Kapaleeshwarar Temple Is a Famous South Indian Temple

India is home to some of the most unique and fascinating religious practices and traditions due to its overwhelming ethnic and cultural diversity. These traditions can be witnessed wonderfully inside all Hindu temples in India. Apart from being a spiritual institution for many Hindus, a temple which is called as Mandir is also an important landmark that has preserved ancient arts, fostered community celebrations and flourished the economy. Being a symbolic abode of the God, the purpose of worship in a temple is to have Darshan which means to see and be seen by – the Divine presence.

The state of Tamil Nadu is popularly called as the Land of Temples and has been the greatest source of spiritual rejuvenation for travelers from all around the world.

The architectural style of South Indian temples, also known as the Dravidian style, has been employed for Hindu temples in modern Tamil Nadu from the 7th to 18th century and is characterized by its huge pyramidal towers. These temples in South India consist essentially of a square-chambered sanctum called the garbha griha, topped by a superstructure or a tower and an attached pillared hall called mandapam, enclosed within a rectangular court. The entrance towers called gopuram are ornate gateways higher than those built over the chambers that house the deities. Vimana in the temple is the structure present over and around the main shrine or garbha griha, the place where the temple deities are present. These towers consist of gradually receding stories in a pyramidal shape. Each story is decorated by a parapet of colorful miniature shrines.

The Kapaleeshwarar temple located in Mylapore, Chennai is an excellent and unique example of this fascinating, ancient style of Dravidian architecture and is one of the prominent Shiva temples in India. Here Lord Shiva is worshiped as Kapaleeswarar and his consort Goddess Parvati as Karpagambal. The word Mylapore is coined by two terms – mayil meaning peacock and pore meaning place and actually means the place where the peacock worshiped Lord Shiva. In most Hindu temples the Gods face the easterly direction as if welcoming the sun but what is unique about this temple is that Lord Shiva faces the opposite direction.

Here Are Some Interesting Facts About Kapaleeshwarar Temples And The Hidden Meanings  Of Various Practices And Rituals Carried Out Within Their Walls –

All cosmic elements that create and sustain life are present or depicted in one form or another in a Hindu temple – from fire to water, images of nature and deities, symbols of feminine and masculine forces, from the fleeting sounds and incense smells to the eternal nothingness yet universality at the core of the temple.

One of the most common sights in a temple is that of Aarti or Puja – a ceremony of lights in which lamps made out of mud or metal with lighted wicks are waved before the idols.  It is done in the spirit of humility and gratitude while becoming fully immersed in God’s divine form. In Sanskrit the word aarti means complete love and the ritual is performed as an offering of one’s complete love for God.

In Hindu tradition, coconut is considered as a pure or satvik fruit and is usually offered to Lord Ganesha. It is believed to be the purest form of offering as the water and the white kernel remains untouched because of the hard outer shell.

In Hindu tradition, coconut is considered as a pure or satvik fruit and is usually offered to Lord Ganesha. It is believed to be the purest form of offering as the water and the white kernel remains untouched because of the hard outer shell.

The coconut also symbolizes one’s own head, specifically the person’s ego.

Hence the custom of smashing the coconut in front of the idols given to mean the shattering of one’s ego and pride in front of the Almighty.

Sound plays an important role in Hindu worship spaces both at homes and in temples. The two main chambers of the temple, the Garbha Griha and Ardha Mandapa are built with reverberant acoustic characteristics. This is done to enhance the spiritual experience of the devotees through sacred sounds of the prayers or bhajans offered in the form of devotional music.

All Hindu temples will generally have a metal bell hanging at the entrance for devotees to ring as they enter the sanctum or the main chamber. The sound of the bell is considered to be auspicious and helps the mind disengage from ongoing thoughts and become more receptive during worship.

A common feature of the South Indian temples is a flagstaff known as the dhwaja stambha. It was primarily used to indicate the beginning of a festival or other auspicious days and occasions. Community celebrations would follow in the form of religious dance and music in the mandapam of the temple. It is believed that the rulers used such occasions to gather people in the name of celebration to get a census of their region.

The list of these fascinating facts about Kapaleeshwarar temples and their various practices is a never ending one. It is only upon visiting these shrines in person that one can truly experience and get a deeper understanding of the religious practices. Chennai has managed to preserve India’s great and antiquated religious architecture. With more than a dozen temples and their Gopurams dotting the city’s skyline, these ancient marvels once reigned as Chennai’s original skyscrapers. Any holiday plans to check out South India’s rich temple culture is incomplete without a visit to Chennai.

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