Kapaleeswarar Mylapore

Kapaleeswarar, Mylapore

Padal Petra Sthalams, Chennai District


Kapaleeswarar facing west


Karpagambal, facing south

Other Gods

Singaravelan, Koothadum Vinayagar

Kapaleeswarar Mylapore is a large temple with an outer and inner Prakaram. Though the present temple was built in the 16th Century CE whereas the original old temple, dating back to the 7th Century CE, was situated near the shore on the present site of the Santhome Church and was destroyed by the Portuguese. A large and beautiful temple tank is on the western side, a real sight for sore eyes in the water starved city of Chennai today. The annual Car Festival, 63 Nayanmar Utsavam and Float festival are attended by thousands and the temple is abuzz with activity throughout the year.

Holy water (Theertham) – Kapali, Kadavul, Veda, Vaali, Gangai, Velli and Rama Theerthams. Kapali Theertham is the holy tank to the west of the temple

Sacred Tree (Sthala Vriksham) – Punnai (Calophyllum inophyllum)


The current temple of Kapaleeswarar Mylapore, rebuilt by Muthaiappa Mudaliar in its present site is approximately 300 years old. The grand 7 tier Rajagopuram was built in 1906. Kapaleeswarar Mylapore exhibits Pallava Architecture in typical Dravidian style. The temple tank was built in the 18th century on land donated by the Nawab of Arcot. As a gesture of gratefulness the tank is still offered for use to the Muslims on Moharram Day.  Thirugnanasambandar (7th century CE) has visited and rendered Thevaram Hymns for the lord here. Vayilar Nayanar, a saiva saint, attained salvation here. Mylapore is also the birth place of Thiruvalluvar who wrote Thirukkural which has, in recent times, been translated into more than 40 languages of the world. Arunagirinathar (15th Century CE) has sung the glory of Karpagambal and Singara Velar.


Lord Shiva was once telling Lord Brahma about the creation of the three Worlds. Shiva got angry over a disagreement and plucked out one of Brahma’s four heads. Brahma begged for forgiveness and was asked to perform penance at Mayilai (Mylapore) and he in turn asked Lord Shiva to take the name of Kapaleashwarar as Lord Shiva wears a necklace of skulls (kapala). Shakthi (Lord Shiva’s Wife) is believed to have worshiped the lord here at Kapaleeswarar Mylapore in the form of a Peacock, which is why the name Mylai (Mayil – Tamil for Peacock) was given to the area.

Lord Muruga received his spear (Sakthi Vel) for the destruction of a demon from Goddess Parvati here. Brahma has worshiped here to get back his power of creation. Lord Rama and the four Vedas have worshiped here. Sukracharya worshiped the Lord here and got back his lost eye.

The daughter of Sivanesa Chettiar, Angam Poompavai lost her life due to snake bite and was later resurrected here by the divine powers of Thirugnanasambandar.


Kapaleeswarar Mylapore is accessible from all parts of Chennai by public transport. Parking of vehicles is a problem in this crowded area and it is advisable to walk to and around walk. The houses around the temple are very old providing a glimpse of the peaceful life of days gone.

Stay and Food

Mylai Karpagambal mess is a very old mess providing excellent south Indian food and is a must eat hotel. There is a roadside ‘Bajji’ stall which provides excellent varieties of Bajjies (vegetable slices dipped in a gram batter and deep fried). Apart from this there are a few window eateries around the outer wall on the eastern side which are good for a snack. Regular hotels like Saravana Bhavan, Vasantha Bhavan and more are also available near by.

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