The second of the six deva-worlds, the first being the Cátummahárájika world. Távatimsa stands at the top of Mount Sineru (or Sudassana). Sakka is king of both worlds, but lives in Távatimsa. Originally it was the abode of the Asuras; but when Mágha was born as Sakka and dwelt with his companions in Távatimsa he disliked the idea of sharing his realm with the Asuras, and, having made them intoxicated, he hurled them down to the foot of Sineru, where the Asurabhavana was later established.
The chief difference between these two worlds seems to have been that the Páricchattaka tree grew in Távatimsa, and the Cittapátali tree in Asurabhavana. In order that the Asuras should not enter Távatimsa, Sakka had five walls built around it, and these were guarded by Nágas, Supannas, Kumbhandas, Yakkhas and Cátummahárájika devas (J.i.201ff; also DhA.i.272f). The entrance to Távatimsa was by way of the Cittakútadvárakotthaka, on either side of which statues of Indra (Indapatimá) kept guard (J.vi.97). The whole kingdom was ten thousand leagues in extent (DhA.i.273), and contained more than one thousand pásádas (J.vi.279). The chief features of Távatimsa were its parks - the Phárusaka, Cittalatá, Missaka and Nandana - the Vejayantapásáda, the Páricchatta tree, the elephant-king Erávana and the Assembly-hall Sudhammá (J.vi.278; MA.i.183; cp. Mtu.i.32). Mention is also made of a park called Nandá (J.i.204). Besides the Páricchataka (or Párijáta) flower, which is described as a Kovilára (A.iv.117), the divine Kakkáru flower also grew in Távatimsa (J.iii.87). In the Cittalatávana grows the Ásávatí creeper, which blossoms once in a thousand years (J.iii.250f).
It is the custom of all Buddhas to spend the vassa following the performance of the Yamakapátiháriya, in Távatimsa. Gotama Buddha went there to preach the Abhidhamma to his mother, born there as a devaputta. The distance of sixty-eight thousand leagues from the earth to Távatimsa he covered in three strides, placing his foot once on Yugandhara and again on Sineru.
The Buddha spent three months in Távatimsa, preaching all the time, seated on Sakka's throne, the Pandukambalasilásana, at the foot of the Páricchattaka tree. Eighty crores of devas attained to a knowledge of the truth. This was in the seventh year after his Enlightenment (J.iv.265; DhA.iii.216f; BuA. p.3). It seems to have been the frequent custom of ascetics, possessed of iddhi-power, to spend the afternoon in Távatimsa (E.g., Nárada, J.vi.392; and Káladevala, J.i.54).
Moggallána paid numerous visits to Távatimsa, where he learnt from those dwelling there stories of their past deeds, that he might repeat them to men on earth for their edification (VvA. p.4).
The Játaka Commentary mentions several human beings who were invited by Sakka, and who were conveyed to Távatimsa - e.g. Nimi, Guttila, Mandhátá and the queen Sílavatí. Mandhátá reigned as co-ruler of Távatimsa during the life period of thirty-six Sakkas, sixty thousand years (J.ii.312). The inhabitants of Távatimsa are thirty-three in number, and they regularly meet in the Sudhammá Hall. (See Sudhammá for details). A description of such an assembly is found in the Janavasabha Sutta. The Cátummahárájika Devas (q.v.) are present to act as guards. Inhabitants of other deva- and brahma-worlds seemed sometimes to have been present as guests - e.g. the Brahmá Sanankumára, who came in the guise of Pańcasikha. From the description given in the sutta, all the inhabitants of Távatimsa seem to have been followers of the Buddha, deeply devoted to his teachings (D.ii.207ff). Their chief place of offering was the Cúlámanicetiya, in which Sakka deposited the hair of Prince Siddhattha, cut off by him when he renounced the world and put on the garments of a recluse on the banks of the Nerańjará (J.i.65). Later, Sakka deposited here also the eye-tooth of the Buddha, which Doha hid in his turban, hoping to keep it for himself (DA.ii.609; Bu.xxviii.6, 10).
The gods of Távatimsa sometimes come to earth to take part in human festivities (J.iii.87). Thus Sakka, Vissakamma and Mátali are mentioned as having visited the earth on various occasions. Mention is also made of goddesses from Távatimsa coming to bathe in the Anotatta and then spending the rest of the day on the Manosilátala (J.v.392).
The capital city of Távatimsa was Masakkasára (Ibid., p.400). The average age of an inhabitant of Távatimsa is thirty million years, reckoned by human computation. Each day in Távatimsa is equal in time to one hundred years on earth (DhA.i.364). The gods of Távatimsa are most handsome; the Licchavis, among earth-dwellers, are compared to them (DhA.iii.280). The stature of some of the Távatimsa dwellers is three-quarters of a league; their undergarment is a robe of twelve leagues and their upper garment also a robe of twelve leagues. They live in mansions of gold, thirty leagues in extent (Ibid., p.8). The Commentaries (E.g., SA.i.23; AA.i.377) say that Távatimsa was named after Magha and his thirty-two companions, who were born there as a result of their good deeds in Macalagáma. Whether the number of the chief inhabitants of this world always remained at thirty-three, it is impossible to say, though some passages, e.g. in the Janavasabha Sutta, lead us to suppose so.
Sometimes, as in the case of Nandiya, who built the great monastery at Isipatana, a mansion would appear in Távatimsa, when an earth-dweller did a good deed capable of obtaining for him birth in this deva-world; but this mansion would remain unoccupied till his human life came to an end (DhA.iii.291). There were evidently no female devas among the Thirty-three. Both Máyá and Gopiká (q.v.) became devaputtas when born in Távatimsa. The women there were probably the attendants of the devas. (But see, e.g., Jálini and the various stories of VvA).
There were many others besides the Thirty-three who had their abode in Távatimsa. Each deva had numerous retinues of attendants, and the dove-footed (kaktgapádiniyo) nymphs (acchará) of Távatimsa are famous in literature for their delicate beauty. The sight of these made Nanda, when escorted by the Buddha to Távatimsa, renounce his love for Janapadakalyání Nandá (J.ii.92; Ud.iii.2).
The people of Jambudípa excelled the devas of Távatimsa in courage, mindfulness and piety (A.iv.396). Among the great achievements of Asadisakumára was the shooting of an arrow as far as Távatimsa (J.ii.89).
Távatimsa was also known as Tidasa and Tidiva (q.v.).