Kapaleeshwar Temple is in Mylapore, which is a suburb near Chennai. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and His consort Goddess Parvati. Goddess Parvati is worshipped at the temple in the form of Karpagambal or ‘Goddess of Wish Yielding Tree.
The temple gets its name from two words, 'Kapalam' meaning 'head' and 'Eeshwarar' that is another way of addressing Lord Shiva. According to Hindu mythology when Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva met on top of Mount Kailash, Brahma failed to acknowledge the supremacy of Shiva. In a rage Shiva yanked out one of the heads or 'Kapalam' of Lord Brahma. To make up for his mistake Brahma came to Mylapore and established a lingam there.
It is believed that the temple was built sometime during the 7th century by the Pallava Kings. The architecture of the temple is reminiscent of the Dravidian style and design. It is believed that the original temple was constructed on the site where the Santhome Church now stands. However, the Portuguese destroyed the temple structure. The present day temple was built by the Vijayanagar Kings in 16th century.
Chennai is famous for its religious institutes like the Ramakrishna Temple, Kalikambal Temple, San Thome Church and Kapaleeshwar Temple. It is also well known for the unique concept of Cholamandal Artists' Village.