Vimana (architectural feature)

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Vimanam and Gopuram

Vimana is the Sanctum sanctorum (Odia: ଦେଉଳ/Deula, ଗର୍ଭଗୃହ/Garbhagruha) in Hindu temples of Odisha and South India.


The Vimana of the Jagannath Temple at Puri in the Kalinga style of architecture

A typical Hindu temple in Dravidian style have gopurams in the four directions i.e East - main entrance, North and south - side entrances, West - only opened on auspicious day where it is believed we will go directly to Heaven.The temple's walls are typically square with the outer most wall having four gopuras, one each on every side, situated exactly in the center of each wall. This will continue to next tier depending upon the size of the temple. The sanctum sanctorum and its towering roof (the central deity's shrine) are also called the Vimana. Generally, these do not assume as much significance as the outer gopurams, with the exception of a few temples where the sanctum sanctorum's roofs are as famous as the temple complex itself.

In temples of Odisha as per the Kalinga style of architecture, the Vimana is the tallest structure of the temple and houses the original deities.

Famous Shrines[edit]

The kanaka-sabai (Golden Stage) at Thillai Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram is another example. This shrine is entirely covered with golden plates, but is different in its structure and massive in size when compared to most other Vimanas. Historical evidence states that during the 9th century Parantaka Chola I funded to cover this Vimana with ornamental gold and it retains its glory even today.

The Ananda Nilayam vimanam of the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple is a famous example where the gopuram of the main shrine occupies a very special place in the temple's history and identity.

Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple has two golden vimanas,[1] the huge one for Lord Shiva and the second one for His consort Meenakshi.

The Vimana of the Brihadeeswarar Temple in Tanjore is another example, with a very exaggerated height. This form is not very common.

The Jagannath temple of Puri has the Neelachakra on the sikhara, i.e, the top of the Vimana. It is a representation of Lord Vishnu's most powerful weapon, Sudarshana chakra.

The vimana of the Konark sun temple was the tallest of all vimanas before it fell.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Towers". Archived from the original on 10 September 2016.