Kapaleeswarar Temple or Tirumayilai Shivastalam
The Kapaleshwarar temple is 8th century AD temple but has a contemporary structure. The construction of the temple is based on the descriptions in the Puranas and the Tevaram. The gopuram of the temple is made in typical Dravidian style of architecture. The temple is dedicated to the Lord Shiva.
A lofty Rajagopuram with several stucco images decorates the Eastern entrance to the temple. The sanctum is located here facing the West direction where the temple tank is located. The huge temple tank is the place for the popular Teppam or the Float festival celebrated in the month of Thai, i.e., Capricorn.
Parvati or Karpakambal is said to have worshipped Shiva here in the form of a peacock, Mayil. Hence the place got the name as Mylapore. In the courtyard of the temple, a small shrine of goddess Parvati depicted as peacock is worshipped under an old Punnai tree.
The Arupattu Moovar festival is celebrated every year in the months of March-April.There are several literary works related with this age-old shrine. It is a seat of Tamil culture today.
The Other Deities Worshipped In The Temple
There are separate sannadhis for several deities such as Vinayaka, Annamalaiyar, Muruga, and Saneeswara. There are several other deities such as Durga, Dakshinamurti, Chandikeswara located within the main Sannadhis of Kapaleeswara and Karpagambal.
The bronze idols of the 63 Nayanmars, the saints who were devotees of Lord Shiva are placed in the Kapaleeswara Sannadhi. Every year the Arubathimoovar festival is conducted and the 63 Nayanmars are taken in procession.
Legends Associated With The Temple
There are many legends associated with this temple. Once Goddess Parvati was distracted during her daily ritual by a beautiful peacock dancing at a distance. Lord Shiva in order to make her realise the importance of total devotion turned her into a peahen and sent her to the earth. The peahen arrived at this temple and started a penance in order to prove her devotion. After a long and severe penance the Lord took her back into his fold. As Goddess Parvati was living in this place as a pea-hen, the place came to be known as 'Mayil-puri' (Mayil means pea-hen in Tamil) which was later anglicised to Mylapore.
There was a great devotee of Lord Shiva by the name of Shivanesa Chettiar in Mylapore. One day his beloved daughter was bitten by a cobra and died. Shivanesa Chettiar was heart broken. After the cremation of the body he collected the ashes and kept them in an urn in his house. When Thirugnana Sambanthar visited this temple in the course of his pilgrimage he heard about the sadness that befell the devotee of Lord Shiva. He asked the father to bring the urn of ashes to him. When he sprinkled some water from the temple tank onto the urn everybody was amazed to see the daughter walking into the room alive.
HOW TO GET THERE
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