The magnificent view of Sri Vimana appears as one enters the huge open courtyard from the Rajarajan Gopuram. The Srivimana is pyramidcal in structure and very tall it is 60.96 meters in height. At the top the pyramid is reduced into a neck and holds the Vimana or Sikhara which is a monolithic huge rock spherical in shape. Its approximate weight is 81.28 tones. It is believed to be elevated to this height using an inclined plane which starts 6.44 km away from a place called Sarapallam (Saram - means inclined and pallam - means pit). Above the Vimana is the shining Kalasam (bowl) made up of gold is seen whose height is 12 feet and was originally presented by Rajaraja-I. At the top of the pyramid above the 13th stage 8 nandhis are seen on corners.
On the front side of the Vimana that is facing the east direction one can see the sculptures of abode of Shiva called as Mahameru or south Kailash. The whole of Sri Vimana is built using granite rocks and the sculptures in them are covered by a thin layer of mortar to preserve the granite sculptures inside.
The first three stages of the Sri Vimana houses various forms of Shiva and Parvathi including the Dakshinamurthy, Bichadanar, Lingothbavar, Durga, Shiva & Parvathi in natural standing pose etc., called Astagostam. These sculptures are seen in 2 stages of the Karpagraham side wall lower stage and upper stage. In the third stage many view of warrior standing with weapon pose are seen.
South entrance to the Karpagraham
The Karpagraha has four entrances except the west entrance the other entrances are guarded by gigantic Dwarakapalas with protruding teeths and daring eyes. On the north and south entrance there is a Saraswathi and Laxmi sculptures present.
Various views of the magnificent Sri Vimana are shown on here.
The outer view of the Sri Vimana reveals the Cholas sculptural excellence where as the inner view reveals the Cholas architectural excellence.
South - West View
West View (Rear)
North - West View
Inside the Karpagraham
South - East
East View (Front)
North - East View
Internal Architecture of Sri Vimana
Not only the outer view and the sculptures housed in the Sri Vimana is amazing, the inner or the architectural beauty of Sri Vimana construction is an architectural wonder.
No wonder it is an World Heritage Monument.
Interior shell of Vimana
Maha meru on Sri Vimana
Sculptures in Sri Vimana
On the eastern side of the Sri Vimana a huge masterpiece of Kailash (abode of Shiva and Parvathi) along with the various gods - Ganapathy, Subramania are seen. The Masterpiece spans 3 stage of the Sri Vimana from the 3rd to 5th stage. Rajaraja-I a great devotee of Lord Shiva called the Sri Vimana as Maha Meru or South Kailash. The Masterpiece is prominent even from far.