—  neighbourhood  —
Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Mylapore
Location of Mylapore
in Chennai and India
Coordinates 13°02′01″N 80°16′07″E / 13.0336°N 80.2687°E / 13.0336; 80.2687Coordinates: 13°02′01″N 80°16′07″E / 13.0336°N 80.2687°E / 13.0336; 80.2687
Country India
State Tamil Nadu
District(s) Chennai District
Subdistrict(s) Mylapore-Triplicane
Parliamentary constituency South Chennai
Assembly constituency Mylapore[1][2]
Planning Agency CMDA
Ward 147
Time zone IST (UTC+05:30)
Website Chennai District website

Mylapore (Tamil: மயிலாப்பூர் Mayilāppūr) is a cultural hub and neighborhood in the southern part of the city of Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, India. Earlier, Mylapore used to be called Vedapuri.

Mylapore is a major commercial center, and one of the oldest residential parts of the city. It is well-connected by roads and Metro railway network, MRTS. It is famous for its tree-lined avenues, the famous 7th century Kapaleeshwarar Temple, its katcheri season and Ramakrishna Math. Mylapore is regarded in history as the birthplace of Tamil poet and saint, Thiruvalluvar. The Bollywood Actor of yesteryears Mr. Ranjan (Chandralekha fame) was born in this part of Chennai. Probably, he was the first actor from Tamil Nadu to succeed in the North of India.



The word Mylapore is expanded as "Mayil arparikum oor" which means 'Land of the peacock scream'. The word mayil, meaning peacock, which was the traditional vehicle of the Hindu god Muruga.[3] Earlier Peacocks used to thrive here, it is evident as the Portuguese preachers who built the Santhome Church embraced the peacock in the church's emblem. This part of Chennai is also called Thirumayilai (திருமயிலை) embracing religious sanctity.


Mylapore is located a few kilometres to the south of the British-built area of Chennai city. It extends from Triplicane and Teynampet in the west up to the sea-coast. It is bounded by Royapettah and the river Coovum to the north. Its southern frontier corresponds roughly with that of River Adyar. It extends for around 4 kilometres from north to south and 2 kilometres from east to west.


The present-day population of Mylapore is estimated to be around 150,000 to 300,000.[4] It has long been a site of cultural production for Brahmins due to Mylapore's early role as a temple center. Smartha Brahmins, a subsect were one of the first people to settle in this township.[5] Accurate statistics are not available as Mylapore is not a different township by itself but only a part of Chennai city. The different neighborhoods within Mylapore have been parcelled out amongst the different wards of the Chennai Corporation.


View of the temple tank at dawn

The town of Mylapore predates British rule by several centuries. As per available historical and archaeological evidence, it could well be the oldest part of Chennai; with written records of early settlements going back to the 1st century BC.

The Tamil sage of the Sangam Period Thiruvalluvar, and author of great Tamil work Thirukkural is said to have been born in Mylapore,[6] The temple dedicated to Thiruvalluvar is one of the major attractions at Mylapore.

This place is also associated with Ptolemy the Egyptian traveller.[7] He is supposed to have arrived at this place, which was once a thriving port city. Marco Polo is also believed to have visited Mylapore. Marco Polo has left a detailed description of the land, the people and their customs and religion.[8]

Christians regard Mylapore as the original burial site of St. Thomas the Apostle, before his body was moved to Edessa.[9] The San Thome Basilica stands on this site.[10]

Mylapore was occupied by the Portuguese in 1523 who established the viceroyalty of 'São Tomé de Meliapore' or 'Saint Thomas of Mylapore'. Portuguese rule lasted until 1749, except for a brief interrum between 1662 and 1687 when it was occupied by the French.

Portuguese rule eventually came to an end in 1749 when the town fell into the hands of the British East India Company who took possession of the settlement in the name of Muhammad Ali Khan Wallajah, the Nawab of Arcot.[11] In that same year, Mylapore was incorporated into the administration of the Presidency of Madras. The settlement known as "Luz" developed during this period. As early as 1760, an English writer James Taylor applied for land in the region known as "Luce".

Mylapore began to capture the limelight in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when it rose as the commercial and intellectual hub of Madras city and home to a vast array of British-educated lawyers and statesmen.[12][13][14] Some of the luminaries based in Mylapore included Sir V. Bhashyam Aiyangar, Sir S. Subramania Iyer, Sir T. Madhava Rao, Eardley Norton, Sir P. S. Sivaswami Iyer, Pennathur Subramania Iyer, V. Krishnaswamy Iyer, Sir C. P. Ramaswami Iyer, H Bhimasena Rau, C S Rama Rao Sahib, Subanthore Vasudeva Rao, CR Krishnaswamy Rao Sahib and the famous civil engineer C R Narayana Rao.Subanthore Vasudeva Rao's descendents are residing in his 100 year old house near Kapaleeswarar Temple, Mylapore

In recent times, increasing commercialization has changed its looks. Today, Mylapore is known for its residential colonies, temples, shopping malls, kutcheri halls and sabhas and old 19th century residential buildings and houses.


Mylapore boasts of renowned educational institutions such as Vivekananda College, Lady Sivaswamy Ayyar Girls Hr.Sec.School St., Sir Sivaswami Kalalaya Senior Sec School , Sir Sivaswami kalalaya Higher Sec School, Raphael's Girls Hr.Sec.School, Rosary matriculation Higher secondary school, St Bede's Anglo Indian Higher secondary school, Santhome Higher Sec. School,Monfort Academy, Dominic Savio School, St. John's Schools, P. S. Senior Secondary School, Vidya Mandir Secondary School, , P.S Higher Secondary School, which is over a hundred years old. India's First Digital Media College - The Image College of Arts, Animation, and Technology is also based in Mylapore.


The Mylapore MRTS Station


MTC buses connect Mylapore to important areas like Chennai Central, T. Nagar, Tambaram, Broadway


Mylapore's MRTS railway station, called Thirumylai Railway Station, connects it to other MRTS areas of Chennai. Mylapore station is one of few stations which are not affected by passengers patronage as it is covered by many tourist places.


Mylapore is home to hundreds of temples, churchers and mosques. One of the most religious sites is the Kapaleeshwarar Karpagambal temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and his companion. It was built in the ninth century.[5]

The Kapaleeshwarar temple in Mylapore was built by the Pallava kings in the 7th century

Kapaleeswarar temple

Legend has it that Goddess Parvathi, the divine consort of Lord Shiva, did penance at Mylapore taking the form of a pea-hen, in order to be wedded to him. The name Mylapore is derived from this legend - "Mayil" in Tamil means a peacock. The famous Kapaleeswarar temple in Mylapore and its beautiful temple tank are associated with this legend.

The renowned geographer Ptolemy had described about in his writings about the Mylapore and the famous Kapaleeshwarar temple[citation needed]. The temple boasts of exquisitive architecture and one of the most celebrated shrine of Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati.

The Kapaleeshwarar temple is one of the most important temples in the world. The temple has statues of all the Gods and Goddesses of the Hindu Religion. Built in the 9th century this temple stands as one of the most foremost temples of South India and remains a testimonial to the greatness and unflinching devotion of the Pallava kings.[5]

The temple has other shrines dedicated to Ganesha (a dancing form called Nardana Vinayakar), Muruga (called Singara Velar), with his two consorts Valli and Devayani. Smaller shrines are dedicated to other forms of Shiva (Annamalaiar, Sundareswarar and Jagatheswarar), Muruga (Palani Andavar) and others. In particular, there is a shrine with an image of a peahen, which is where Mylapore derives its name from. Navagraha shrine is also present. There is a separate shrine for Sani Bhagavan and special puja's will be done on Saturday.

The present Kapaleeswarar temple was built 300–400 years ago at a different location.(See external links).

AdiKesava Perumal Temple

Mylapore is also famous for the AdiKesava Perumal Temple constructed in honor of Keshava or Lord Vishnu, a principal God in the Hindu pantheon and the "Savior" in the Hindu trinity. The temple has an idol of Lord Vishnu accompanied by his celestial consort Goddess Lakshmi. It has sannathis for the thayar mayuravalli ,chakkarathazhvar,sri andal,sri rama,& anjaneya. It is the avathara sthalam(birth place) of peyazhvar & has a separate sannithi for the azhvar. During the bhramotsavam the utsavar goes in a procession accompanied by sridevi & bhudevi in the mada streets and also gives us the chance to see the theppam festival in the centuries old kulam(tank). Every Friday vilva archana takes place for the thayar and the thayar goes in a small procession inside the temple. Every year the parthasarathy perumal comes to the kesava perumal temple & and kesavaperumal too goes to triplicane along with peyazhvar.

Sri Vedantha Desikar Devasthanam / Sri Srinivasar Koil

Mylapore also boasts of the Srinivasar temple near "Chitra Kulam" in Mylapore, which is administered by the Vedantha Desikar Devasthanam (SVDD)]. It is located just beside the Adi Kesava Perumal Temple, which has an imposing gopuram that can be seen from quite a distance.

The Srinivasa temple has a history of over 350 years.[15] A vigraha of Sri Vedanta Desika was brought from the adjacent Kesavaperumal temple and installed here. Since elders felt that the Acharya should not preside alone, a vigraha of Lakshmi Hayagriva modelled on the idol of the Mysore Parakala mutt was brought and installed. The Parakala mutt is also located in Mylapore (opposite road to Mylai railway station). The shrine of the great teacher Vedantha Desika is the one that faces north and it is the first shrine one sees in the temple. Sri Vedantha Desika lived over 830 years ago in South India. He wrote erudite commentaries on Ramanuja's Sribhashyam, Gita Bhashyam and was a great exponent of Visishtadvaita.

Hayagriva was the "upasana daivam" of Vedantha Desika and therefore worshipping him here is considered doubly beneficial. He is said to have performed penance in Sivanasamudram on the banks of the Cauvery river for 10 years. He lived on this earth for 120 years, which is the prescribed lifespan of a human being according to ancient texts. He left behind five noted disciples (Jeers). Apart from the sanctum dedicated to Alameluthayar , there are shrines to Lord Rama, Lord Narasimha and the Azhwars.[16]

Throughout the year, a number of festivals[17] are celebrated in the temple. Srinivasa Perumal Brahmothsavam, Desikar Uthsavam, Pavithra Uthsavam, Sri Rama Navami are the more prominent ones.

Other Temples

  • NavaShakti Vinayaka temple, near Luz
  • Veera Anjaneyar Temple at Chennai (Mylapore), near Luz
  • Madhava Perumal Temple
  • MundakaKanni Amman temple
  • Kolavizhi Amman temple
  • Vaaleeswarar Temple
  • Velleeswarar Temple (Near Kapaleeswarar temple)
  • Virupaaksheeshwarar Temple
  • Malleshwarar Temple
  • Kaaraneeshwarar temple
  • Veerabadra Swami temple - This temple has a separate shrine dedicated to Lord Sarabeshwara
  • Apparswamy temple - Appar attained samadhi here
  • Shirdi Sai temple
  • Nandalala temple at Dr.Ranga Road - This temple's main deity, krishna, is made out of touch stone. (stone used to test the quality of gold)
  • Thiruvalluvar Temple
  • Sangalneer Pillayar Kovil (temple)


Convention of the Mylai Tamizh Sangam, early 1900s

Mylapore is widely regarded as the cultural hub of the city. Mylapore is the home of a number of music sabhas (cultural organizations) and distinguished musicians. December is often set aside as Music Season when regular and continuous kutcheris are organized by the different Sabhas in Mylapore. There are performances by leading Carnatic Music vocalists and artists during this period. The Parthasarathy Swami Sabha in Mylapore is the oldest Sabha (Assembly) in Tamil Nadu. The Madras Music Academy, Mylapore is also an important nucleus of Art events in the city. Bharatiya Vidhya Bhavan Auditorium is also known for conducting cultural events.

Nageshwara Rao Garden is known for its play area, shrubs and also cultural events.

Mylapore Times, a weekly neighbourhood newspaper, covers relevant issues relating to the neighbourhood of Mylapore.


The View Of The Chennai Citi Centre one of the biggest malls in Chennai.

There are a number of shops and exhibition halls in Mylapore. Nilgiris 1905 is the most prominent departmental store in Mylapore. Some prominent industries which are based at Mylapore include Amrutanjan Limited. Chennai Citi Centre is a popular shopping mall in Mylapore. There are also halls such as Sankara Hall where book fairs and handloom and art exhibitions are held. Khadims famous footwear store is also one of the best branded footwear showroom in Mylapore located on Venkatesha Agraharam Road. Most of the Marina beach is located within Mylapore thereby making up a fine weekend recreation destination.

The latest attraction to shopping is the City Center, which boats a multiplex, an elaborate food court and the best of brand owning a shop space in the mall. Also there is a huge rise in number of Retail Shops pertaining to handicrafts, fashion accessories, etc.Near Kapaleeswarar Temple there is a Stall where best Rose Milk is sold. This service is going on for decades. Abirami Juice Centre serves fresh juices at affordable price.There are ebo's of prominent brands like derby,reebok,nike etc as well.

Mylapore is Well Known For its Classical Dance Shopping. You can Find Costumes, Jewellery and Other Dance accessories around the Kapaleeswar Temple.

Localities in Mylapore

Some of the noted localities in Mylapore include

Places of importance in Mylapore


Mylapore assembly constituency is part of Chennai South (Lok Sabha constituency).[18]


External links

See also

Next station north:
Mundagakanniamman Koil
Chennai suburban railway : MRTS Next station south:
Stop Number:9 KM from starting:8.73
These are the stations of Chennai suburban railway - MRTS
Chennai Beach | Chennai Fort | Park Town | Chintadripet | Chepauk | Tiruvallikeni | Light House | Mundagakanniamman Koil (u/c) | Thirumayilai | Mandaiveli | Greenways Road | Kotturpuram | Kasturba Nagar | Indira Nagar | Thiruvanmiyur | Taramani | Perungudi | Velachery

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