Vishwakarma: The Divine Architect of Devas

Vishwakarma (Tvastar), the master craftsman, is the first ever architect in the world. From Satya to Dwapar yuga, he has created highly engineered ships, overpowered weapons, and unsettling cities. He was able to reduce Sun’s (Surya deva’s) energy and craft it into new inventions.

Vishwakarma Purana regards him as the creator of the trinity gods, Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheswara. He is the Soyambhu and his Jayanti is the day for craftsmen and artisans all over the world.

Vishwakarma, the divine Architecture of devas

Rig Veda 10.82.2 states Vishwakarma as creator, arranger and supervisor.

वि॒श्वक॑र्मा॒ विम॑ना॒ आद्विहा॑या धा॒ता वि॑धा॒ता प॑र॒मोत सं॒दृक् ।

तेषा॑मि॒ष्टानि॒ समि॒षा म॑दन्ति॒ यत्रा॑ सप्तऋ॒षीन्प॒र एक॑मा॒हुः ॥

Meaning: Viśvakarma, of comprehensive mind and manifold greatness, is all- pervading, the creator, the arranger and the supreme supervisor; him in whom the desires of their (senses) are satisfied with food, they call second line of the ṛca: him in whom they delight their forms with water, him, those who are skilled in Viśvakarman.

Origin, Consorts, and Offsprings

He has no definitive origin story as it varies in different sacred texts. He is stated as:

  • Son of Bhuwana in Nirkuta and Brahmanas,
  • Son of Vasu Prabhasa and Yoga-siddha in Mahabharat,
  • Son of Vastu or Brahma in Puranas

Not only his origin, but his consort, and offsprings also varies per sacred literature.

  • In Vamana Purana, he has a celestial nymph spouse named Ghritachi.
  • Most sacred texts mention him as the father of three daughters, namely Barhishmati, Samjna, and Chitrangada, and five sons.
  • As Tvastar, he is referred to as the father of a son named Vishvarupa.
  • Ramayana states that he was the father of one of the important Vanara Sena members Nala, who was also an engineer of Ram Setu.

Iconography of Vishwakarma

Vishwakarma surrounded by his sons

Western and Northern India represent Vishwakarma as an elderly and wise man with four arms, a white beard, and his Vahana, a hamsa (goose or swan). The swan as Vahana links his association with the creator god Brahma. He is often depicted seated on a throne with his sons standing nearby.

In Eastern states of India like Jharkhand and West Bengal, he is portrayed as a young, muscular man with a black mustache, and not accompanied by his sons and Vahana elephant, linking him with Indra or Brihaspati (Guru of Devas). In both regions, the similar aspect is Vishwakarma ji is always holding creation tools.

Architectural skill of Vishwakarma

The architectural skill of this craftsman deity has constructed beautiful palaces with the mightiest weapons since Satya Yuga. His creation hymns can be found in major literature of Hindu Dharma.

City of Gold Lanka

When Rama requested Hanuman to describe Lanka city made by Vishwakarma, in one of the sarga, he said, 

दृढ बद्ध कवाटानि महापरिघवन्ति च |
चत्वारि विपुलान्यस्या द्वाराणि सुमहान्ति ||

Valmiki Ramayan 6.3.11

Four fairly big and extensive gates are fitted with strong doors along with huge beams for locking those gates. This is just a glimpse of the engineering supremacy of Vishwakarma.

City of Gold, Lanka

Lanka, the city of gold built by Vishwakarma, was an incredibly vast and impressive kingdom ruled by Ravana. The central golden palace complex, which contained Ravana’s citadel, was composed of several edifices of extraordinary proportions.

The main citadel alone was a massive structure that reached a height of one yojana (13 km or 8 mi), measured one yojana in length, and half a yojana in breadth. The citadel of Ravana was positioned at the center of the capital, standing tall above all other structures.

Pushpak Viman

It was about time for Lord Rama to leave Lanka and go back to Ayodhya. He was stressed about the distance between the two cities. Vibhisana replied this, 

एवमुक्तस्तु काकुत्स्थं प्रत्युवाच विभीषणः |
अह्ना त्वां प्रापयिष्यामि ताम् पुरीं पार्थिवात्मज ||

Valmiki Ramayan 6.121.8

O prince! I will get you to that City in a day. He was talking about the super aircraft Pushpaka Vimana made by Vishwakarma.

The Pushpaka Vimana is described as a magnificent and wondrous vehicle, made entirely of gold and adorned with precious gems. It is said to be capable of flying at incredible speeds, with the ability to move in any direction and even hover in mid-air. The vimana is also described as having the power to become invisible at will, and to be able to change its size and shape.

According to some versions of the story, the Pushpaka Vimana had several decks or levels, each of which was decorated with luxurious furnishings and adorned with intricate carvings and precious stones. The vimana was said to be powered by a combination of divine energy and advanced technology.

This ancient flying machine had the ability to cover a distance of around 2110 km (1311 miles) in a single day. Pushpaka Vimana would have taken a maximum of 6 to 8 hours of travel time during the day to cover the distance between Lanka and Ayodhya.

Dwaraka city

The sage Narada’s visit to holy city Dvaraka during Krishna’s time is described in the Bhagavata Purana (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.69.1-12). The part of it states,

प्रासादलक्षैर्नवभिर्जुष्टां स्फाटिकराजतै: ।
महामरकतप्रख्यै: स्वर्णरत्नपरिच्छदै: ॥

S.B. 10.69.5

This Sloka talks about the gems’ glowing and architectural beauty. Hats off to Architectural genius Vishwakarma!

The lakes were adorned with various kinds of lotuses and were home to swans and cranes. The city was vast, with 900,000 royal palaces that were made of crystal and silver and adorned with emeralds.

The interiors of these palaces were furnished with gold and jewels, and the streets were lined with temples and marketplaces. It was decorated with the sixteen thousand palaces of Lord Krishna’s queens, which were stunningly beautiful.

Narada Muni visited one of these immense palaces, which was supported by coral pillars inlaid with Vaidurya gems. The walls were adorned with sapphires, and the floors shone with perpetual brilliance. The palace was decorated with canopies made of pearls and seats and beds fashioned of ivory and precious jewels. The palace was attended by many well-dressed maidservants and armor-clad guards.

The palace was illuminated with numerous jewel-studded lamps, dispelling all darkness. Peacocks danced and cried on the ornate ridges of the roof. They mistook the fragrant Aguru incense escaping through the holes of the latticed windows for a cloud.

Vajra of Lord Indra

Meghnad and Indra on Airavata
Lord Indra holding Vajra

The might of Vajra, made by Vishwakarma, is explained on Rig Veda 1.32.7,

अ॒पाद॑ह॒स्तो अ॑पृतन्य॒दिन्द्र॒मास्य॒ वज्र॒मधि॒ सानौ॑ जघान ।

वृष्णो॒ वध्रि॑: प्रति॒मानं॒ बुभू॑षन्पुरु॒त्रा वृ॒त्रो अ॑शय॒द्व्य॑स्तः ॥

Having neither hand nor foot, he defied Indra, who struck him with the thunderbolt upon his mountain-like shoulder, like one emasculated who pretends to virility; then Vṛtra, mutilated of many members, slept.

The vajra is a club-like weapon used by Indra, the king of the Vedic gods and heaven. It has a spherical head with ribs, which can either end in sharp points for stabbing or meet in a ball-shaped top.

The ribs on the vajra make it a unique and powerful weapon that is often associated with lightning and thunder, representing the power of the gods. The vajra is indestructible and is able to cut through anything, including mountains and diamonds.

Flying chariots of Gods

The flying chariots of all major gods were designed and made by Vishwakarma. Lord Vishnu’s chariot was named Sudarshana and was described as being made of gold, silver, and precious gems. It could travel over the sea and the mountains in the blink of an eye.

Lord Shiva’s chariot Pinaka had the ability to shoot arrows of fire and lightning and was often used by Shiva in the battle against his enemies. Different other chariots were either made or architected by Vishwakarma.

Sudharsan Chakra

Sudarshan Chakra is circular in shape and has sharp edges like a razor. It is said to have a diameter of several feet and is usually depicted with 108 serrated edges, although some descriptions mention more or less. The Sudarshan Chakra is said to be able to travel millions of yojanas (a yojana is an ancient Indian unit of distance) in a moment.

It is capable of destroying any obstacle or enemy in its path. The Chakra is usually depicted as a fiery wheel, often with a blue or black hue, and is considered one of the most powerful weapons in Hindu Dharma.

Vishwakarma Jayanti

Vishwakarma Deva

Vishwakarma Puja is an annual celebration that takes place in September or October, which marks the transition of the Sun god from Simha Rashi (Leo) to Kanya Rashi (Virgo).

This festival is primarily observed by architects, engineers, and skilled laborers including mechanics, music professionals, factory workers, smiths, welders, and industrial workers from the north and northeast regions of India.

On Vishwakarma day, workers and employers in these communities take a break from their professional work and install images of Lord Vishwakarma in their factories and offices as a gesture of gratitude towards him.

They believe that the installation of Lord Vishwakarma’s idol brings good fortune and is auspicious. They wake up early, wear clean clothes, and hold special pujas in remembrance of Vishwakarma Ji.

The date of Vishwakarma Jayanti generally falls on 16/17/18 September every year based on the Gregorian calendar. The mantra for Biswakarma Puja is:

ॐ आधार शक्तपे नम:, ॐ कूमयि नम:, ॐ अनन्तम नम:, ॐ पृथिव्यै नम:।

I bow down to the power of the foundation, I bow down to the Vishwakarma, I bow down to the infinite, and I bow down to the earth.