Kapaleeshwarar Temple – A Hindu Temple

kapaleeshwarar-temple images in chennai

Posted on Tuesday, May 21st, 2024 by Sidakbir Singh

The Kapaleeshwarar Temple in Mylapore, Chennai, is a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Shiva. It was constructed around the 7th century CE & presents beautiful South Indian architecture. Legend has it that Parvati worshipped Shiva here in the form of a peahen, hence the area’s name Mylai (Mayilāi). Shiva is worshipped as Kapaleeshwarar, represented by the lingam, while Parvati is known as Karpagambal. The temple holds significance in ancient Tamil scriptures like the Tevaram & which were written by saint poets called the Nayanars.

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NameKapaleeshwarar Temple
LocationMylapore, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
TypeHindu temple
AreaVaried, including temple complex and surroundings
DepthNot applicable
PurposeReligious worship and pilgrimage destination
Construction YearAncient, dates back to at least the 7th century CE
FeaturesDravidian-style architecture, sacred shrine
Historical SignificanceAssociated with Hindu mythology and saints
SurroundingsLocated amidst bustling streets and traditional markets

History and Origins

The Kapaleeshwarar Temple is believed to have been constructed in the 7th century by the Pallava rulers. Historical records mention it in the hymns of the Nayanar saints. The temple’s location by the seashore is highlighted in writings by saints like Sambandar & Arunagirinathar. Inside, there are inscriptions from the 12th century. The impressive 120 ft gateway tower was built in 1906, adorned with stucco figures. Today, the temple is looked after by the Hindu Religious and Endowment Board of the Tamil Nadu Government.

Architecture of Kapaleeshwarar Temple

The architecture of the Kapaleeshwarar Temple is a beautiful example of the Dravidian style, characterized by its intricate carvings, towering gopurams (gateway towers), & sprawling courtyards. The temple’s main sanctum is adorned with exquisite sculptures depicting various deities & mythological scenes. Its majestic gopuram rises to a height of 120 feet, adorned with colorful stucco figures depicting gods, goddesses, and celestial beings. Inside, the temple features intricately carved pillars, mandapams (halls), and shrines dedicated to various gods & goddesses. The temple’s design and layout reflect ancient architectural principles aimed at creating a sacred space conducive to worship & spiritual contemplation.

How to Reach Kapaleeshwarar Temple

  • By Bus – First book a direct Flight from the USA to Chennai then, Visitors can take a bus to Mylapore, which is the neighborhood where the temple is located. From there, it’s just a short walk to reach the temple premises.
  • By Flight – For those traveling from distant locations, Chennai International Airport is the nearest airport to the temple. From the airport, visitors can hire a taxi or use public transportation to reach Mylapore, where the temple is situated.
  • By Train – Chennai Central Railway Station & Chennai Egmore Railway Station are the major railway stations in the city. From either of these stations, visitors can take a local train to reach Mylapore. Once in Mylapore, the temple is easily accessible by walking or taking a short auto-rickshaw ride.

Best Time To Visit Kapaleeshwarar Temple

The best time to visit the Kapaleeshwarar Temple is during the early morning hours or in the evening. This allows visitors to avoid the peak daytime heat and crowds, and experience the temple’s serene atmosphere during prayer & worship times. Additionally, visiting during festivals like Maha Shivaratri or Panguni Uthiram offers a unique opportunity to witness vibrant celebrations and rituals. 

However, regardless of the time of day or year, the temple welcomes devotees & visitors alike with open arms, providing a spiritual sanctuary amidst the busy city of Chennai.

5 Interesting Facts About Kapaleeshwarar Temple

  1. Peacock Symbolism – The temple’s name “Kapaleeshwarar” is derived from two Tamil words: “Kapalam” meaning “head” and “Eeshwarar” meaning “Lord Shiva”. Legend has it that Goddess Parvati worshipped Lord Shiva here in the form of a peacock, which is why the area is called Mylapore (“Myil” means peacock in Tamil).
  2. Architecture – The temple’s Dravidian-style architecture dates back to the 7th century CE, making it one of the oldest temples in Chennai. Its intricate carvings, towering gopurams (gateway towers), and mandapams (halls) are remarkable examples of ancient craftsmanship.
  3. 120-ft Gopuram – The temple’s main entrance features a majestic 120-foot-high gopuram adorned with colorful stucco figures depicting various deities and celestial beings. This impressive structure was built in 1906.
  4. Festival Celebrations – The Kapaleeshwarar Temple hosts several festivals throughout the year, including the Arubathimoovar Festival, Panguni Uthiram, and Brahmotsavam. These festivals attract thousands of devotees and tourists, who come to witness the vibrant processions, music, and dance performances.
  5. Sacred Pond – The temple has a sacred pond called “Sthala Theertham“, believed to have healing properties. Devotees often take a dip in this pond before offering prayers to Lord Shiva.

Kapaleeshwarar temple Chennai timings & Entry Fee 

There is NO entry fee for Kapaleeshwarar Temple, The Timings of the temple are given below – 

Monday to Sunday5:00 am – 12:00 pm
Monday to Sunday4:00 pm – 9:30 pm

Nearby Attractions in the Kapaleeshwarar Temple  

  1. Santhome Cathedral Basilica – A historic church built over the tomb of St. Thomas, offering a serene ambiance and stunning architecture. Santhome Cathedral Basilica is 2 km away from the Kapaleeshwarar Temple. 
  2. Marina Beach India’s longest urban beach, perfect for walks, enjoying local street food, and witnessing beautiful sunsets. Marina Beach is just 4 Km away. 
  3. Fort St. George- A colonial-era fort housing museums and memorials, providing insights into Chennai’s history under British rule. Fort St. George is 5 km far from the temple. 
  4. Government Museum- It has a vast collection of art, artifacts, & archaeological finds. The Government Museum is just 3 km away from the Kapaleeshwarar Temple. 
  5. Vivekananda House Former residence of Swami Vivekananda, now a museum showcasing his life and teachings, inspiring visitors with its spiritual ambiance. Vivekananda House is only 4.5 km away. 

Visitor Guidelines and Pro Tips

  1. Dress Code – Visitors are expected to dress modestly and respectfully. Avoid wearing revealing clothing or shorts, and remove footwear before entering the inner sanctum.
  2. Photography – Photography may be restricted to certain areas of the temple. Respect any signs or instructions provided by temple authorities regarding photography.
  3. Silence and Respect – Maintain a peaceful and respectful demeanor within the temple premises. Avoid loud conversations and be mindful of those who are engaged in prayer or worship.
  4. Offering Prayers – Visitors are welcome to offer prayers and make offerings to the deities. Follow the traditional practices of Hindu worship, such as offering flowers, fruits, or coins.
  5. Observe Rituals – Respect the temple rituals and ceremonies taking place. Observe from a distance if you are not participating, & refrain from disrupting or interrupting the rituals.
  6. Cleanliness – Help maintain the cleanliness of the temple by disposing of litter in designated bins. Avoid touching or leaning against temple structures or sculptures.

Pro Tips: – 

  1. Visit Early or Late – To avoid crowds and experience a more peaceful atmosphere, consider visiting the temple early in the morning or later in the evening.
  2. Guided Tours – If available, consider joining a guided tour of the temple to learn about its history, architecture, and significance from knowledgeable guides.
  3. Explore Surroundings – Take some time to explore the surrounding area of Mylapore, known for its vibrant culture, street markets, and delicious South Indian cuisine.
  4. Festival Times – Plan your visit during festival times, such as Maha Shivaratri or Panguni Uthiram, to witness elaborate rituals and vibrant celebrations.

Other Activities To Do in Chennai 

In addition to visiting temples and historical sites, there are plenty of other activities to enjoy in Chennai. You can take a walk along Marina Beach, explore the vibrant markets of T. Nagar, or indulge in delicious South Indian cuisine at local eateries. For a cultural experience, catch a traditional dance or music performance. Remember to explore Chennai’s museums & art galleries to learn more about its rich heritage. Overall, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in Chennai, making it an excellent destination for tourism in Chennai.

Other Popular Attractions in India 

India has popular attractions like the iconic Taj Mahal, majestic forts of Rajasthan, serene backwaters of Kerala, & vibrant cities like Delhi and Mumbai. With its diverse landscapes and rich cultural heritage, India offers endless opportunities for tourism in India.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Where is the Kapaleeshwarar Temple located?

A: The Kapaleeshwarar Temple is in Mylapore, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.

Q: When was the Kapaleeshwarar Temple built?

A: The temple was built in the 7th century CE, during the Pallava dynasty.

Q: Who is the main deity worshipped at Kapaleeshwarar Temple?

A: The main deity worshipped at the Kapaleeshwarar Temple is Lord Shiva, known here as Kapaleeshwarar.

Q: What is the significance of the name “Kapaleeshwarar”?

A: The name “Kapaleeshwarar” is derived from “Kapalam,” meaning “head,” and “Eeshwarar,” meaning “Lord Shiva.” It refers to a legend where Goddess Parvati worshipped Shiva in the form of a peacock s head.

Q: What are some notable festivals celebrated at the Kapaleeshwarar Temple?

A: Some notable festivals celebrated at the temple include Arubathimoovar Festival, Panguni Uthiram, and Brahmotsavam.

Q: What are the visiting hours of the Kapaleeshwarar Temple?

A: The temple is open from early morning to late evening, with specific timings varying slightly on different days of the week.

Q: What are some nearby attractions to explore when visiting the Kapaleeshwarar Temple?

A: Some nearby attractions include Marina Beach, Santhome Cathedral Basilica, and Fort St. George.

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About Sidak | View Posts

A creative person by profession and by passion, Sidak Bir is an enthusiastic writer who adores his job. His passion for writing has inspired him to pursue writing as a career. His commitment to creating quality content shines through, offering readers a blend of enlightenment and knowledge in every piece. Because he reads, writes, travels, and has an enjoyable time, some people claim he is leading the best life possible. They're right because what more could a person possibly need!

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