Friday, December 14, 2012

Kapaleeshwarar Temple Architecture of Mylapore in Tamil Nadu, India

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Kapaleeshwarar Temple is a temple of Hindu God Shiva located in Mylapore, Chennai in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The form of Shiva's wife Parvati worshipped at this temple is called Karpagambal meaning Wish-Yielding Tree in Tamil. The temple was built around the 7th century CE by the great Pallava kings and is a very good example of Dravidian architecture.

According to the Puranas ( Hindu Mythology ), Shakti ( Parvathi ) worshipped Shiva in the form of a peacock ( Mayil in Tamil ). This is why the area around this temple is known as Mylapore.

The temple's name is derived from the words Kapalam (head) and Eeshwara, another name for Shiva. According to the Puranas, during the meeting of Brahma ( Hindu Creator of the universe) and Shiva on Mount Kailash, Brahma failed to show due respect to Shiva. Due to this, Shiva plucked one of Brahma's four heads (Kapalams).As an act of penance, Brahma came down to the site of Mylapore and installed a Lingam to please God Shiva.This place is known as Sukra puri, Veda puri and by so many other names including “Kailaye Mayilai ( meaning equal to the sacred Kailash ).

Goddess Karpagambal due to a curse became a peacock and did penance here to get back her original personality.

The Kapaleeshwarar temple is an excellent example of  Dravidian architecture ,with the Gopuram ( gateway tower ) overpowering the street on which the temple stands. There are two entrances to the temple marked by the Gopuram on either side. The east Gopuram is about 40 m high, while the smaller Western Gopuram faces the sacred tank.

During Friday worship, the statue of the Goddess Karpagambal is decorated with a garland of gold coins

There are four daily Pujas ( worships ): the early morning Puja, the day Puja, the Pradosha Kaala Puja, and the night Puja.During the Tamil month of Panguni, the traditional Brahmotsavam (annual festival) takes place when the entire neighborhood comes alive with a carnival)like atmosphere.


  1. A very nice and informative article, Mala.

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