Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Mylapore Temple

You can see below the pictures of the Kapaleeswarar Temple, an important Hindu Temple at Mylapore, Chennai, India. The main Deity is Lord Siva (known here as Kapaleeswarar) and his consort Goddess Parvati (known as Karpagambal). The main entrance to the temple is through the Eastern Gopuram- a tall regal trapezoidal tower carrying myriad sculptures depicting various Hindu Gods & Goddesses.
The name Mylapore is derived from the legend that Goddess Uma(another name of Parvati) worshipped the Lord Siva in the form of a Peacock (Myl in Tamil). Ptolemy the Greek Geographer (AD 90-168) referred to Mylapore in his books as 'Maillarpha' a well known sea port town with flourishing trade. Saint Tiruvalluvar,the celebrated Tamil author of Tirukkural(an ethical treatise), lived here nearly 2000 years ago. The Saivite Saints of the 7th Century, Sambandar & Appar, have sung praises of this shrine in their hymns. Mylapore fell into the hands of the Portugese in AD 1566, when the Temple sufferred a demolition. The present temple was rebuilt around 300 years ago. The most beautiful miracle associated with this temple is related in the Periapuranam - that of bringing back to life of the girl Poompavai by the boy Saint Gnanasambandar through his singing of Hymns in praise of the Lord.
St.Thomas, one of the Apostles of Jesus, is reported to have visited Mylapore in the 2nd Century AD. The Stately Rajagopuram or Entrance Tower in the Eastern side of the Temple.

Vimanams of Kapaleeswarar Shrine (left) and Annamalaiyar sub shrine (Right)
The Kolu Manpadam or long pillared hall - which is decorated with idols, dolls & a variety of themes during the Navaratri festival which is celebrated over nine days.
The Vimanam(trapezoidal tower) of sub shrine of Singaravelan (Lord Muruga) son of Shiva & Parvati.

The Nagalingam flowers in bloom - the flower is in the shape of a lingam with a snake's (Naga in Tamil) hood over it. Hence the name of Nagalingam.

The pillared portico in front of the sub shrine to Singaravelan or Lord Muruga

The pillared portico which leads to the main shrines of Lord Kapaleeswarar & Goddess Karpagambal. The Lord is West facing which is a unique position since in most Siva Temples the Lord is generally East facing. You can also see the Dwaja Sthambam or Flagstaff with brass covering which is an essential part of Hindu Temples.
Here you see a close up of the base of the Dwaja Sthambham which carries images of Siva, Parvati, Ganesha & Muruga. In front you can also see the shrine to Nandi the bull which is the celestial vehicle of Siva.

Finally after complete circumambulation you reach the sub shrines of the Navagrahas (seven planets), Jagadeeswara( another Siva Lingam), Narthana Ganesha(dancing Ganesha).
The Brahmotsavam or "Great Festival"takes place during the month of Panguni(March-April) for 10 days. On the 5th day is Rishabha Vahana-the Deity is taken out on a Silver Bull. On the eight day is the car festival - the deity is placed on a huge chariot and pulled by devotees around the temple. The float festival takes place in the month of Thai (Jan-Feb) when the deities are taken out on a float (Teppam) around the Temple Tank.


  1. I liked your blog very much.I appreciate for your nice post with lovely pictures.I have been to Mylapore temple several times.
    You are welcome in my blogs.

  2. And the best part of Brahmotsavam is the 'Arupathumoovar Vizha'....
    Awww.... Oh my God... I'm filled with nostalgic memories... :D

  3. Excellent Blog :) Its full of Information..can be called as a First Hand Information/Pocket Dictionary for the people who r visiting Chennai for the first time :)

    Description along with the pictures are really excellent :) Thanks a lot for sharing info :)

  4. very informative post laced with beautiful pictures. thnx for sharing :)

    - sandeep (photography.usandeep.com)

    ps: cud u allow open id comments?

  5. Thank you so much for stopping by The Villages DP and you very kind comments.

    Through that visit I found your blog and am quite impressed. The Mylapore temple is simply magnificent. I would guess you could easily spend several weeks visiting there and experiencing its ornate beauty!

    You're quite a photographic artist yourself, sir!

  6. Namaste Ram, your pictures are just gorgeous. You have a good taste! Kind regards, Philip.

  7. An excellent blog which was so interesting. the pictures were lovely,

    Thanks for visiting my blog and the glowing comments made. much appreciated.


  8. Thanks for visit our blog :)
    Your blog is fantastic,
    beautiful shots
    from a beautiful country;)
    I enjoy your post !!

  9. Excellent photographs once again.
    I made my husband read your comment on my blog. He loved it. Thanks for following my posts and encouraging me all the time. I really appreciate it.

  10. Hi Ram:)


    Excellent narration accompanied with lovely photos. The carvings and architecture are exquisite.

    What a pity the Portugese destroyed the old temple.

    I am aware the mortal remains of St. Thomas is buried in the St.Thome Church, Adayar which is close to Mylapore.

    Have a nice day Ram:)

  11. The Indian culture is rich and replete with fantastic elements. The Peacock and the girl Poompavai appeal to me directly.

  12. I have never been to Mylapore. A very interesting post.

    Thank you for visiting mine and letting me here. :)

  13. A very interesting post. Thanks for sharing these wonderful views of the Mylapore Temple.
    About the woodcarvings in my post, they are compositions by artists from all the world, placed along a mountain path near the village of Les Arnauds (Piedmont, Italy).
    Have a nice day!

  14. Fascinating post! The sculptures are exquisite and I am delighted by the beautiful colors also.

  15. Namaste Ram
    What a beautiful and incredible place! Really exquisite! Not only are the photos marvelous, your information makes it all the more interesting and beautiful!
    dhanyavaad, for sharing the beauty and for stopping by and your kind comments. Always appreciated.

  16. I'm absolutely in love with the roof decorations! I enjoyed looking at your blog, very interesting.
    You asked about the elephants in my blog: The zoo imported most of their current adult elephants from India and the keepers learned how to handle them from the mahouts there. Hagenbeck is now renowed for having one of the biggest herds in Europe and for being very successful in elephant training and breeding. They were among the first zoos outside India to actually work with the elephants, not keeping them chained up at night and being able to interact directly with them. The baby is the 12th birth since 1992.
    You can see some pictures of the elephant house and the outdoor enclosure here and and here:

  17. Lovely post and images.

    Its a shame I didnt visit this temple though I lived in Chennai for two years!

  18. First time on your blog. I found the pictures very beautifully taken and the post extremely informative. It was a virtual visit to the Mylapore temple, thank you.

  19. @Babli: Thanks for your nice comments.I enjoy reading your shayaris.
    @Mitr-Friend:Yes the Arupathumoovar Vizha is a significant event
    @Creativity:Appreciate your comments.Please visit again.
    @Jacob:thanks for visiting my blog & your appreciative comments
    @Phivos:Thanks.I am waiting eagerly for your next blog post.
    @Yvonne:Please continue to visit.I enjoy your poems.
    @Anya: Thanks for your appreciation
    @Aparna:I am glad you enjoyed my comments.
    @Joseph:Thanks for your encouragement
    @Prospero: Thanks you for your comments
    @Indrani: Thanks for dropping by. Please visit again.
    @Pietro: Thanks for the encouraging comments.
    @Dianne: I am glad you liked my post
    @Sylvia: Thank you for your gracious comments
    @Jedediah: Thanks for the information on Hagenbeck. I also checked out the links - nice photos.Couldn't read the text though as it was in German.
    @Ash:Make it a point to visit the Temple during your next visit to Chennai
    @Sujatha: Thanks for dropping by and your gracious comments.

  20. very recently i visited the temple for my parents anniversary, the favourite part is the kolam(pond) why didnt you take a pic of it.


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