and alloy which was called Mishradhatu (mixed metal), Nyunata (novelty) and Dushitaha (impurity) supports the fact that Brass, or a Brass-like metal, was smelted in ancient India.

Thus it was recognized that an alloy would be a mixture of metals, that it would be novelty; and that due to the mixing of metals, the resultant alloy would be impure in the sense that it would not be a metal derived from a natural mineral ore.

It is possible that brass was used for decorative purposes due to its likeness to gold. Thus we have the terms like Pitalam-Pushpakam, Pitalam Kusuman janam and Pitalam-Pushpaketu which mean efflorescence created from brass. The ornamental use of brass in ancient India is also evident from the quotation of Philosotratus given above in the section on copper.


This unfamiliar word connotes crystallized aluminum oxide of various colors having great hardness and used as gems and also as an abrasive. We have been told that certain gems were used to cut metals in ancient India, corundum, or Kuruvinda in Sanskrit, was one such gem. Corundum was also exported from India to foreign countries since ancient times. The fact that India was the main source of this item is evident from the name Corundum given to it[13] is derived from the Sanskrit word Kuruvinda.


This is another unfamiliar term which means chloride of ammonium. This was also being obtained from ancient India. The word Nowshadder is also derived from a Sanskrit root word 'Narasara'.


This is a mineral species of a transparent precious stone varying from pale green to yellow in color. This was one of the items of export from India during early times. The word Beryl is said to have been derived from the Sanskrit term Vaidurya.


This is amorphous quartz like form of hydrated silica, some types of opal are semi-translucent and appear like glass. This item is recorded to have been exported in ancient times from India. The English word Opal has been derived from the Sanskrit term Upala [14].

The Processing Of Agro-Based Products

Indians in ancient times had invented methods of extracting oil from agro-products like, coconut, palm, sesame, etc. For doing this, oil presses and oil mills were used. The oil was refined through the use of special sieves. Sugar was also being manufactured. The making of sugar presumed the existence of a process of vaporization, condensation and crystallization of sugar along with the apparatus like a mill, a sugarcane press, a furnace, etc. Various agro-based products were made in India and exported abroad since the last 2000 to 2500 years. To support this claim, we have the observations of foreign historians and also references in Sanskrit literature.

A Greek historians named Ktesias whom we referred to earlier and who was a contemporary of Hippokrates, has written that, "There is bred in the Indian river a worm, like in appearance to that which is found in the fig, but seven cubits more or less in length, while its thickness is such that only a boy ten years old could hardly clasp it within the circuit of his arms. In this passage, Ktesias is obviously referring to the Indian python, he further says that, "For catching this worm a large hook is employed, to which a kid or a lamb is fastened by chains of iron. The worm being landed, the captors hang up its carcass, and placing vessels underneath it leave it thus for thirty days. All this time oil drops from it, as much being got as would fill ten Attic Kotylai. At the end of thirty days they throw away the worm, and preserving the oil they take it to the king of the Indians, and to him alone, for no subjects are allowed to get a drop of it. This oil (like fire) sets everything ablaze over which it is poured and it consumes not alone wood but even animals. The flames can be quenched only by throwing over them a great quantity of clay, and that of a thick consistency"[15]

The above passage describes one method of extracting the body oil from a python which we are told had an inflammable quality and which, we are told through our epics, was used in warfare, in ancient India in Agniban or Agniastra. This word dhanikru seems to have been derived from creek commentator has also described other methods of extracting oils from trees which were used as lubricants and perfumes.

He has said that " there are certain trees in India as tall as the cedar or the cypress, having leaves like those of the date palm, only some what Broader, but having no shoots sprouting from the stems . They produce a flower like the male laurel, out no fruit. In the Indian language they are called Karpion. These trees are scarce. There oozes from them an oil in drops, which are wiped off from the stem with wool, from which they are afterwards wrung out and received into alabaster boxes of stone. The oil is in colour of a faint red, of a somewhat thick consistency. Its smell is sweetest in all the world, and is said to diffuse itself to a distance of five stadia around. The privilege of possessing this perfume belongs only to the king and the members of the royal family”. We shall see below the various agro based products that were manufactured and exported by ancient Indians.


"Honey from the reed called saccharin”. This is the first mention of the word sugar in western literature according to the notes appended to the Periplus. It was known to Pliny as a medicine. The word sugar is derived from the word quoted above Sacchari which means sugar in Prakrit. In the Sanskrit original it is called Sharkara, from which we have the Arabic Sukkar and the Latin Saccharum.

Most modern languages reflect the Arabic form, e.g. we have the Portuguese: Assucar, Spanish Azucar, French: Sucre, German: Zuker and English: Sugar.

In Latin the Sugarcane plant is termed Saccharum Officinarum, in Sanskrit it is called Sharkara Ikshu. According to the Periplus, sugarcane was first cultivated and crushed in India. Apart from sugar, jaggery (Guda) was also exported. In ancient times in India the process of crystallization of sugar was known as Sphatika-rupena-dhanikru, in which Sphatika means 'crystal', rupena means 'to form' and Kru in the verb Kru which means 'to do'. The Sieves that were used to refine the sugarcane slurry before crystallization were known as Titauha or Chalani in Sanskrit.

Coconut Oil & Palm Oil

Palm oil was also an item of export from India along with coconut oil. But from Greek texts, we find that the commentators confused Coconut oil and Palm oil. Palm fruit in India was Talaha in Sanskrit. From this word we today refer to this tree as Tada in many Indian languages.

Sesame Oil

Sesame is a herbaceous plant called Sesamum Indium in Latin and Tilaha or Teelaha in Sanskrit. It is known as Til or Teel in many Indian languages. The sesame seeds are rich in oil and sesame oil is used as a cooking medium. In western India during a festival called Makara Sankranti which falls in January, Sweetmeats are prepared from Teel and jaggery.

The fact that sesame oil was first extracted in India is evident from the latin name Sesamum Indium given to it. The word sesame is of oriental origin[16]. The sesame plant was regularly being cultivated in India since ancient times according to the Periplus.

The author of the Periplus has said “Beyond the Gulf of Baraca is that of Barygaza (modern Broach) and the coast of the country of Ariaca, which is the beginning of the Kingdom of Tambanus and of all India.... It is a fertile country, yielding wheat and rice and sesame oil and clarified butter, cotton and the Indian cloths.”

Thus according to the author of the Periplus, not sesame seed but the oil extracted from these seeds was exported.

As mentioned in the section on Sandalwood in ancient India, oil mills were known variously as Teyl-Peshani, Teylena-lip and Teylena-Auja. Oil cake was called Teyl-Kuthha or Teela-Kalkam. In this term Teela is- evidently derived from Teelaha, and Kalkaha in Sanskrit which means dirt. There were terms for oil extractor who was called Teylikaha; the bottle in which oil was stored was known as Teyla-Kutu. To refine the oil, sieves were used as in the manufacture of sugar.

Clarified Butter

This commodity was referred to as Butyram in Latin and as Bouturon in Greek. In Sanskrit it is referred to as Ghrutam. Clarified butter as we know is animal (fat) oil derived from the heating and melting of ordinary butter during which the moisture is evaporated and residual refined oil is deposited. In this Process the butter loses about 25 percent of its bulk. It is made both from cows and buffaloes' milk, though the latter is richer in fat content.

In ancient Hindu texts, Ghrutam or Ghee is an essential ingredient in most religious rituals. As clarified butter can last longer than ordinary butter, it was more suitable as an item of export. According to the notes to the Periplus, clarified butter was exported from India after being enclosed in leather skins or earthen pots, while still hot. This way it could be preserved for many months without the aid of salt or other preservatives.

A European traveller by the name Fryer Las mentioned in the year 1672 that in the deccan he was shown tanks of Ghee which were at that time 400 years old. They had great medicinal value and were highly priced.

Clarified butter according to the Periplus was exported mainly from Barygaza in India. Barygaza is the Greek corruption of the Sanskrit name Bhrigu-Kaccha, the original name of the city of Broach in Gujarat. Even today the state of Gujarat produces large quantities of Ghee and other milk products at Anand and Khaira. Since ancient times, Gujarat has been famous for pastoral activities and has been associated with our pastoral cowherd god Srikrishna who we are told spent a large part of his life at Dwarka in Gujarat. Even the English word 'Butter' is said to have been derived from a Sanskrit root word. According to the notes to the Periplus "Lassen, Oppert and others, following a mention of boutyros by Theophrastus, identify it with asafoetida, byway of the Sanskrit Bhutari " which means 'the enemy of evil spirits'. Thus out of a confusion between the products asafoetida and clarified butter, the name butyron in Greek, Butyrum in Latin and Butter in English could have been derived from the Sanskrit term Bhutari.[17]


The word 'coir' has been derived from the Malayalam terms Kayaru which means 'to be twisted' and Kayar which means a rope. These Malayalam terms are perhaps derived from the Sanskrit words Kunchanam or Akunchanam which also mean 'to twist'.

According to Marco Polo, ropes made from an 'Indian nut' were used to bind planks in ships. The Periplus notes that boats were sewed together with ropes. These boats are referred to as Madarata. This word is derived from the Arabic term muddarra'at which means' fastened with palm fibre'.

Jute and hemp were also being exported from India. In fact, the English word jute stems from the Sanskrit word Jataa meaning a braid of hair and one of the words for hemp i.e. Sunna originates from the Sanskrit word Sana[18]


This is an unfamiliar English word but it means a fan made of palm leaves. The Talipot was made by weaving together palm leaves and also used in constructing sunshades and roofs for houses in rural India in ancient times.

It was known as Talapatra which means palm leaf (Tala = palm and patra = leaf). The talipot was exported to the Roman Empire from mainly Kerala in South India. The English word talipot is derived from the Malayalam term nalipat. In modern Hindi the word used for this commodity is Talpat or Tadpatra which even Today is used as material for roofing in rural areas.


This item as we know is also used as building material and also in making furniture. Bamboo products as well as Bamboo poles were exported from India since very early times. The Bamboo[19], is derived from the Malayalam word Mambu. But this word is itself derived from the Sanskrit root word Vambha for bamboo. Incidentally another Sanskrit word Stambha which means pillar, comes etymologically close to the word Bamboo. In modern Indian languages the words Khamba (pillar) find Bamboo are still in usage.


Lemon fruit and lemon syrup were also manufactured in ancient India and were also exported to Persia and Rome. The exports to Persia were by overland routes but those to Rome went by the Sea. The word lemon itself is derived from the Sanskrit term Nimbuka which is used in modern Hindi as Nimbu or Limbu. The Arabs who many a time were the carriers of Indian products to the Roman Empire pronounced Nimuaka as Lima from which the word was transmitted to various European languages as 'lemon'[20].


This is also an unfamiliar word today, but in earlier times in Latin it meant 'dried leaf of cinnamon'. The name of this item which was exported from India was derived from the Sanskrit term Tamala-pattram. Incidentally the English word cinnamon is also derived from the Sanskrit root word Kurunta. The cultivation and export of cinnamon has been observed by the Greek writer, Ktesias who lived in Persia in the 4th century B.C.


Mustard seeds were also an item of export in ancient times. Mustard is an agricultural item but in India the seeds were threshed and dehusked before being exported. The English word mustard is also said to have been derived from the Sanskrit word Mugda.


This fruit is today considered-to be native of the Mediterranean region but in very early times, it was being exported from India. The English word 'orange' is derived from the Sanskrit word Naranga which was transmitted to the west though the Arabs. The Arabs pronounced this word as Naranj as the letter 'g' is absent in Arabic. It is from the Arabic Naranj that the English word Orange is derived[21]. Even today oranges are widely cultivated in Central India around Nagpur.

The Manufacture Of Textiles

The manufacture of textiles was a well developed activity in India since ancient times. In this section we shall see what was the state of art in ancient India in spinning yarn and weaving of cotton and silk cloth.

Cotton Cloth

India is one of the countries where cotton fibre was spun into thread and woven into fabric since a very early time. Archaeological findings at the Indus valley cities indicate that woven cloth was known in India nearly 4000 to 5000 years back, as the Indus culture is dated around 2000 to 3000 years B.C. Baked clay seals depicting the social life of that period have been found on the site of the ruins at Mohenjodaro and Harappa. On some of these seals are depicted men with apparel draped around their bodies. This apparel is shown to have a design which is presumably painted on it. It is possible that this painted cloth was woven out of cotton. These findings on the Indus valley sites are very old and lack any other supporting evidence.

But the Greeks under Alexander who invaded north-western India around 350 B.C. have recorded that they found cotton cloth for the first time in India. Before coming to India, the Greeks had passed through Egypt, Mesopotamia and Persia, but they discovered cotton cloth only in India. The Greeks also knew woven cloth, but the fibre they used was wool and when they saw that the material from which cloth was woven in India grew on trees, they concluded that India was a country- where wool grew on trees. The term cotton-wool for the cotton found on its tree has stuck on till today.

The English term cotton itself perhaps originates from the Sanskrit word for it viz. Karpasa. The Greek term Karpasos and the Latin term Carbasus have evidently been derived from Sanskrit. India continued to produce cotton cloth throughout the areas of history and was an exporter of fine muslin cloth till two hundred years back. The muslin of Dacca had acquired global fame. This industry thrived till the 18th century when British commercial interests considered its existence to be a threat to the factories of Lancashire and killed that art by cutting off the fingers of the masterweavers. But in spite of this, today this art of spinning and weaving fine cotton cloth does survive in isolated corners of the country though it is now on the road to extinction.

But in ancient times this art had been given active encouragement. According to the notes to the Periplus "The manufacture of cotton cloth was at its best in India until very recent times, And the fine Indian muslins were in great demand and commanded high prices, both in the Roman Empire and Medieval Europe. The industry was one of the main factors in the wealth of ancient India".

In ancient India the textile industry was thus well established right from the cleaning of cotton, spinning of yarn, weaving of cloth to the dyeing of cloth. Cotton yarn was referred to as Sutram or Tantuhu, spinning of yarn was termed Taantavaa and Tantakaran, spindles used in doing this were called Tarkuti or Tarkutam. The loom was called Tantra-Vdpaha.

A weaver of cloth was called Tantavayaha-Paha or Patakaara . The activity of weaving was called Tantu-Tantra-Vayaha, Pata-Nirmanam or Pata-Karman. The texture of cloth was called Tantu-Sutra-Gunaha or Taantvam. Textiles or fabrics were called Tantu-Nirmit. The process of dyeing as referred to earlier in the section lac was termed 'Vastra-Ranga-Kruta' which literally means 'to dye cloth'

Silk Cloth

Silk did not originate in India, it originated in Mongolia. But since very early times India was on the trade route of silk and the manufacture of silk cloth and the rearing of silkworms had started in India soon after the technique was introduced here from China. The word Silk is derived from the Mongolian root word Sirkek which means silk, form this we have the Chinese word: Ssi, the Greek: Ser. Latin: Sericum and the English: Silk. In Sanskrit the word used for silk yarn is Kitta-Sutram. The word Kitta is an abbreviation of Kitaka which means a worm.

Thus in ancient times it was known in India that silk yarn is derived from silk worms. In fact silk worms were reared in India and silk yarn and cloth were manufactured and exported. Silk worms were known as Tantu-Kitam meaning Thread worms. Silk cloth imported from China was called Chinaam-Shakam, and locally manufactured silk cloth was called Kaushambaram and Komala, Ambara which literally means sky but was also used to refer to cloth, komala means soft and the word seems to have been used due to the soft texture of silk cloth.


This is a type of cotton cloth which is fast printed with parti-coloured pattern. This cloth is usually glazed but is relatively cheap. This has been one of the many types of cotton cloth exported from India. The word Chintz is also derived from the Sanskrit word Chitra which means 'picture' or variegated[22].


This word which is still used in modern Indian languages is a corruption of the word Chaturanga. This is so as the game of Chaturanga was in ancient times played on a piece of cloth, in place of the modern chess board. These carpets called Satranji were exported from India in ancient and medieval times. The word: Sataranji has found its way into many modern foreign languages including English. It is defined as an 'Indian cotton Carpet'[23].

The Making Of Drugs And Herbal Compounds

As India is the home of Ayurveda, the herbal system of medicine, it is but natural that many herbal compounds, drugs, antidotes, etc., should have existed in ancient India. Many foreign commentators like Megasthanes, Strabo, Xenophon and Ktesias have referred to the various drugs and medical compounds that were extracted by ancient Indians.

According to Ktesias, "Writers on India inform us that, that country produces many drugs, and is astonishingly prolific of those plants which yield them. Many of these drugs are medicinal and cure snakebites, which are so dangerous to life, but others are deleterious and quickly destroy life."


In ancient India the technique of surgery was well developed. Shusruta who lived in the 8th century B.C. is recorded to have performed operations like extracting cataracts, extracting teeth, transplanting flesh (plastic surgery), etc. There also were other practitioners of medicine like Charaka, Atreya, Agnivesa, Jeevaka, etc.

The practice of surgery required that the patient be made unconscious, but in the absence of chloroform or any other drug to administer anesthesia, special liquors were used. The use of liquors as anaesthetic media has been referred to in the ancient treatises on medicine. These liquors were extracted from fruits, sugarcane and even some types of roots. The generic name for these liquors was Arka which in Sanskrit means 'essence'. Such liquors were even consumed in normal times apart from their medicinal usage. In India we had liquors like Soma and Sura since Vedic times.

Liquors were also exported to foreign countries since very early times. The Arabs who carried Indian commodities to western countries in ancient and medieval ages, called the Indian liquor Arak from the Sanskrit term Arka. From the Arabic term we have the English word Arrack[24].


This unfamiliar word means an aromatic gum which is the basic input into many Ayurvedic medicines. This word was transmitted to the west through the export of Ayurvedic medicines to the Roman Empire. The word is used even today in Indian medicines as in Yograj Guggul for instance.


This is the name of a plant which yields a bitter serum used as medicine by Ayurveda. The export of this item in ancient times has led to the inclusion of the word Chiretta in the medical vocabularies of western languages today. The word Chiretta is derived from the Sanskrit term, Kirata-tikta which means 'bitter plant' from Kirata'. Kirata, incidentally was the name of a province in ancient India.


Bachnag or Bish is another word which has found its way into the medical vocabularies of many western languages through trade with India in ancient times. This serum was extracted from a calf's-navel and was called Vatsa-nabha (i.e. calf’s navel) in Sanskrit. It is from the term Vatsa-nabha that the term Bachnag is derived.


The use of snake's venom as an antidote for snakebite was recognized in India since ancient times. The word Biscobra which is one of the terms used for snake's venom in western medical lexicon is derived from the Sanskrit term Vishakapra.


This is the name of a tree whose seeds were used for extracting oil which was used in the treatment of leprosy in ancient India. This remedy was transmitted to foreign countries along with the name of the oil. The English word Chaulmoogra originates from the Indian term for it[25].

The Cultivation And Processing Of Spices

India is in a way synonymous with spices; Pepper, Ginger, Cloves, Cinnamon, Coriander, Cardamom, Cumin, etc., have all been exported from India since ancient times. In fact, spices were so valuable in the west that at times when the trade routes were dislocated by wars, spices used to be sold by their weight in gold. We shall see below the various spices exported from India in ancient times.


Pepper or Pier Longum has been referred to in the Periplus. According to the notes to the Periplus, pepper was obtained from "a perennial shrub, native of the hotter parts of India". The Latin term Piper Longum and the Greek Peperi originated from the Sanskrit term Pippali.

Pepper was grown in various parts of India in ancient times, especially long variety of pepper. This is evident from the prefixes Vaidehi (from Videha), Magadhi (from Magadha) Chapala (from Chapa), etc., used with the word Pippali in ancient times. Referring to the Indian trade in pepper, the Periplus has said" They send large ships to these market towns on account of the great quantity and bulk of pepper and malabathrum."


The word ginger is derived from the latin word gingiber which is derived from the Sanskrit root word Sringam[26] which means a horn. The word horn could have been used to refer to ginger perhaps due to the branched shape of an antler's horn which the ginger root has[27]. (Ginger was known in ancient India as Aardrakam. This word was generally used to refer to fresh or wet ginger. Even today in Hindi we use the word Adrak to refer to ginger. The dry variety of ginger was called Sunthi in ancient India, and is called Sunth in many modern Indian languages.

Ginger ale and alcohol were also made from ginger in ancient India. This was called Ardraka-Madya and Panam-Madya. Madya as we know means liquor.


The first available reference to the Indian trade in cloves is that of Cosmas Indicosleustes who tells us in his text the Christian Topography dated around 550 A.D., that "From the inner regions, that is from Tzinista and from the other market-towns, are brought silk cloth, aloe-wood, cloves and sandalwood."

In the year 1495, the Zamorin (Samudrin Raja) of Calicut wrote to the king of Portugal "In my kingdom there is abundance of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, pepper and precious stones." Marco Polo has also noted in the 13th century that cloves and other fine spices were traded by "the kingdom of Melibar" (Kerala). Though we do not have definite evidence, the English word 'clove' seems etymologically close to the Sanskrit word Lavangam. Thus it is possible that the word 'clove' was derived from the Greek and Latin derivations of the term Lavangam.


As to the country of origin of cinnamon, the father of history, Herodotus gives a fabulous story of its recovery from the nests of great birds "in those countries in which Bacchus was nursed, " which in Greek legend meant India. This is an indication that cinnamon was originally brought from India. The Sanskrit term for cinnamon which is Sugandhi-Tvacha means aromatic bark. It can be seen that the words sugandha and cinnamon are etymologically near.

The Processing Of Timber

Timber which is a gift of nature was also worked upon and exported. Most Indian timber came from the Himalayan foothills where the huge vertical coniferous trees were sawed and transported with the help of elephants to the saw-mills and cut into planks and cubes and shipped down rivers to the ports by the sea for being exported. The main types of timber that Greek and Roman historians tell us, were imported from India were, teakwood, blackwood, rosewood, ebony, cedar as also sandalwood.


This commodity is described as being imported from India in the Periplus. According to the notes to the Periplus, Teakwood is obtained from a large deciduous tree from India. Teakwood was being used as building timber from ancient times. Its main use was as beams to hold roofs and as ornamental columns. Teakwood was exported both as log planks and cubes.

In ancient India, the sawyers were known as Trakachikaha and Darudaranaha. The latter word is derived from Daru which meant 'Timber'. Timber was also known as Kashtham from which derived from the words Kashtaavidalam which meant saw-dust and Kashtha-Vipaatan-Margaha which meant a saw-pit.


Blackwood has been noted to be an item exported from India by the Periplus. The Latin term for it is Sasamin which is derived from the Sanskrit term Shisam. This wood is very strong and does not crack or split and had been used in building carriage frames, wheels, ships, ploughs, etc. Even today it continues to be a preferred wood for furniture.


This wood is also dark in color and was exported from India since ancient times. According to the Periplus, vessels are regularly sent from Barygaza (Bhrigu-Kachha, modern Broach-SB), loaded with copper, sandalwood, teakwood and logs of blackwood and ebony." In ancient India, ebony was known variously as Kevidaraha, Chamrikaha and Yugapatrakaha. The last term may indicate the long durability of ebony, Yuga meaning an eon.


A variety of Himalayan cedar was also exported from India. This cedar was called Devataru which means 'Gods tree'. From this we have English word Deodar[28].

The Manufacture Of Miscellaneous Items

Other items like glass, ceramics, ivory, betel nuts and betel leaves, areca nuts and even rice were exported from ancient India. We shall discuss below the reference made by foreign historians to some of these products.


Glass has been reported to have been manufactured in India since the 3rd century B.C according to the notes to the Periplus.

Pliny has referred to glass manufactured in India as superior to all others because it is made of pounded crystal". In ancient India, mirrors with a foil of lead or tin, were largely used in the early centuries of the Christian era. According to Pliny "the people of India by colouring crystal, have found a method of imitating precious stones, beryls in particular.

In the play named Mrichchhakatika authored by Shudraka in around the 5th century A.D. there is a scene in which a king is shown asking an expert in gems to examine some stones brought in by traders to find out whether they are real gems or imitations made from colored glass.


The Sanskrit word for elephant is Ibha. From this word the Hebrews in the time of king Solomon who imported marble and ivory from India termed ivory as Shen Habbin which means 'elephants teeth'. The word Habbin is a corruption of the Sanskrit Ibha. In ancient Egypt, the word Ibha was corrupted as Abu from which came the Etruscan word Ebur and the Latin Eboreum, from which we have the English word lvory .

In fact the word 'elephant' is also said to have been derived from the word Ibha-danta which in Sanskrit means. 'elephant's teeth'. The word elephant, according to the notes to the Periplus is a conjugation of the Arab term 'el' meaning 'the' and Ibha-danta,' from El-ibha-danta came the Greek word 'elephantos' from which we have the English word elephant.


This was also an item of export from India, mainly from Kerala. The word 'Betel' is derived from Malayalam term Vettila or Vern-ila which means betel leaf. The Malayalam term is perhaps a corruption of the Sanskrit term 'Tambulam' for betel.


Like betel this item was also exported mainly from Kerala. The English word 'areca' is derived from the Malayalam 'Addekka'[29].


Rice was being exported from India after being dehusked. The word 'Rice' stems from the latin word orizum and the Greek Oryza. These terms are said to have originated from the Sanskrit term Vrihi. In ancient India, the rice was dehusked before being exported. The husk was called Bhatha Wandaha which literally means 'scum of rice'. Threshing was known as Nistushikru, the threshing floor was called Khaladhanyam and the threshing instruments were variously known as Musalaha, Ayogram and Kandani. The word Musal is used in many modern Indian languages for the rod used to dehusk rice.


This is an alcoholic beverage made traditionally of five ingredients viz. wine, hot water, sugar, lime and spices. The origin of this drink is not widely known[30]. But as per one dictionary of words of Indian origin in the English language the word Punch is derived from the Indian word Pancham which means five in Sanskrit and which was the name of this beverage due to the five ingredients it has. The addition of spices and even sugar and lime betray the oriental origin of this beverage. Spices are a typically Indian commodity. Thus the origin of this popular European drink of today seems to lie in India of either medieval or ancient times. The name Punch also supports this claim as in no European language is any word as similar to Punch used for the number five as is the Sanskrit Pancham.


This is another popular western habit which originated in India. The practice of shampoo in India has been mentioned by the Greek historian, Strabo in the 4th century B.C. The word shampoo has been derived from the Indian term Champna[31].

Mercantile Terminology

The wide-ranging array of commodities that were being manufactured or processed in India found a regular market in the countries of Europe, West Asia, North Africa and even in South-east Asia and the far east. Hence it was but natural that the mercantile terminology of the languages of the countries which traded with India be enriched with words of Indian origin. We shall see below a few such terms that are today in use in western languages.


Surprisingly the English word cash is of ancient Indian origin. It is derived from the Sanskrit term Karsha which means currency. In ancient India, metallic currency was termed Karshapana. This term was normally used for referring to copper coins which were more numerous as compared to coins of the precious metals. From the Sanskrit term Karsha was derived the Latin term Capsa and then the modern Italian term Cassa, the Portuguese term Caixa, the French term Casse and the English term Cash.[32]


Even this English word has a hoary Indian origin. In ancient times whenever money was owed by one trader to another a written document was given. This written document bore the signature and if possible the seal of the debtor. In India this seal was called Chinhha or Chitra. Chinhha means symbol and Chitra means picture. It is from these words that the modern English word Chit has been derived[33].


This word which generally means a gold coin in modern Indian languages and has found its way into English is derived from the Sanskrit term Mudra which means a seal. This transmission could also have taken place through mercantile connections.


The word seer which has also found its way into the English Language originates from the Sanskrit Setaka. Though it is believed by some scholars that this word has entered the English language through Latin it appears that it is a recent addition to the language as a result of British colonial rule in India.


This word which is part of our daily usage both in English and in modern Indian languages, is derived from a Sanskrit original word Goni or Gonika, means a sack[34]. These sacks made of jute and hemp were traditionally used for packaging Indian goods. This word may have been transmitted to European languages as a result of mercantile contacts between India and the West.


This word which connotes a small boat is derived from the Sanskrit root word Drona which means a casket. In modern Hindi a similar word viz. Dingi or Dengi is used for a small boat. The English word 'dinghy' is derived from the Hindi word[35]. But it is quite probable that the word had been transmitted earlier through the commercial links in ancient times.


This is actually a sea-shell of a small gastropod (invertebral water creature) which was used as currency in India and in some other oriental countries in ancient times.

In India these shells which were referred to as Karapada or Karapadika in Sanskrit, were pronounced as Kaudi or Kauri in the spoken Language, Prakrit and later in Hindi. From this word the English word Cowry or Cowrie has been derived[36].

Thus we can see how the wide-spread commercial contact between India and the west led to the presence of many Indian words in European languages.

Notes & References

  1. The Periplus of the Erythrean Sea - Travelsand Trade in the Indian Ocean by a Merchant in the First Century, Translated from the Greek and Annoted by Wilfred H. Schoff, Longmans Green and Co. New York, 1912
  2. The Preiplus of the Erythrean Sea – Sea Travels and Trade in the Indian Ocean by a Merchant in the first century, Translated from the Greek and annoted by Wilfred H. Scoff, Longoman Green and Co. New York 1912, pg 47,48
  3. The Preiplus of the Erythrean Sea – Sea Travels and Trade in the Indian Ocean by a Merchant in the first century, Translated from the Greek and annoted by Wilfred H. Scoff, Longoman Green and Co. New York 1912.,pg 44
  4. The Preiplus of the Erythrean Sea – Sea Travels and Trade in the Indian Ocean by a Merchant in the first century, Translated from the Greek and annoted by Wilfred H. Scoff, Longoman Green and Co. New York 1912., pg 27
  5. Oxford Dictionary
  6. the Oxford Dictionary
  7. Oxford Dictionary
  8. Oxford Dictionary
  9. The Preiplus of the Erythrean Sea – Sea Travels and Trade in the Indian Ocean by a Merchant in the first century, Translated from the Greek and annoted by Wilfred H. Scoff, Longoman Green and Co. New York 1912
  10. Oxford Dictionary
  11. Oxford Dictionary
  12. Oxford Dictionary
  13. Oxford Dictionary
  14. Oxford Dictionary
  15. Ancient India as described by Ktesias the Knidian, Translated from Greek by J.W. McCrindle, Trubner and Co., London 1882, P. 28.
  16. Oxford Dictionary
  17. Hobson-Jobson: A Glossary of Anglo-India colloquial Words and Phases, Rout ledge and Kegan Paul. London 1986.
  18. Oxford Dictionary
  19. Oxford Dictionary
  20. Oxford Dictionary
  21. Oxford Dictionary
  22. Oxford Dictionary
  23. Oxford Dictionary
  24. Oxford Dictionary
  25. Oxford Dictionary
  26. Oxford Dictionary spelled as the Sanskrit word Crngam
  27. Oxford Dictionary
  28. Oxford Dictionary
  29. Oxford Dictionary
  30. Oxford Dictionary
  31. Oxford Dictionary
  32. the Oxford Dictionary
  33. Oxford Dictionary
  34. Oxford Dictionary
  35. Oxford Dictionary
  36. Oxford Dictionary
  • Periplus Op cit P 256
  • Periplus Op cit Ibid pp 169
  • Periplus Op cit Ibid pp 80
  • Periplus Op cit Ibid pp 81
  • Ancient India as described by Ktesias the Kindian, translated by J.W. McCrindle, Trubnet and CO. London 1882, P 52, 53
  • Ancient India Ktesias Op cit Ibid pp138
  • Ancient India Ktesias Op cit Ibid pp 80
  • Ancient India Ktesias Op cit Ibid pp 69
  • Ancient India Ktesias Op cit Ibid pp 70
  • Periplus Op cit Ibid pp 77
  • Periplus Op cit Ibid pp 151
  • Periplus Op cit Ibid pp 69
  • Ancient India Ktesias Op cit Ibid pp 28
  • Ancient India Ktesias Op cit Ibid pp 28
  • Ancient India Ktesias Op cit Ibid pp 30
  • Periplus Op cit Ibid pp 90
  • Periplus Op cit Ibid pp 39
  • Periplus Op cit Ibid pp 177
  • Hobson Jobson: A glossary of Anglo Indian colloquial Words and Phrases, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London 1986.
  • Ancient India Ktesias Op cit Ibid pp 30
  • Hobson Jobson Op cit
  • Hobson Jobson Op cit
  • Periplus Op cit Ibid pp 44
  • Periplus Op cit Ibid pp 227
  • Periplus Op cit Ibid pp 36
  • Periplus Op cit Ibid pp 36
  • Periplus Op cit Ibid pp 220
  • Periplus Op cit Ibid pp 221
  • Periplus Op cit Ibid pp 193
  • Hobson Jobson Op cit
  • Hobson Jobson Op cit
  • Hobson Jobson Op cit