Chennai may be known as the capital of Tamil Nadu and one of the metropolitan cities but it is also one of the few cities that still have its traditional aspect intact. Chennai is a popular tourist destination and its beaches are famous all over the world. But there is another aspect of Chennai that is noteworthy. It is also home to some of the most beautiful temples in the country and some of these temples are centuries old. With their unique Dravidian style architectures and association with legends and mythology, the temples of Chennai are worth a visit. No wonder, Chennai is known as the cultural capital of the country. A visit to these temples and you will know why Chennai is called so. Here are the 10 most famous and most visited temples in Chennai.
1. The Parthasarathy Temple
Located at Triplicane in Chennai, the Parthasarathy temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna and is one of the oldest temples in Tamil Nadu. It was built in the 8th century and finds mention in the ancient texts of Alvar saints. Within the temple, there are smaller shrines dedicated to Lord Narasimha, Lord Rama and Varaha.
2. Kapaleeshwar Temple
Situated in Mylapore in Chennai, the Kapaleeshwar temple is also one of the oldest temples in the state, as it is believed to have been built in the 7th century during the Pallava regime. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. The temple is built in the typical Dravidian architecture style.
Navgraha refers to nine planets, and it is believed that each human being is related to one of the planets, hence the Navagraha temple has special significance for devotees. There are nine temples here each dedicated to each of the planets. The splendid architecture is the special attraction of the temple. The temple is also very old and it was built during the Chola period.
4. Ashthalakshmi Temple
It is one of the most popular temples in Chennai as there are eight Goddesses that are worshiped here. Located on the Besant Nagar beach, the Ashthalakshmi temple has four floors. The first floor has shrines dedicated to Goddess Dhaanyalkashmi, Dharyalakshmi and Aadilakshmi. The second floor has the shrines of Goddess Mahalakshmi and also her husband, Lord Vishnu. The third floor has idols of Goddess Gajalakshmi, Santhalakshmi and Vijayalakshmi. The temple is a must-visit while in Chennai.
5. Kalikambal Temple
Built in 1640 AD, the Kalikambal temple is dedicated to Goddess Kallikambal. The temple was ravaged during Portuguese invasion but later it was restored to its present glory. The idol today isn’t the original, one as the earlier idol was believed to represent the aggressive form of the Goddess, while the current one represents the peaceful form of the Goddess, also known as ‘shanta swaroopa’.
6. Marundeeswarar Temple
It is one of the largest temples in Chennai as it is spread over an acre of land. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Marundeeswarar temple has a splendid architecture. The two entrances to the temple are decorated with five levels of gopuram, which is a beautiful sight. There are elaborate carvings on the ceiling and the temple has a serene ambiance. It has lot of open space and visitors should spend some time walking here and relaxing in the tranquil atmosphere. The temple is closed in the afternoon.
7. Adeeswar Temple
Located at a distance of 9 km from Chennai, Adeeswar temple is a Jain temple dedicated to Rishabhadev, who was the first Thirthankar. It is also one of the most popular temples in Chennai. It is also one of the oldest temples in the city as it was built sometime during the first century BC. It is also known as the Kesarwadi Jain Temple.
8. The Ayappa Temple
It is a beautiful temple and the first ever Ayyappa temple in Chennai located at Mahalingapuram. Though the principal deity is Lord Ayyappa, there are also shrines dedicated to Lord Vinayakar and Lord Subramaniam. The poojas are conducted as per Keralan tradition and the morning and evening poojas are the special time of the day. In the evening, deeparadhana (worship of diyas) is done, which is a special pooja during which the whole temple is filled with chants and prayers. It is a great experience that you must have at least once in your life.
9. Vadapalani Andavar Temple
Located in Vadapalani, Andavar temple is believed to have been built at least 125 years ago. Lord Murugan is the principal deity but many other gods too are worshipped in the temple. The sanctum has the idol of Lord Murugan in a standing position. The gopuram above the entrance has images depicting incidents from Skanda Purana. Another attraction is the eastern tower which is very tall and at least more than 40 m high and it has images of 108 mudras of Bharat Natyam.
10. Madhya Kailash Temple
Madhya Kailash temple is located near the IIT campus and is dedicated to Venkata Ananda Vinayakar. There are also temples within dedicated to Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Surya (Sun God). The unique feature of the temple is the idol itself, called as ‘Adhiyantha Prabhu‘, which has one part as Lord Ganesha and the other part as Lord Hanuman. The idol was so created after one of the temple officials saw such a form in his dream. Perhaps, it is the only temple in the world with such a unique idol.