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Kapalishvara Temple

Marvel at the Dravidian architecture of this centuries-old temple, spot intricately carved figurines, watch devotees pray and experience a lively Hindu festival.

A visit to the beautiful Kapalishvara Temple presents a fascinating glimpse into the life of a working Hindu temple. Admire the striking Dravidian architecture and a sacred tank. Watch as worshippers lay offerings to the deities and be part of a colorful Hindu celebration. Kapalishvara Temple honors the Hindu god Lord Shiva and his wife Parvati. The temple dates back to the 16th century and is the second edition. The original, built around 600 A.D., was demolished by Portuguese colonists.

Major highlights of the temple are the two towering and elaborately decorated gopuram (gateway entrances). The almost 131-foot-tall (40-meter) east gopuram is the most striking and a fine display of Dravidian architecture. Gaze up to see carvings of allegorical figures, gods and mythological creatures. See more detailed artwork on the smaller west gopuram. It faces a sacred lake, where pilgrims throw offerings to a multitude of fish.

Step inside the temple to feel a sense of calm. Observe respectfully as devotees ask for blessings at the various shrines. Look for bronze statuettes of the Nayanars, a group of 63 poet saints devoted to Shiva. Spot sculptures of revered Hindu gods such as Ganesh, Karpagambal, Muruga and Shiva. Visit on a Friday to see the Goddess Karpagambal decorated with garlands of gold coins during a ritual.

The temple hosts several festivals throughout the year, when thousands of pilgrims flock to celebrate Hindu traditions. Attend the Arubathimoovar Festival, a 10-day event held during March and April. It celebrates the Nayanars and includes a lively procession of brightly colored chariots.

Located in the Mylapore neighborhood, Kapalishvara Temple is about a 20-minute drive from Chennai’s city center. Taxis and auto-rickshaws provide easy access to the temple or you can catch a train to nearby Thirumayilai MRTS Station. While here, be sure to wander the surrounding streets to find shops that sell flowers, incense and religious souvenirs.

The temple is open daily, from dawn until dusk. It’s an active place of worship, so dress appropriately. Remove your shoes and leave them at the temple’s entrance. Find the complete opening times and a festival schedule on the temple’s official website.


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Best Lodging Options Near Kapaleeswarar Temple

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The Leela Palace Chennai ¥12,404
The Leela Palace Chennai

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175 Sathya Dev Avenue Extn, MRC Nagar, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
     
    5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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    Hotel Savera ¥5,867
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      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Mylapore, this spa hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Music Academy, Consulate General of the United States, Chennai, and Chennai Citi Center Mall. Marina Beach and Kapaleeswarar Temple are also within 2 mi (3 km). Chennai Thirumayilai Station is 21 minutes by foot and Chennai Light House Station is 23 minutes.

      The Raintree, Anna Salai ¥6,672
      The Raintree, Anna Salai

      The Raintree, Anna Salai

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        4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

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        Hyatt Regency Chennai ¥8,453
        Hyatt Regency Chennai

        Hyatt Regency Chennai

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          5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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          Clarion Hotel Chennai ¥5,215
          Clarion Hotel Chennai

          Clarion Hotel Chennai

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            OYO 11661 Krishna Park
            OYO 11661 Krishna Park

            OYO 11661 Krishna Park

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              2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

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              OYO 14933 RPR Residency ¥2,768
              OYO 14933 RPR Residency

              OYO 14933 RPR Residency

              1,No.1, Luz Church Road, Mylapore, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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                FabHotel Picnic Plaza Mylapore
                FabHotel Picnic Plaza Mylapore

                FabHotel Picnic Plaza Mylapore

                New No- 2, RK Mutt Road, Mylapore, Chennai, TN
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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