Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Chennai, Tamil Nadu

Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Chennai
Photograph courtesy: Vinoth Chandar/Creative Commons

Kapaleeshwarar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva who worshipped as name of the Lord ARULMIGU KAPALEESWARAR here. The temple is located at Mylapore in Chennai city. Lord Shiva consort Goddess Parvati worshipped at this temple is called the Goddess ARULMIGU KARPAGAMBAL. The temple constructed in the 7th century CE by Dravidian architecture style, though it was later rebuild again.  

The Legend of Kapaleeshwarar Temple

According to mythological legends, Goddess Parvati worshipped Lord Siva in the form of a peacock (or mayil in Tamil). For this reason, a small shrine of Goddess Parvati in the form of Karpagambal also present under a Punnai tree (Sthala Vriksha) in the Courtyard of the temple. It is besides the main sanctum of Lord Shiva who is enshrined in the form of Shivlinga. On Fridays the Karpagambal shrine attracts huge crowds as the presiding deity is decorated with a garland of gold coins. Another interesting site of the temple is a small shrine under the old Punnai Tree in the courtyard that depicts the story of Goddess Parvati in the form of peahen worshipping the Shivlinga.

Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Chennai
Photograph courtesy: ravas51

History and Architecture of Kapaleeshwarar Temple

Though the temple was built under the reign of the Pallava Kings during 7th century CE, but it is claimed that the original structure was devastated by the Portuguese. In 16th century the Vijayanagara Kings reconstructed the temple in the Dravidian style of architecture. The temple’s east gopuram (gateway tower) is about 120 ft high was built during 1906 with stucco figures adorning it. The west gopuram is smaller in size faces the sacred tank. This temple is also a memorial for the vishwakarmas sthapathis.

Temple Timings

Temple is open from 5:00 AM in the morning till 12:00 PM in the afternoon and from 4:00 PM in the evening till 9:30 PM in the night.

The daily pooja are offered six times a day. The details are as

  • Ko Pooja or Kala Shanthi in the morning,
  • Vaikarai Pooja, Kaala Sandhi Pooja, Uchchikala Pooja in the mid-day,
  • Sayamkala Pooja in the evening
  • Ardhajama Pooja in the late midnight.

Most famous Pooja is the endearing sixteen Shodasa Upacharas held in the evening.


Panguni Peruvizha and Brahmotsavam

The Brahmotsavam (annual festival) takes during the Tamil month of Panguni. Also, the  Panguni Peruvizha (Spring festival) held at the same time (mid-March to mid-April), nine days celebrations which attract a large crowd of devotees. 

Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Chennai
Photograph courtesy: Richard Mortel

How to reach the temple?

By Air:

All flight connected to Chennai Airport as it is one of the busiest airports of the country. Temple is 11.1 km from airport. Cab, Taxi, auto and local bus are available.

By Rail:

Chennai City is well connected via Indian railway all over India. The temple located in Kutchery Road of Mylapore at a distance of 5.4 km from Chennai Central station.

By Road:

Bus routes connect the Capital with different cities of the country. Buses can be boarded from CMBT (Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminal). People can take a cab, taxi, local bus or auto rickshaw from bus stop to reach the temple.

Also Read

Sri Ramanathaswamy Temple, Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu


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