The holy city of Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh is known for its deep spirituality, ancient history and sacred Ghats along the confluence of rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. Among its many famed temples, the Shankar Viman Mandapam stands out both for its striking architecture and religious significance. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and attracts thousands of devotees annually.
The history of the Shankar Viman Mandapam temple goes back centuries, though the exact date of construction is not known. As the name suggests, it derives its name from “Shankar” (another name for Lord Shiva), “Viman” (spacecraft or aircraft) and “Mandapam” (hall or temple).
According to Hindu legends, Lord Shiva arrived at this spot in Prayagraj in his celestial aircraft when he was in exile. When the aircraft was leaving, it stopped for some time at this place before proceeding further. A temple was later constructed to mark this holy spot where Lord Shiva had stepped off his viman.
The Shiva Lingam enshrined within the temple is swayambhu or self-manifested, believed to have existed since the Puranic times when Lord Shiva himself resided here. Devotees consider the Lingam extremely sacred and the temple finds mention in several Hindu scriptures.
The Shankar Viman Mandapam thus holds great religious significance and is one of the most revered Shiva temples in Prayagraj and North India.
Built in the typical Nagara style of temple architecture, the Shankar Viman Mandapam mesmerizes visitors with its carved sandstone pillars, lofty walls and towers.
The high-ceilinged main mandapam (pillared hall) contains exquisitely carved pillars depicting gods, goddesses, musicians, flowers and animals. The interior carvings showcase the remarkable craftsmanship of ancient temple builders.
At the center is the sanctum housing the Shiva Lingam, the prime deity. The exterior of the temple has three sections decorated with carvings of Hindu deities and their incarnations from myths. The towers rise high above the temple complex.
The temple architecture represents a fusion of several schools of temple building and follows the principles mentioned in the Shilpa Shastras. The intricate carvings in sandstone reflect the rich cultural heritage of the region.
While Lord Shiva remains the primary deity, the presence of other deities makes this a significant temple for followers of the Shaivism and Vaishnavism sects.
The Shankar Viman Mandapam temple follows traditional Hindu rituals and worship procedures. The Shiva Lingam is given a ritual bath with milk, curd, honey, sugar and ghee. Offerings of flowers, especially bilva leaves are made by devotees. Lighting lamps and incense sticks are also part of the rituals.
Chanting the Shiva Mantra ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ and singing devotional hymns and bhajans are done daily. Major festivals celebrated here include:
The Shankar Viman Mandapam is located near Prayag Railway Station in Prayagraj city. It is well connected by road, rail and air links.
By Air– The nearest airport is Bamrauli Airport, 10 km away. Flights available from all major cities (Contact us for booking).
By Train– Direct trains available from Delhi, Mumbai, Varanasi, Kolkata and other cities. Prayagraj Junction is 7 km away.
By Road– Regular buses operate from Lucknow, Varanasi, Allahabad, Gorakhpur and nearby towns. Cabs and autos can be hired too (Contact us for booking).
The temple can be easily reached by using local transport like buses, autos and e-rickshaws from any part of the city.
After offering prayers, devotees can enjoy local cuisine at restaurants and eateries around the temple:
Prayagraj has interesting options for shopping traditional handicrafts and artefacts. Near the temple are:
The Shankar Viman Mandapam stands as one of the holiest temples in Prayagraj with its ancient Shiva Lingam, mythological legacy and magnificent architecture. Visiting this temple provides a calm and spiritual experience as devotees bask in the aura of its sanctity. The city offers plenty of accommodation, dining and shopping options for pilgrims. A trip to this iconic temple is a must when exploring Prayagraj and its deep-rooted Hindu heritage.