Sahapedia had organized a heritage walk as part of Madras Week, to the famous Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Mylapore. Conducted by a friendly host Mr S Jayakumar, who is a Carnatic musician trained at Kalakshetra and an independent researcher on the cultural history of South India.
The walk started early in the morning around 7 AM from the East Gopuram entrance to the temple. In many of the Hindu Temples, the presiding deity faces the East side, here the Lord Kapaleeshwarar, faces West
The temple dates back to 7th Century A.D. when it was believed to be constructed by then ruling Pallavas on the seashore area near
Thirugnanasambandar‘s (around 7th Century A.D.) 6th song in Poompavaipathikam and Arunagirinathar‘s (15th Century A.D.) 697th song in Thirumylai Thirupugazh, have made references Wikipedia to the Kapaleeswarar temple being located by a seashore.
The temple’s name “Kapaleeshwarar” (கபாலீசுவரர்) means one (Easwaran) who is holding the skull of Lord Brahma after he had lied of seeing the head of Lord Siva when Lord Vishnu had told the truth he can’t see the feet. Lord Siva in the form of Kapaleshwar plucked one of the heads of Lord Brahma as a punishment. Consort Goddess Karpagambal (கற்பகாம்பாள்) had taken the form of Peahen, penanced to Lord Siva who took her as his wife, that’s the area was called
The most famous festival of the temple is the Arupathimoovar
The other festival is one where Lord Singaravelar goes off to the forest for a picnic, the day is for Vana Bhojanam, which literally means eating in a forest. Today there is no forest nearby, only a garden in RK Mutt Road earmarked for this purpose. Lord Kapali in olden days used to go for their own picnic – KVB Thottam (Kapali Vana Bhajana Thottam).
The Annual car festival in the temple offers the first blessings to the fishermen community in a mark of
The temple tank near the west entrance was built around
There is a sannidhi (chamber) dedicated to
After the temple tour, Mr Jayakumar showed us the house where the legendary Mylapore Gowri Amma, Kalakshetra Rukmini Devi’s first Guru lived. She was the last bastion of the Devadasis attached to the Kapaleeshwara Temple, Mylapore, Madras. The dilapidated house is just opposite to present day Bharati Mess, Ponambalam Vadhiyar Street, Mylapore.
I had lived in Chennai all my life, I had come to this temple many times, yet in the walk today, I learned so much that I didn’t know before. Thanks to the organizers for a good walk and a perfect way to spend a
Also published on Medium.