Notes on the Geography of Peninsular India: Kanchipuram: Vaikuntha Perumal Temple: Photo 12
It's hard to get a picture of the vimana from within the prakara, but here's a brave attempt. The unusual feature of this temple is that the shrine on the lowest level is not the only one. There is another image of Vishnu on the level above, and originally there was a third on the next level, though it is long gone. There is a fourth level as well, but the sanctum there has always been a void signifying... well, it's up for grabs. Sad to say, only the ground level is open. The second level, reached by stairs, is open to Hindus on a few annual ceremonies. The third level can be reached only by ladders and then only by temple priests. As for the meaning of the three levels, there the plot thickens. The lower one shows the god sitting; the one above shows him reclining; the missing one on the third level showed him standing. Is there a progression here, some kind of implied lesson? The stones aren't talking. They're sandstone, by the way. .
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