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By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Vimana, VimAna, Vimaana

Vimāna literally means ‘an object that is measured’.

Though etymologically this word is defined as something which is measured,[1] it is used more in a technical sense. According to the works on ancient architecture it can mean any of the following:

  • A chariot of the gods flying in heavenly regions
  • A house or a palace, especially the one which is seven-storeys in height
  • The small tower over the garbhagṛha or the sanctum sanctorum of a temple

This last one can be of three architectural types:

  • Nāgara - It is curvilinear.
  • Drāviḍa - It is pyramidal.
  • Vesara - It is a combination of the former two.


  1. Mā means to measure.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore