TEMPLES IN CHENNAI
1.Kapaleeswarar Temple in Mylapore
2.Parthasarathy Temple in Triplicane
3.Pazhani Andavar Temple in Vadapalani
Kapaleeswarar temple is situated in Mylapore a suburb of
Chennai. The main deity, Lord Shiva, is worshipped as
Kapaleeswarar and the Goddess as Katpahavalli. Mention of this
temple in the old devotional hymns by Hindu 'Nayanmars'
who lived during the 7th century is evident that this temple had
been in existence for more than a thousand years. Some scholars
cast doubt as to the age of the present building as the
architecture and the images in this temple point to a period of
about 300 years ago. They believe that the original temple had
been in the Santhome area near the sea as recent archaeological
excavations in that area point to the presence of a temple during
that period. However, this temple has become very famous and
attracts thousands of devotees especially during festival
The entrance 'gopuram' rises magnificently to a height
of about 120 feet with a profusion of sculptured images depicting
incidents from the various 'puranic' legends. There is a
large tank in front of the temple. The outer courtyard is adorned
with the bronze images of the 63 'nayanmar' (saivite
There are many legends associated with this temple. Once
Goddess Parvathi was distracted during her daily ritual by a
beautiful peacock dancing at a distance. Lord Shiva in order to
make her realise the importance of total devotion turned her into
a pea-hen and sent her to the earth. The pea-hen arrived at this
temple and started a penance in order to prove her devotion.
After a long and severe penance the Lord took her back into his
fold. As Goddess Parvathy was living in this place as a pea-hen,
the place came to be known as 'Mayil-puri' which was
later anglicised to Mylapore.
There was a great devotee of Lord Shiva by the name of
Sivanesa Chettiar in Mylapore. One day his beloved daughter was
bitten by a cobra and died. Sivanesa Chettiar was heart broken.
After the cremation of the body he collected the ashes and kept
them in an urn in his house. When Thirugnana Sambanthar visited
this temple in the course of his pilgrimage he heard about the
sadness that befell the devotee of Lord Shiva. He asked the
father to bring the urn of ashes to him. When he sprinkled some
water from the temple tank onto the urn everybody was amazed to
see the daughter walking into the room alive.
SRI PARTHASARATHY TEMPLE
Situated in the Triplicane area of Chennai, this temple is
dedicated to Lord Vishnu who is worshipped as Lord
Venkatakrishnar. He is seen with His consort Rukmani on His right
and His brother Sri Balaraman on His left. Sri Parthasarathy is
installed as a processional deity with his consorts Sri Devi and
Bhoo Devi on either side.
Sri Parthasarathy Koil
Sri Parthasarathy is so called because he was the charioteer
(sarathy) for Arjunan (Parththan) during the great Krushetra war
described in the Mahabaratha epic. Lord Krishna undertook not to
take part in the war but agreed to be the charioteer to Arjuna.
From the opposing side Bishma, in order to break Krishna's
undertaking, shot arrows at his face. Devotees believe that the
marks on the face of the idol in this temple are the wounds
sustained in that war. Krishna after the war came here to rest
next to a beautiful pond full of 'alli' flowers thus
giving this place the Tamil name 'Thiru-alli-kerny'.
There are festivals conducted throughout the year. The
important festivals are; the Brahmotsavam in the month of
Ciththirai (April/May); Thiruaadipooram held for 10 days in the
month of Aadi (July/August); and in the month of Markazhi
(Dec./Jan.) the festival called Neerattu Utsavam culminating with
There are shrines of other deities within the temple compound.
Sri Narahsimha and Sri Varaha are installed in a separate shrine
with Sri Ranganatha as the main deity. Sri Rama with his brothers
and His consort Seetha are installed in another shrine. Sri
Hanumar can be seen facing the shrine of Sri Rama. Sri Andal can
be seen in another shrine. The Azhwars and Archaryas of the
Vaishnavite tradition are given pride of place in this
PALANIANDAVAR TEMPLE (VADAPALANI)
The temple at Vadapalani is dedicated to Lord Subramanya and
the deity is worshipped as Pazhani Andavar. A picture of Lord
Subrahmanya was brought here from Palani that became a very
potent divinity, thus acquiring the name Vadapalani. Vadapalani
lies in the northern part of Chennai.
There was a devotee of Lord Subramanya by the name of
Annaswamy Nayagar. During a visit to Palani he saw a beautiful
picture of Lord Subramanya displayed in one of the shops. He
wanted the picture very badly but did not have enough money to
buy it. Lord Subramanya appeared in the shopkeeper's dream
and directed him to give the picture to Annaswamy Nayagar.
Annaswamy Nayagar was ecstatic to receive the picture which he
brought to his home in Chennai.
He installed this picture in his house and prayed to Lord
Subramanya with this picture as the icon. Slowly he started to
exhibit special powers. He was able to predict the future and
exhibited psychic powers by recounting events that happened in
his absence or in a distant place. Thus he quickly gained an
enormous following of disciples. After his death one of his
disciples and a devotee of Lord Subramanya by the name of
Ratnavel Chettiar took over the task of continuing the work of
Annaswamy Nayagar. He converted the house into a shrine and
ministered to the devotees. After Ratnavel Chettiar one
Bagyalinga Tambiran took over the task of maintaining the temple
and the daily worships. It was during his tenure that the present
temple was built. The tombs of all these three can be seen near
There are two other prominent temples in Chennai dedicated to
Lord Shiva, one in Thiruvanmiyoor - the presiding deity is
worshipped as Thiagamoorthy; and the other at Thiruvottiyoor.
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