After reading the previous post on the Big temple Vimana Nandhi, lot of friends wrote in on the very popular `myth’ of the big temple vimana shadow not falling on the ground. The cholas are known for their meikeerthi - in tamil - mei - true, keerthi - fame, kind of invocation address ( prasithi in sanskrit) - so lets look at the Big temple - its needs no Poi Keerthi ( Poi - lie) to keep its fame. Its by itself a marvel of construction and ingenuity. So for good order sake I am using more of Sri Kudavoil Balasurbramaniam sir’s pictures to put to rest this popular misconception.

There are many versions of this myth, from the shadow of the whole Vimana doesn’t fall, shadow of the top copola doesn’t fall, the top Kalasam ( pot/spire) doesn’t fall etc.

big temple shadow 2.png
big temple shadow 3.png
tanjore big temple shadow.png

It does fall.

For further reading below newspaper articles.


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This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 17th, 2008 at 19:30 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

27 Comments so far


இரண்டு வாரங்களுக்கு முன் நான் தஞ்சை சென்றபொழுது கூட அங்கிருந்த Guide விமான நிழல் தரையில் விழாது என்பது உள்பட பல கதைகளை விட்டுக்கொண்டிருந்தார் வெளிநாட்டு பயணிகளிடம். அது மட்டுமல்லாமல் ஆலயத்திற்கு வரும் அனைவருமே நிழல் விழாது என்றுதான் கூறுவர், சிலரைத் தவிர. நல்லதொரு பதிவு, ஆனால் விமான நிழல் விழாது என்று சொல்வது கட்டுக்கதை என்று ஒதுக்கிவிடாமல் இதற்கு வேறு ஏதேனும் தொடர்பு இருக்கிறதா என்று ஆராய வேண்டும்.

December 17th, 2008 at 20:25
Sivaram Kannan

I remember the first time I went to the temple, I had a huge argument with my Sister that Shadow of Vimana does not fall. I was told that, the shadow will fall on its own structure or in the other inaccessible structures around. After the argument, my sister took me around the pragaram and proved clearly that the shadow does falls on the ground. I won’t forget that incident.

December 18th, 2008 at 6:02

தஞ்சாவூரில் பிறந்து வளர்ந்த என் நண்பர்கள் சிலர் இந்த விஷயத்தை பல முறை நம்ப மறுத்து விட்டனர். விமானத்தின் நிழல் விழும் / விழாது என்ற பயனற்ற சிறு விவாதத்தை தவிர்த்து, கட்டுமானக் கலையில் தலை சிறந்து விளங்கும் தஞ்சை பெரிய கோயிலின் பல்வேறு பெருமைகளை உள்ளூர் வாசிகள் முன்வைக்கலாம்.
“தக்ஷின மேரு” என்று அழைக்கப்படும் இக்கோயிலின் சிற்பக்கலை சிறப்புக்களைப் பற்றி பக்கம் பக்கமாக எழுதலாம். எண்ணிலடங்கா அற்புதங்களை தன்னுள் அடக்கி வைத்திருக்கும் “ராஜ ராஜீச்வரம்” தமிழர்களின் தொன்று தொட்ட பாரம்பரியம் மற்றும் அறிவியல் திறனை பறை சாற்றும் அற்புதச் சான்று. கரணச் சிற்பங்களும், கலையம்சமும் நிறைந்துள்ள இக்கோயிலின் புகழை குன்றின் மேலிட்ட விளக்காகக் காண்பிப்பதே நம் தலையாய கடமை. இது பற்றி மேலும் பல கட்டுரைகள் வெளிவர வாழ்த்துகிறேன்.

December 18th, 2008 at 11:51
a c rathinavel.

Thoughtful Discovery.
I appreciate your Discovery.
The Great Cholas never deserve a false praise on them. Somebody had a very long time kept their lie, intact.
Many thanks for proving a fallacy.
Regards to you,all.

December 18th, 2008 at 20:27

Hi Rathinavel

I wouldn’t want to call it a discovery. Its been happening day in day out. We choose to be led by those who spread this. meaning its not something that had to be researched on. As shiva said a walk around would have ended this myth then and there. Shows how gullible our people are.


December 18th, 2008 at 21:07


For an even more impressive angle - picture taken from top of the vimana with the shadow check these from Varalaaru.com


December 19th, 2008 at 22:36

Actually the puranas tell that the shadow will not cast at noon only during any season of the year.

June 13th, 2009 at 16:56

dear Geetha madam, maybe true about the top filial ( kalasam) - but not sure if its true for any season.

June 16th, 2009 at 21:35

[...] இதைப் பற்றி மேலும் அறிய இங்கு [...]

September 23rd, 2010 at 18:58


September 23rd, 2010 at 21:02


September 23rd, 2010 at 21:02

When I went seeing the shadow of the Gopuram, we were discussing among us. One of the vistor told us during noon the doom shadow will not fall. Reason is the basement of doom is big enough to hold the shadow of the doom on its base itself. Thats why it wont fall in the ground. That seems reasonable. What do you say?

September 23rd, 2010 at 22:06
Vasanth Kumar

Good one VJ.

I also found think link published in 2006 about the same.

May 21st, 2011 at 9:20

ItS Amazing ………………………..

December 20th, 2011 at 18:31
Kavitha karunakaran

actually my friend told me that the vimana doesnt cast shadow…but after reading these contents i am going for an argue with her

March 30th, 2012 at 12:29

Hi kavitha, better still take your friend along to tanjore and visit the temple during noon!


April 3rd, 2012 at 11:15

What they actually meant is that the shoadow of the temple falls within the temple are.. not on the ground which is outside of temple…

May 11th, 2012 at 9:57

Hi all,
The sun rises and sets. So, shadows will be cast anywhere at all around the temple. Thus, how can people not see it all?

May 19th, 2012 at 18:15

Dear NKPA1608 check the below link, you can clearly see shadow falling on the ground outside the temple


July 19th, 2012 at 17:19
Anand Ghurye

Dear Vijay ,
Thanks for a nice and informative blog.
About the temple however , the statement is
The Vimana does not cast a shadow on the ground at noon any time of the year . It is constructed in such a way that the shadow falls on itself . The important part is any time of the year . As the Sun goes through the Dakshinayan and Uttarayan , the position of the overhead Sun at noon changes and so the shadow will be cast in different directions , and still it will not fall on the ground . This kind of calculations to have been done at that time is marvelous . All the pictures you are showing are in the afternoon or evening time . As per todays times noon time at Tanjavur will be 12.15 Indian Standard Time

June 18th, 2013 at 2:45

Thanks Anand - however this is a tall claim- we have been there many noons and stood in the shadow. rgds

June 19th, 2013 at 9:27

hey guys above pictures are taken from gangaikonda chola buram resemblance as like periya kovil. shadow wil not fall in tanjore temple…

July 7th, 2013 at 1:17

Thanks fort he comments Aravinth - But i think we know the difference between Tanjore and GKC. rgds vj

July 7th, 2013 at 19:24

I went to Tanjore to see this amazing temple. You would be mesmerized on your first visit. Most importantly, please read about it and do your research before you visit. You would truly appreciate the legacy we have been left with.
It is sad that “no shadow” kind of myths are attached to such a majestic & historical structure.
You just want to be there and look at the art work, forget about the shadow. Anything that stands, will have a shadow.

November 21st, 2013 at 22:33
V.Gnana sekaran

at noon no shadow on north or south.the earth is on 23 degree.vimana also at 23 degree.this is the secret of no shadow of vimana at noon only.At other time shadow of vimana falls on ground on east or west side.no shadow on north or south side of vimana.this is the natural with earth 23 degree downward rotation.

December 6th, 2013 at 15:51

I love Siva…

July 3rd, 2015 at 7:21

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