Located in Mylapore, in Chennai Kapaleeswarar temple was built around the 7th century. The temple is one of the major attractions of the city. It consists of numerous shrines mainly dedicated to Lord Shiva and Karpagambal. This temple is a perfect example of Dravidian architecture.
The temple and its surroundings are filled with this constant positive energy and vibe. It is one of the most prominent tourist spots and also a religious center that attracts locals and visitors alike. Various complex histories surround the temple’s existence.
One version of the history suggests that the original temple was built by Pallava rulers. According to the hymns written by Nayanmars who were worshippers of Lord Shiva the temple was constructed by a seashore in Mylapore.
Many historians depict that the original temple was destroyed by the Portuguese and the current temple was constructed by Vijayanagara kings in the 16th-century using the remains of the old temple.
Whatever may be the history of controversy associated with this temple and its existence one thing is for sure it hasn’t impacted its attraction a bit.
The temple has a typical Dravidian style in its architecture. It consists of various shrines that depict different Gods but the major ones are which represent Lord Shiva and Karpagambal. The temple has two Gopurams, the tallest one stands on the temple at a height of 40 meters and the smaller one faces the sacred tank.
The architecture is so precise and eye-catchy that it leaves the visitors in a state of trance. The temple starts its proceedings as early as 5 AM which starts with the Abhishekam of Lord Shiva. Various religious practices take place throughout the day until 12 noon where the temple closes for a brief period of 3 hours and reopens from 4 PM till 9 PM.
Legend has that Parvathy, wife of Lord Shiva was so curious about the Panchakshara mantra “Na ma shi va ya” and also holy ash that she approached the Lord himself. When Shiva was teaching about the same to her she got lost her concentration and was attracted to a dancing Peacock. This made Shiva furious and cursed her to become a peacock.
She tried various methods and also was said to have consulted different sages to regain her original form. At last, she was asked to go to earth and perform penance to regain her original form which resulted in her meditation with sheer concentration. Impressed by the effort Lord Shiva appeared and released her from the curse to become normal again and also renamed her Karpagambal.
Another Legend states that when Lord Brahma once went to visit Lord Shiva in the great Kailasha mountains. It is said that he was so disrespectful towards Lord Shiva that Shiva in anger amputated one of his heads.
In redemption, Lord Brahma was said to have come to Mylapore and installed a Linga to please Lord Shiva. This place is also known by many other names like Sukra Puri and Veda Puri.
As legends suggest the temple is considered to one of the holiest places to worship Lord Shiva and Parvathy. Religious activities along with cultural programs and festivals are conducted in the temple which peaks in mid-March to mid-April of every year keeping its devotional reputation intact.