Exploring the Kapaleeswarar Temple

Tamil Nadu is one of the two southernmost states of India. It is bordered by the expansive Bay of Bengal in the east, the Indian Ocean in the south, Kerala in the west and Karnataka in the north. The European conquest happened here in 1609 with the arrival of the Dutch. A Tamil Nadu tour can be undertaken to savour the Dravidian and the colonial heritage, which are integral parts of its history and culture. The state has many historical sites located in its modern metropolises. Chennai is the official capital of the state and an urban centre, which has many places worth visiting, like scenic beaches, temples, churches, museums and monuments. The Kapaleeswarar Temple is one such site in the city that receives heavy tourist influx every year.

 

Kapaleeswarar Temple

 

This shrine is devoted to Lord Shiva and his wife Parvati. Originally built somewhere in 7th century AD, but was destroyed by the Portuguese after their invasion in the 16th century. The Tuluva Dynasty of the Vijayanagara Empire built the current structure in the late 16th century, about 1.5 kilometres away from the actual site. Legend has it that a ling was placed here by Lord Brahma to please Shiva. The temple is mentioned in many stories in the Hindu mythology. It is a typical Dravidian-style shrine with two conical towers known as gopurams. These are carved with scenes from the Hindu scriptures and topped by a cylindrical structure. Entry is via two gates; one in the east and the other in the west. Several statues adorn its premises; the first of which belongs to Lord Ganesha. Goddess Parvati is also worshipped here and has a separate shrine as does Kartikeya along with his two wives. Next to the temple of Kartikeya is the structure housing Lord Muruga. The Kalyana Mandapa is a 16-pillared hall, where devotees seek the blessing of Goddess Karpagambal, depicted with having four hands. Its steps have elephant models and one of the pillars has a carving of Lord Hanuman. Blessing seekers circle around this pillar before proceeding to see the goddess.

 

The shrine of Shiva is next to the Mandapa where the deity is present as a ling. Other deities worshipped here are Durga, Bhairava and Dakshinamoorthy. Nandi – the divine bull of Shiva – is also housed here and is worshipped by people. A certain spot inside the complex gives beholders a panoramic view of the various buildings and temples. In the north-eastern corner is the altar of Shani Bhagwan and next to it are the Navagraha i.e. nine planets. Vehicles used by gods, such as peacock, bull, elephant, goat and parrot are also housed inside the premises. Priests perform rituals six times every day, with each ritual having four steps. Sound of drums, pipes and the chanting of Vedas accompany the prayers.

 

Information Necessary for Visitors

 

A Chennai tour can be planned in any month as its tropical climate does not make much of a difference in the weather and temperature. Chennai International Airport connects many destinations outside India and has routine flights to and from Delhi and Mumbai. The entire country is connected to the city via railways and national highways.

Official website of temple can be found here.

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