By Swami Harshananda
Vimāna literally means ‘an object that is measured’.
Though etymologically this word is defined as something which is measured, 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.
- Mā means to measure.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore