During my stay in Chennai I was determined to make the most of the stay by visiting some of the monumental temples within this iconic city; temples which have been in existence for hundreds of years and have had a constant presence in frame of time that the city has witnessed.
So accordingly, I visited the Kapaleeshwarar Temple situated in the Mylapore area of Chennai followed by the Ashtalakshmi Kovil Temple at Elliot’s beach.
Kapaleeshwarar Temple is one of the most ancient temples of the city built in the 7TH century in a Dravidian form of architecture, by the Vijayanagar rulers. The temple is dedicated to the Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati who holds a special place for me .
Legend says that Goddess Parvati worshiped Lord Shiva here in the form of Peacock hence the region is know by the Tamil translation of Peacock which is Mylai . Lord Shiva is worshiped as Kapaleeshwarar out here. The temple complex is vast and spread out as is the case with most temple complexes of this region and has many shrines dedicated to various gods and goddesses who are worshiped along with the main presiding deity. The temple is visited by mostly by the local populace and is generally crowded most of the time .
The prayers are offered six times a day as is the norm in this region, and I would recommend a early morning visit in order to evade the long lines at the main shrine as well as to get a feel of the place. I had been to the temple on a Sunday morning and it was a pleasant and great experience to see the local devotees offering their prayers as I wandered through the huge temple complex.
Recommendations. I would definitely recommend a visit out here, though avoid getting one’s own vehicle as parking is a major issue and no photography is permitted within the inner sanctum of the temple.
Ashtalakshmi Kovil Temple. I was intrigued by the name as well as the concept of worship of all the eight forms of Goddess Lakshmi at one place, hence decided to pay a visit to the Ashtalakshmi Kovil temple situated on the shores of the Bay of Bengal near to Elliot’s Beach.
The temple dedicated to Goddess Laskhmi and her eight primary forms which are giver of wealth, offspring, success, prosperity, wealth, courage, bravery, food and knowledge. Unlike the ancient temples of the city, this temple was constructed quite recently and hence has a small temple complex with the various shrines spread out in an outward manner permitting the devotee to visit all the various forms of the goddess which are on different levels. The temple architecture is not very grand like other temples of the region yet holds a unique and distinct form of construction thereby giving it the name of AshtaLakshmi.
The temple was during my visit mostly visited by the local populace of the region and I think I was the only visitor out here, thereby giving me a splendid opportunity to see the local social and cultural fabric that was woven in this region. As is the norm ,the prayers are offered six times a day and same can be experienced by timing one’s visit accordingly.
Recommendations. This is not a must visit shrine though in case you find urself at Elliot’s beach and are religiously inclined then you can definitely visit this temple.