temple in Mylapore is one of the ancient Siva Sthalas in south India.
The Siva lingam was consecrated by Brahma and called it Kapaleeswarar.
Why is he called Kapaleeswara? There is an interesting episode behind
it. Once Brahma did not pay respects to Shiva and Parvathi when he met
them at Mount Kailash. Shiva got angry with the irrational behavior of
Brahma and plucked off one of Brahma’s head to teach him a lesson.
Brahma got frightened and repented for his act. He at once came to
Mylapore installed a Siva lingam and started doing tapas propitiating
As Shiva took away one of Brahma’s head- kapalam and Brahma installed
a Siva lingam to atone for his sin. The Siva lingam here came to be
Mylapore is called by several names
There is an absorbing story as to why this place is called Mylapore.
Once Parvathi was distracted on seeing a peacock dancing when she was
with her consort Shiva. He got angry with her callousness and cursed her
to become a pea hen. Parvathi came to Mylapore called Kapali Nagar then
and did penance as advised by Shiva. After several years of tapas
Parvathi was redeemed of her curse and rejoined Shiva. Since Parvathi
came as a Mayil (pea hen) this place came to be called Mylapore. The
presiding Goddess here is called Kalpagavalli.
This sacred spot is also called Vedapuri. A demon Somuka wanted to
learn Vedas and harassed the celestial beings. He snatched the Vedas and
disappeared in the sea. Shiva directed Mahavishnu to restore the Vedas.
Accordingly Mahavishnu killed the demon and restored the Vedas which was
taken to Kapaleeswarar temple. Since the Vedas were brought to this
place it is called Vedapuri.
Let us see as to why this spot is called Sukrapuri.
Lord Vishnu disguised as poor petit Brahmin appeared before King
Mahabali and asked for three feet of earth –Mundru adi mann.The king
readily agreed to this and took out his kamandala to pour water on earth
as a token of granting the request. But his minister, Guru Sukracharya
knew the identity of the poor Brahmin and dissuaded the king from
granting the land. The king turned a deaf ear to Sukracharya who took
the form of a fly and blocked the nozzle of the kamandala to prevent the
flow of water. Mahavishnu at once pierced the nostril with a darbha
grass to facilitate the flow of water. In this act Sukracharya lost one
eye and proceeded to Mylapore. His vision was restored and he attained
salvation. Thus Mylapore is also called Sukrapuri.
There is an interesting story linked with the Brahmotsavam of this
Sivanesa chettiar of Mylapore was a staunch devotee of Shiva whose
daughter Angampoompavai was bitten by a cobra and died. The chettiar
after cremating her collected her bones and placed it in an urn.
Thirugnana sambandar the saint poet who was on a pilgrimage to Mylapore
visited Sivanesan chettiar who narrated the sad tale of his daughter s
death. Thirugnanasambandar at once sprinkled the holy water from the
temple tank on the urn containing the bones of the girl. Lo and behold
the ways of Providence are inscrutable; the girl was brought back to
life. As a token of gratitude Chettiar offered his daughter in marriage
to Thirugnanasambandar who declined saying that since he restored her
life she is like his daughter. This incident is celebrated during the
8th day of Brahmotsavam in the temple.
No one exactly knows the period of construction of the temple.
Historians believe that the present temple is not the one referred to
Thirugnanasambandar. The present temple is almost 300 years old. The
images and sculptures in the temple belong to the recent style of
architecture. The original temple must have been washed ashore.
There is a huge temple tank in front of the temple.
consecrated in a
in a separate
the temple to
have a darshan
of the Lord.
moovar which is
during March and
far off places
to have a
Gods who are
taken out in a
beach in the Bay