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Kapaleeshwar Temple

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Chennai Kapaleeshwar Temple

The Kapaleeshwar Temple located in Mylapore in Chennai is a fine example of eight-century Pallavan architecture and is the oldest temple in the city. This temple forms a nucleus for the crowded residential area of Mylapore. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Kapaleeshwar Temple is characteristic of the Dravidian architectural style with its elaborate and intricately carved Gopuram, mandapams and a tank. You can find fragments of inscriptions dating back to 1250 AD.

As legend has it, Lord Shiva is purported to have pinched off one of the heads of Brahma so as to arrest his pride. As a form of penance, Brahma installed a Shiva Lingam in this spot to do penance. This Lingam is known as Kapaleeshwarar. In the courtyard of the Kapaleeshwar Temple, you can find a small shrine of Goddess Parvathi in the form of a peacock worshipping her consort Lord Shiva.

The suburb of Mylapore is said to have acquired its name from the words - 'myil' (peacock) and 'oor' (town). You will find the images of 63 Saivaite saints (Nayanmars) in the outer courtyard. The main entrance of the temple faces east with puranic legends inscribed on it.

During the Arupathu Moovar Vilzha Festival in March - April, thousands of devotees throng the temple to participate in the 10-day festivity in honour of the 63 Nayanmars. The bronze idols are taken in a colourful procession through the streets of Mylapore. This festival has become an integral part of the ethos of the local community.

The temple tank is spruced up and filled with water. This festival has now become a much-awaited event, what with colorful and attractive kolams decorating the streets and music and folk festivals. You can witnesss the Kokkalikattai and koothu dances as well as the traditional thoippavai puppet shows. Connoisseurs can savor the classical music and dance performances. Taste some authentic cuisine on the streets of Mylapore.

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Kapaleshwarar Temple