Buzzing streets, beaches, shopping arcades, historical monuments, and skyscrapers are not the only elements that sum up Chennai. There some stunning heritage temples that add a hint of color and charm to the city. With rich spiritual history and marvelous structures, the famous temples in Chennai, not only allure devotees and religious enthusiasts, but everyone who loves to explore architectural wonders. The temples are dedicated to deities of different religions and have some really interesting mythological stories to tell. This is a great idea for exploring the capital city in a different light.
18 Popular Temples In Chennai
Chennai, the capital city of Tamil Nadu is a hub of temples of various faiths. Built in the unique South Indian architectural styles, these temples are a symbol of spirituality, culture and art. Here are some of the most popular and important temples in Chennai:
1. Kapaleeswarar Temple
Dedicated to Arulmigu Kapleeshwar- form of Lord Shiva and Goddess Karpagambal- form of Parvati, Kapaleeswarar is one of the most popular Shiva temple in Chennai. Built by Pallavas in the 7th century, the marvelous architecture resembles Dravidian style, featuring wood carvings, stone carvings, decorated pillars and Gopuram at the doorway.
There are 6 daily puja services in the temple such as Kala Santhi (morning), Uchchikala (Mid-day) Sayamkala (Evening) and Ardhajama (late Night), which allure devotees throughout the year. But maximum footfall is seen during major festivals like Panguni and Arubathimooval. Moreover, there is a huge tank, right behind the temple, where theppam or float festival is celebrated every year.
Opening hours: On all days except Monday, from 5:30 am to 12 Noon and 5 pm to 9 pm
2. Marundheeswarar Temple
One of the most revered temples in Chennai, Marundheeswarar is believed to be built in 11th century. Here, Lord Shiva is worshipped as Marundheeswarar- healer of all ailments. According to mythological tales, Rishi Valmiki worshipped Lord Rama, under the holy vanni tree, which is seen in the 1 acre sprawling temple ground. Marundheeswarar Temple is counted as one of the Trinity sea shore temples in Tamil Nadu; the other two being Kapaleeswarar temple in Mylapore and Thyagarajaswamy temple in Thiruvottiyur.
Opening hours: 9 am to 8 pm
3. Ekambareswarar Temple
This temple a very popular temple on the list of Hindu temples in Chennai. In Ekambareswarar Temple, the Lord Shiva is worshipped with full grandeur and devotion, along with other Gods like Ganesha, Vishnu, Shakthi, Surya and Goddess Kamakshi. Along with these, there is a separate temple, within the same complex, dedicated to Nabagraha-the nine planets. This temple was built in 1680 by Alanganatha Pillai- a worker under the British Raj and was counted as Allingall’s Pagoda in the city maps till 18th century. This is one of the most visited temples in Chennai, particularly during festivals of Chithirai, Aadi, Markazhi and Panguni.
Opening hours: 6 am to 1: 30 pm and 4:30 pm to 8 pm. On festivals days and special occasions, the temple does not remain in the afternoon.
4. Parthasarathy Temple
One of the most prominent Vishnu temples in Chennai, Parthasarathy Temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna. In fact, it is the only temple in Chennai, where different avatars of Lord Vishnu, namely, Krishna, Varaha, Rama and Narasimha are worshipped, under one roof. The temple has separate entrances for Rama and Narsimha. Parthasarathy Temple has spectacular sculptures, inscriptions and murals dedicated to different events of battle of Kurukshetra.
Opening hours: 5:50 am to 9 pm
5. Sri Vadapalani Andavar Temple
Sri Vadapalani Andavar temple, also known as Vadapalani Murugan Temple is dedicated to Lord Murugan and considered as one of the major attractions of Chennai. Built by Annaswami Nayakar, a devotee of Murugan in 1890, this temple was renovated in 1920 by building a huge rajagopuram at the entranceway. Sri Vadapalani Andavar temple is considered as a sacred place for marriages and other religious ceremonies and it is believed that the moolavar in standing posture blesses the newly married couple with health and prosperity.
Opening hours: 5:30 am to 9 pm
Another beautiful Chennai temple, dedicated to Lord Murugan is Kandha Kottam. Resting over sprawling 8 acres of land, this temple also has’ saravanapoigai’- a huge tank, right behind. Legend says that this temple was founded by two hard working and devout traders of Thiruporur. Here, Lord Murugan is worshipped as a ‘warrior God’. Along with daily pujas and rituals, there is a special weekly puja organised every Thursday, where Jothi Darshanam is shown and Arutperunjothi Agaval is sung by the priests.
Opening hours: 6 am to 9:45 pm. In the afternoon, the temple remains closed from 12:30 pm to 4 pm.
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7. Kalikambal Temple
The list of famous temples in Chennai also has Kalikambal Temple. Originally located near the sea shore, this temple, dedicated to Kaligambal and Kamateswarar was re-located to its current location, in 1640. Moreover, legend has it that the original worshipping deity was God in his fierce form, which was replaced by shanta swaroopa or calm and composed form of Goddess Kamakshi, in later years. Historical sources reveal that in 1667, great Maratha king, Shivaji himself visited this temple to worship.
Opening hours: 6 am to 12 noon and 5 pm to 9 pm
8. Thirumala Thirupathi Devasthanam Temple
Out of all famous temples in Chennai, Thirumala Thirupathi Devasthanam Temple is famed for maximum footfall, throughout the year, especially on Saturdays and during festivals. Situated by the banks of Sri Swami Pushkaarini, this temple boasts of marvellous architecture and artistically designed walls, pillars and gopurams. The entrance porch looks stunning while the shrine of Lord Venkatachalapathi resembles closely with Lord Venketeshwara in Tirupathi.
Opening hours: 5 am to 9 pm
9. Ashtalakshmi Temple
Situated by the Elliot Beach, Ashtalakshmi Temple is a religious wonder and undoubtedly one of the most beautiful temples in Chennai. The uniqueness of the temple is that, it is dedicated to Goddess Laxmi and her eight forms, each representing success, offspring, prosperity, wealth, courage, bravery, food and knowledge. This is one of most artistically designed temples with four floors, marvellous structures, pillars and intricate roof design.
The shrines of Aadilakshmi, Dharyalakshmi and Dhaanyalakshmi rests on first floor, while Goddess Mahalakshmi and Maha Vishnu on the second. Third floor houses Santha Lakshmi, Vijaya Lakshmi and Gajalakshmi and Dhanalakshmi is worshipped on the fourth floor.
Opening hours: 6:30 am to 12 noon and 4 pm to 9 pm. On Fridays and Sundays, the temple remains open till 1 pm in the morning.
10. Shree Chandraprabhu Jain Naya Mandir
Shree Chandraprabhu Jain Naya Mandir is one of the most popular Jain temples in Chennai. Dedicated to 8th Tirthankara- Sri Chandraprabhu Bhagwan, this is a two-storied structure, built of sparkling white limestone, marble and soapstone. Endowed with white façade, beautiful murals and pillars, the intricate yet splendid architecture, resembles that of Dilwara temple in Rajasthan.
Opening hours: 5 am to 8:30 pm, all days of the week. The temple timings extend during Mahavir Jayanti festival.
11. Mangadu Kamakshiamman Temple
The Mangadu Kamakshiamman Temple is located in Mangadu, a suburb between Kundrathur and Poonamalle in Chennai. The term Mangadu means Mango forests or Mangroves. The temple is dedicated to Hindu goddess Kamakshi Amman. It is believed that the goddess playfully closed Lord Shiva’s eyes due to which the entire world fell into darkness. Following which, Lord Shiva had asked her to perform some severe penance. And the place where the temple stands now is where Kamakshi Amman performed her penance. Lord Siva was so moved by her devotion, that he appeared before her and married her. So there’s a belief that unmarried girls who pray to goddess Kamakshi here get married soon. This belief makes it one of the most famous Amman temples in Chennai.
12. Adeeswar Temple
Adeeswar Temple is a popular Jain temple in Chennai. It is belived that the temple was constructed in the 1st century BC, which is why it is also known as Kesarwadi Jain Temple by the locals. Though, some scholars say that it was built in 4th or 5th century. The temple is dedicated to first Tirthankar Shri Rishabhadev who is also known as Adeeswar, Adi Bhagvan, Adi Jain and Adi Nath. The temple is symbol of the beginning and growth of Jainism in Tamil Nadu. Its location being close to the Redhill Lake on the Grand Trunk Road makes it an accessible place for the devotees and visitors.
13. Mahalingapuram Ayyappan Temple
The Mahalingapuram Ayyappan temple was the first Ayyappan temple to be built in Chennai. Constructed in 1974 under the guidance of Sri.N.Subramanian Stapathy, the temple is dedicated to Lord Ayyappan, the god of growth. This temple is visited by a large of devotees and came into existence as many worshipers head to the most popular Ayyappa temple, Sabarimala, during the Mandalam-Makaravilakku seasons.
14. Shirdi Sai Baba Temple
The Shirdi Sai Baba Temple is a Hindu shrine located in Mylapore. The temple came in to existence in 1952. It was build by a prominant devotee called, Narasimhaswami, in memory of the Indian saint Sai Baba of Shirdi. The temple is considered to be one of the most powerful temples as Narasimhaswami had built it with the money donated by a Chettiar merchant.
15. Arulmigu Ramanatheswarar Temple
Located in Porur, Arulmigu Ramanatheswarar Temple is an ancient Hindu temple. The temple dates back to 700 AD. It is believed that when Lord Rama came was searching for his wife, Sita, he found linga of Lord Shiva here. And with his guidance he found the direction to Sita. The practice of offering Theertham (holy water) and Sadaari are only done in Vishnu temples. And, this is the only temple dedicated to Shiva, where it is offered to the devotees. The temple is built in the Chozha temple architectural style.
16. Madhya Kailash Temple
Madhya Kailash Temple, also known as Nadukkayilai, is located in Adyar. The temple is popular due to its unique idol of “Adhyantha Prabhu”. The idol partly depict two Hindu deities – Ganapathy (Ganesha) and Anjaneya (Hunuman), with the right side being Ganesha and the left being Hanuman. The idol was built after a vision seen of this form by a temple official.
17. Anjaneyaswami Temple
Anjaneyaswami Temple is located in Nanganallur, a southern neighbourhood of Chennai. The temple is dedicated to Lord Anjaneya, popularly known as Lord Hanuman. The temple has one of the largest Hanuman idols in India. The 32 feet tall granite statue was constructed from a single layer of rock. The temple is visited by large number of devotees and tourists who come here just to see the statue.
18. Kandaswamy Temple
Kandaswamy Temple is located on the Chennai – Mahabalipuram route, in Geaorgetown. Built in the 11th century AD, the temple was abdicated by the Chola leaders who were in rule at that time. Situated in Cheyyur, a small village the temple is noted for architectural beauty. Its artistic walls display different figures posing in various styles. The temple is dedicated to Lord Murugan.
To understand the culture of Chennai and experience the different hues of the lives of the people of this city, one must visit these famous temples in Chennai. The temples are not just the places of worship, but are also the reflectors of Tamilian culture and beliefs. Are you excited about visiting these temples and knowing baout their mytholigical stories? If yes, plan a trip to Chennai and explore this city from a different angle.