Our city’s historic significance and cultural evolution through the centuries have been documented in our many temples. Some like the Kapaleeshwarar temple in Mylapore is massive and attract plenty of visitors. While they’re known primarily for their religious significance, their architecture, scale, and detail hold secrets. As with all temples, we love that they’re all kept spick and span, 24/7. So without further ado, here are five temples you need to check out.
Become Indiana Jones For The Day As You Go On A Temple Run Around Chennai
This Shiva temple was a site of worship for goddess Parvati and was said to be built during the 7th century. That’s more than 1,300 years ago! Located in the centre of Mylapore, it is known for its large water storing tank called a theppam that fills up during the monsoon season. The centre piece of the temple is, however, its gigantic gopuram that lights up like a beacon in the evening. Like most temples in South India, it too is part of the Dravidian style of architecture as evidenced by its large gopuram. The temple also hosts a yearly, week-long festival during the Tamil month of Panguni between March and April.
Built in the 8th century by the Pallavas, this temple is located in the heart of Triplicane and was built to honour Lord Krishna and his five forms. Like the Kapaleeshwarar temple, it too has a water tank with a structure in the middle called a neerazhimandapam. During the Tamil month of Masi (February -March), they hold a yearly festival where they build a massive float that goes around the tank! The temple has age-old inscriptions in Tamil and Telugu as well as five shrines for the five forms of Krishna. The gopuaram isn’t as tall as its Mylapore counterpart but is just as intricately decorated.
This temple was initially built inside Fort St. George in 1640AD, but was later moved to Georgetown where it currently resides. The temple is a place of worship for the god Kalikambal, also known as Kamakshi and is one of the most crowded temples in the city. While it may not be as big as the Mylapore Kapaleeshwarar temple, it is said to be fairly important historically as it is said to attract devotees and patrons from all strata of society. The temple has a main shrine where Kalikambal sits and smaller shrines around it, and was once said to be visited by Chatrapathi Shivaji in 1677.
Situated in Besant Nagar near Elliot’s Beach, this temple is adjacent to the famous Velankanni church and together form a secular community. It was constructed as a site of worship for the goddess Lakshmi and the eight forms of wealth she can endow. The temple was renovated in 2012 and is one of the few temples in the city with multiple floors! Each sanctorum is on a different floor and can be accessed by a staircase in the central complex. This architecture is far more modern and keen eyes can tell that the temple was built in the past century.
Vadapalani Murugan Temple
Like the Ashtalakshmi Temple, this temple was constructed recently in historic terms, in the year 1890. Situated in Vadapalani, the temple was built to honour Lord Muruga, and is frequented by newlyweds to bless their marriage. The entrance to the temple is through a large gopuram and like the first two entries in the list, this temple has a massive water tank that fills up during the rainy season. The highest of its gopurams reaches 40 feet and nearly every inch of it is sculpted and decorated.