Kapaleeswarar Temple, Mylapore

Kapaleeswarar temple in Mylapore is one of the ancient Siva Sthalas in south India. The Siva lingam was consecrated by Brahma and called it Kapaleeswarar.

Kapaleeswarar Temple

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 lord Shiva.

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 called Kapaleeswarar.

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 temple.

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.

Presiding deity - Kapaleeswarar

Goddess - Kalpakavalli.

Navagraha and Saivite nayanmars are consecrated in a separate enclosure. Lord Saneeswarar is also installed in a separate sanctum sanctorum.

Pradosham is observed with piety when devotees throng the temple to have a darshan of the Lord.

Sivarathri is observed with austerity and special poojas are done throughout the night.

Aruvathi moovar which is celebrated during March and April is carnival time. The weeklong festival attracts devotees from far off places to have a rendezvous with Gods who are taken out in a procession.

Mylapore is situated near the santhome beach in the Bay of Bengal

Usha Raja

More Temple Articles April 18th, 2009


thanks 4 the information
Posted by vidhya on 07 Sep 2012 10:44 PM
Its a wonderful temple. I saw the temple pictures in internet. I would like to visit the temple in next month. Please send the details of trevelling, boarding and lodging.My residential address is H.No:8-2-196, Balaji Nagar, Khanapuram Haveli, Khammam Urban Mandal of Khammam District, Andhra Pradesh - 507 002. Please send the above said details to my address or email. my email ID is rambaburallabandi5@gmail.com
Posted by RAMBABU on 08 Jul 2012 01:56 PM
Nice Story.....But wanted to tell about one situation happened last week. Cattles are there in Kapalesshwar temple. When we were giving bananas to cows, one of sweepers not allowed us to give bananas. he always scold Bhakthars who all giving food to cows. Some people wants to give food to cow, but they wont and they scare of sweepers as they are scolding in front of others. I kindly request the management to take care of these things.
Posted by Bala on 11 Jun 2012 04:17 PM
Posted by va on 04 Apr 2012 03:01 PM
Posted by Umesh on 05 Dec 2011 11:35 AM
Kapaleeswarar temple is very nice place.
Posted by prabhu on 21 Sep 2011 01:59 PM
Dear Sir, I need the contact mobile no of trustee
Posted by jyothi shankar R on 14 Apr 2011 08:09 AM
Nice article. Some have asked for better pictures. You may want to use the link bellow. Mylapore float festival 2011 was awesome http://tildekarthik.blogspot.com/2011/01/mylapore-tank-float-festival-2011_25.html
Posted by A Karthik on 25 Jan 2011 09:20 PM
very good story
Posted by rajasekar sthapathi on 06 Nov 2010 09:35 PM
very nice and one of the most popular temple in chennai.
Posted by K. Rangarajan on 13 Feb 2010 02:19 PM
Nice writeup. Vasanthosavam is also celebrated in the temple. I remember my father used to attend the Music programs during that time and I still remember my elder brother and elder sister listened to Madurai Mani Iyer concert upto night 1'0 clock without minding their exams next day morning.
Posted by A Parthasarathy on 02 Oct 2009 08:40 PM
Unity lacks in Hinduism. Vaishnavism followers are conservative people. As a research scholar, I write to state that the old temple was on the shores of the beach and the portugese destroyed it and built Santhome church. The dieties from there were removed and placed in the present place. It is truth that the tank is donated by Muslims. To the fact that whether Vishnu is greatest or Shiva is the best, there is no answer as HariHar or Harahari are the same as per Santana Dharma(which is oldest form of Hinduism). Vaishnavism is the new branch of Hinduism as per records.
Posted by Dr.Ram on 09 Sep 2009 02:13 PM
i still don't understand why someone needs to build a temple for a guy who is a complete madcap with absolutely no control over his emotions and goes around abusing his powers by pulling off the heads of people and cursing them at the slightest instance ... what I'm saying is, you guys must be seriously retarded to go pray to a guy like this ... by the way, the present kapaleeswarar temple was built around a murugan temple (singaravelar) ... which incidentally had a dwajasthambam of its own (a temple normally has only one dwajasthambam) ... kapali himself was later moved from his Santhome origins about 400 years back to the current location. The temple tank was donated by a muslim ruler (Nawab of Arcot??) under the condition that muslims were given access to the tank on Id Ul Fitr. This is still happening even today. Also the temple festival even today begins with a short ceremony at the Santhome Church. And most significantly, the photo above shows the backside (exit) of the koil. The original entrance is on the other side facing the tank ... facing west, which is why the dwajasthambam was installed there. people usually get confused with the size of the gopuram and assume the back is the front... funny how religions and temples work ...
Posted by sivan on 05 Sep 2009 07:08 PM
"The Santhome Church was believed to have been constructed by the Portuguese over the remains of a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Kabaleeswarar which they destroyed. The present day Kabaleeswara Temple is believed to have been built in 17th century in the current location, to commemorate the original seashore temple destroyed by the occupying Portuguese." This was a piece of info i found on the web, not sure how true it is.
Posted by Divya on 24 Aug 2009 01:27 PM
I remember to have read some where (probably in a Tamil newspaper publication at the time of the Temple Kumbhabhishekam) that this Temple was origially seated on the shores of the Santhome beach but was dismantled by some external aggresors and later, the idols were relocated at its present place. Can some one throw some light on this ?
Posted by s thiagarajan on 19 Aug 2009 10:54 PM
Firstly, the author does not have all the facts correctly and shows her lack of exhaustive experience in this subject. Lord Sriman Narayana is the supreme and how can Lord Shiva "direct" Lord Maha Vishnu. It would have been that whenever Lord Shiva is in trouble, Lord Maha Vishnu comes to His aid. Haven't you guys read Srimad Bhagavatam? or any of the Upanishads? Brahma is the first Jeevatma who himself is created from the Lotus flower growing from the navel of Lord Maha Vishnu and starts creating 12 rudras the chief of them is Mahadeva. Also understand that Lord Sriman Narayana or any of the Vishnu Tattvas never come under the influence of the 3 gunas Satvic, Rajasic and Tamasic. Lord Shiva operates under the mode of Tamasic guna, thats the reason for cursing Mother Parvati when she was distracted by a Peacock. I request that all the readers start learning the facts before saying its a Nice article. Show how much of us Hindus lack knowledge in spiritual aspects.
Posted by Parakalan Ramanuja Dasan on 19 Aug 2009 06:27 PM
nice one it would have been better if its with more pictures
Posted by katpaha on 18 Aug 2009 06:02 PM
Nice Article... The name of the Ambal is Karpagambal. But the above article, it is menioned as Kalpakavalli.
Posted by Prabhu on 22 May 2009 09:27 AM
Nice article...
Posted by Prabhu on 22 May 2009 09:13 AM

Security Code

* Do not use semicolon(;)

Previous:    Lava Kusa Temple @ Koyambedu

More Stories



Building Collapse in Porur
All builders are looked at with suspicion. Agree?



 Find Property in Chennai at India's Largest Apartment Portal - CommonFloor.com

Introducing E-learning Products