Kapaleeswara Temple Or Tirumayilai Shivastalam, Mylapore

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Location : Mylapore, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Deity Worshipped: Lord Kapaleeswarar And Goddess Karpagambal
Original Temple: Was Submerged Under The Sea
Important Festival Celebrated: Arubathimoovar Festival

Kapaleeswara (also spelt as Kapeeleshwara) temple is situated in Mylapore, a suburb of Chennai. The main deity, Lord Shiva, is worshipped as "Kapaleeswara" and the Goddess as "Karpagambal". The temple is very famous and attracts thousands of devotees especially during festival days.

About The Temple
The entrance Gopuram rises magnificently to a height of about 120 feet with a profusion of sculptured images depicting incidents from the various 'puranic' legends. There is a large tank in front of the temple. The outer courtyard is adorned with the bronze images of the 63 'Nayanmars' (Saivite saints).

Existence Of The Temple
Mention of this temple in the old devotional hymns by Hindu Nayanmars who lived during the 7th century is evident that this temple had been in existence for more than a thousand years.

Some scholars cast doubt as to the age of the present building as the architecture and the images in this temple point to a period of about 300 years ago. They believe that the original temple had been in the Santhome area near the sea as recent archaeological excavations in that area point to the presence of a temple during that period. The original temple was submerged under the sea and the current temple structure was a later construction.

The Other Deities Worshipped In The Temple
There are separate sannadhis for several deities such as Vinayaka, Annamalaiyar, Muruga, and Saneeswara. There are several other deities such as Durga, Dakshinamurti, Chandikeswara located within the main Sannadhis of Kapaleeswara and Karpagambal.

The bronze idols of the 63 Nayanmars, the saints who were devotees of Lord Shiva are placed in the Kapaleeswara Sannadhi. Every year the Arubathimoovar festival is conducted and the 63 Nayanmars are taken in procession.

Legends Associated With The Temple
There are many legends associated with this temple. Once Goddess Parvati was distracted during her daily ritual by a beautiful peacock dancing at a distance. Lord Shiva in order to make her realise the importance of total devotion turned her into a peahen and sent her to the earth. The peahen arrived at this temple and started a penance in order to prove her devotion. After a long and severe penance the Lord took her back into his fold. As Goddess Parvati was living in this place as a pea-hen, the place came to be known as 'Mayil-puri' (Mayil means pea-hen in Tamil) which was later anglicised to Mylapore.

There was a great devotee of Lord Shiva by the name of Shivanesa Chettiar in Mylapore. One day his beloved daughter was bitten by a cobra and died. Shivanesa Chettiar was heart broken. After the cremation of the body he collected the ashes and kept them in an urn in his house. When Thirugnana Sambanthar visited this temple in the course of his pilgrimage he heard about the sadness that befell the devotee of Lord Shiva. He asked the father to bring the urn of ashes to him. When he sprinkled some water from the temple tank onto the urn everybody was amazed to see the daughter walking into the room alive.


Air: Chennai has an airport with both domestic and international terminals. Regular flights connect Chennai with the major cities within the country and also with countries like USA, Singapore, U.K etc.
Rail:Chennai is well connected by rail with the important towns and cities within and beyond the state.
Road: State transport buses and private buses connect Chennai with the major towns and cities within the country. For local transportation local trains, city buses, auto rickshaws and taxis are available.


Being the capital city of the state, Chennai is well equipped with various kinds of accommodation options, varying from economic class to luxurious ones.

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