(Last Updated on : 28/11/2015)
Kapaleeswarar Temple which is located in the Mylapore district of Tamil Nadu
is one of the most popular temples of south India. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva
. Popularly this temple attracts a large number of tourists who visit the temple not only for worshiping Lord Shiva but also to appreciate the architecture of the temple which represents the old Dravidian art and sculpture
. Kapaleeshwarar temple includes a number of legends regarding the history, architecture of the temple, traditions, festivals and customs which mark the temple distinctively.
Legends of Kapaleeshwarar Temple
Kapaleeswarar Temple derived its name from the word Kapaala which means forehead and Eeshwar that signifies Lord shiva. According to the Puranas the temple was created by Lord Brahma
to appease Lord Shiva who was annoyed for showing disrespect to him. Devotees of this temple believe that the temple was dedicated to Lord Shiva who was worshiped by Goddess Parvati
in the form of a peacock. That is why the region is known as 'Myla' which means peacock. Historically this temple can be dated back to 7th century BC that was constructed by the Pallava rulers. Though some believe that the original temple was located at the seashore and was drowned in the sea. As such the present temple was reconstructed in 16th century by the rulers of Vijayanagar Empire
which depict the Dravidian architecture.
Architecture of Kapaleeswarar Temple
The spectacular temple of Kapaleeshwarar Temple mainly includes highly decorated pillars, a gopuram, a garbhagriha
which has a large Shiva Linga and a number of sculptures that decorate the temple and make it most attractive for its visitors. Among these the gopuram of the temple is most attractive which bears the fine sculptures and colourful miniatures that had been an exclusive piece of art among the Dravidians .There are two entrances that marked by the Gopuram. The east gopuram is about 40mts high and is more decorative while the western gopuram is smaller and leads to the sacred tank.
There are separate 'sannadhis' for numerous gods and goddeses such as Saneeswara, Murugar, Vinayagar, and Annamalaiyar. There are quite a few images of deities, situated within the main Sannadhis of Kapaleeswarar & Karpagambal. These are namely Durgai, Dakshinamurthy, and Chandikeswarar. The temple tank is situated just opposite to the pillar.
A pillar of the temple is thirty-seven meters long and majestic gopuram is also built on it that is carved in an intricate manner. Amongst them, the bronze images of sixty-three Shaivite Saints, popularly known as Nayanmars, are significant, adorning the outer courtyard. They have received glory for spending their lives amidst worships and self- effacement. All the worshippers brought out the statues of these 63 Nayanmars in a colorful procession of the yearly ten-day long Arupathumoovar temple festival, usually held in the months of March to April.
Festivals of Kapaleeswarar Temple
Kapaleeswarar Temple along with its regular customs celebrates a number of festivals. These festivals include the Vahanas in which the deities of Gods and goddesses are placed during procession. There are daily pujas which are performed four times a day. Among the major festivals Arupathimoovar festival is the most colourful one that is celebrated with a lot of pomp and show. During every festival the temple is decorated with lights and flowers that attract millions of devotees.
Thus, the Kapaleeswarar Temple is one of the most attractive tourist spots of Tamil Nadu which is revered by all the worshippers of Lord Shiva. With the unique piece of architecture this place is one of the most colourful sights of Tamil Nadu.