Arulmigu Kapaleeswarar Temple - History
The Stately Temple
One of the sacred shrines in Tamil Nadu is Arulmigu Kapaleeswarar Temple in Mylapore, in Chennai City.
It is a Siva Temple, and the name of the Lord is ARULMIGU KAPALEESWARAR. The name of the Goddess is ARULMIGU KARPAGAMBAL.
It is a loverly temple with a Stately Spire or ‘Gopuram’ as it is called. There is a big tank on its West. The temple and the tank are surrounded by Broad streets on the four sides. The view of the temple and the tank is picturesque.
Mylapore is on the sea coast and the shore is away by half a mile of thickly populated residential area.
The Legend Behind The Temple
The name Mylapore is derived from the legend that the Goddess Uma worshipped Siva in the form of a peacock (or mayil in Tamil). We can see a representation of this legend on stone in a small Shrine under a Punnai tree (Sthala Vriksha) in the Courtyard of the temple.
Mylapore's Ancient Past
Ptolemy, the Creek Geographer (A.D. 90-168) has referred to Mylapore in his books as ‘Millarpha;,. It was apparently a weel-known sea port town with a flourishing trade. It must have also been a place of culture, as Saint, Tiruvalluvar the celebrated author of Tirukkurl, the Wordl-famous ethical treatise, lived in Mylapore nearly 2,000 years ago. The Saivite Saints of the 7th Century, Saint Sambandar and Saint Appar, have sung about the Shrine in their hymns.
St. Thomas, one of the aposties of Jesus, is reported to have visited Mylapore in the 2nd Century A.D. His tomb is in the St. Thomas basilica, a beautiful Cathedral about half a mile from the temple.
Mylapore fell into the hands of the Portuguese in A.D.1566, when the temple suffered demolition. The presne temple was rebuilt 300 years ago. There are some fragmentary inscriptions from the old temple, still found in the present Shrine and in St. Thomas Cathedral.
One enters the hall then, where Arulmigu Karpagambal is enshrined. In front of the Goddess, outside, is a Stone sculpture of a Lion, the mount of the Goddess. (Just as Nandi or the Bull is for Lord).
Daily And Special Servies
There are six daily Puja Services. Kala Santhi (morning) Uchchikala (Mid-day) Sayamkala (Evening) and Ardhajama (late Night). The evening Service will be picturesque as the Shodasa Upacharas (16 Propitiations) with waving of lights. etc. ared performed. Other special occasions are Pradhosa (13th day of new moon-full moon) Panchaparva. etc.