Temples of Tamil Nadu
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Kapaleeshwarar- Mylapore

Kapaleeshwarar Temple

Kapaleeshwarar Temple is a sacred saivite shrine of Shiva located in Mylapore, Chennai.The name of the Lord here is Kapaleeshwarar and the name of the Goddess is Karpagambal.Kapaleeshwar means the king of ascetics, who stands with the ascetic's bowl of a skull (kapala) in his hand and he starts the creation again out of his grace. The name of Goddess Karpagambal means the celestial tree 'Karpagam', which grants everything asked for in the Heaven. The concept of Kapaleeshwar as God is the highest in Saivite philosophy.

The legend behind the temple The name Mylapore is derived from the legend that the Goddess Uma (Parvathy) worshipped Shiva in the form of peacock, (Mayil in Tamil) which is why the vernacular name Mylai (Mayilāi) was given to the area that developed around the temple.

Mylapore's ancient past The temple was built around the 7th century CE and is a good example of Dravidian architecture. Ptolemy, the Greek geographer (Ad 90 - 168) has referred to Mylapore in his books as 'Mailarpha', a well known sea port with a flourishing trade. Saint Thiruvalluvar, the celeberated author of Thirukkural lived here 2000 years ago. The saivate saints of the seventh century , Sambandar and Appar have sung about this shrine in their hymns. St.Thomas one of the apostles of Jesus is reported to have visited Mylapore in the 2nd century AD.
Mylapore fell into the hands of Portugese in AD 1566 and the temple suffered demolition. The present temple was rebuilt 300 years ago. There are many fragmentary transcriptions from the old temple still found here in this temple and a few in St. Thomas cathedral.

Inside View of the Temple
Sanctum sanctorum In the outer courtyard near the 'dwajastambam' there is a bali peedam (altar),where one must stay for a minute and vow to be pure before entering the shrines housing the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Kapaleeshwar and his consort Karpagambal.
The shiva is in the form of Lingam and not in the form of idol. Worshipping the Nandi ( the bull, symbolic of the soul facing the Lord) you enter the sanctum sanctorum.

Temple Tank

  Important Festivals Float festival ( Tepporsavam)is celeberated during the Tamil month of Thai ( January-February) when the decorated deities are taken in a raft in the temple tank beautifully illuminated with lights. The Brahmotsavam or the Great Festival takes place in the month of Panguni ( March-April) for 10 days. Rishaba vahanam is on the fifth day where the deity is taken in the night on a silver bull. Car festival is on the seventh day and the festival of arupathi moovar ( 63 saints) is on the eigth day. Bhikshathana festival is on the last day, where the idol of shiva comes out with a bowl made of skull. The festival days draw a huge crowd and are a feast to the eyes.
The temple ceremonies are performed in accordance with Agamic practices ( rituals) by competent priests/sivacharyas. In the modern metro city , the ancient temple represents the culture and traditions of Tamil Nadu

Temple Timings The temple is open from 5:00 AM till 12 noon and from 4:00 pm till 9:00 pm


Temple by dusk











How to reach?
Mylpore is in the heart of the Chennai city well connected with Metro bus services, MRTS ( Suburban train station Mylapore, Thiru Mylai), auto rickshaws and Taxis.
Where to Stay? There are several budget hotels to super deluxe five star hotels nearby Mylapore.
Other interesting places around Mylapore There are many other ancient Siva and Vishnu temples, a huge temple and mutt of Sri Ramakrishna that are worth visiting. Many eateries like Hotel Saravana Bhavan, the very famous Karpagambal Mess are in the vicinty. Giri traders is a one stop shop for all religios items including books, audio video Cds and other divine articles. The famous Marina beach is just a mile away from here.

Kolu dolls

During the Dusserha (Navarathri) festival, you can see many vendors selling colorful clay dolls around the temple when traffic becomes a challenge. During the last few days of the Dusserha, you can get the dolls at a bargain. Many wait for these offers.

Useful data
State: Tamil Nadu
District: Chennai
Famous for: Pilgrimage,shopping
Languages: English,Tamil, Telugu
Best Season: Throughout the year. Summer( from May to July) could be very sultry when the mercury shoots to 40 degree celsius.
Weather: Summer 33-42°C, Winter 16-28°C
Altitude: Sea level


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