Nurturing history of over thousand years, Chidambaram Kapaleeswarar temple also known as Kapaleeswarar temple without much effort makes its name as one of the must-visit temples in Chennai. Settled in the city of Mylapore, it is a fine example of the Dravidian style of architecture which features gopurams, vahanas(vehicles), a golden chariot and more. Furthermore, this famous temple in Tamilnadu derives its name from the words ‘Kapalam’ which means head and ‘eeshwarar’ which refers to the divine Lord Shiva, who is worshipped as the prime deity here. Along with the Supreme Being, Lord Shiva's consort Parvati is worshipped here in the form of Karpagambal(Goddess of the Wish-Yielding Tree). As per the Puranas, Parvati worshipped Lord Shiva in the form of a peacock which in turn gave the area the name Mylai(Peacock in Tamil). Moreover,it is believed that it was around 7th century CE that the Pallavas sculpted this astounding temple and gave travellers another reason to visit Tamil Nadu.
Stories Associated with the Temple
Among the many legends that are etched to this popular temple of Chennai , there are two tales that are heard the most. The first one states that Lord Brahma came to Mylapore and sculpted a Lingam to please Lord Shiva after the incident that took place where he disrespected Lord Shiva who in his anger bereft Lord Brahma of one of his heads. The second legend related to this tourist attraction in Tamilnadu states that once Goddess Karpagambal(Parvati) closed the eye of Lord Shiva which turned the world into darkness. The Lord cursed Parvati and turned her into a peahen and this is the place where the Goddess performed the penance to get rid of the curse.
Chidambaram Kapaleeswarar temple is one of the finest examples of Pallava style of architecture in Tamil Nadu. Dating back to 8th Century, this intricately carved out gopuram represents the Dravidian style of architecture. The temple is adorned with many Sannidhis that are dedicated to different gods where just at the entrance of the temple you can spot the Sannidhi of Lord Ganesha in a dancing pose. Adjacent to Lord Ganesha’s Sannidhi is Annamalaiyar Sannidhi.
The temples rituals take place 6 times a day and are as follows:
- Ushath Kaalam ritual at 6:00 AM
- Kalasanthiritual at 9:00 PM
- Uchikalam ritual at 1:00 PM
- Sayarakshai ritual at 5:00 PM
- Irandam Kalam ritual at 7:00 PM
- Jamam ritual at 9:00 PM
Mylapore city, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 625001
Best Time to Visit
Falling in the months of December to February (winters) are considered to be the best time to visit Chidambaram Kapaleeswarar and other temples in South India.
How to Reach?
The temple is located at a walkable distance of 1 km from the city of Mylapore. However, you can also hire a cab to reach the temple.
Nearby Tourist Attractions
- Santhome Basilica
- Citi Center Mall
- Ramakrishna Math
- Theerthapaleeswarar Temple
- Madhava Perumal Temple