There are seven great Shiva temples in Mylapore, Chennai. Most have heard of the famous Kapaleeswarar Temple, but how about the other six? In fact, many who visit the Kapali temple regularly have not even stepped inside the important Velleeswarar Temple just next door to it!
The key to this Siddha worship procedure is that devotees should offer worship at the six other Shiva temples first before visitng the Kapaleeswarar Temple.
Order of temple in which we need to visit:
Mylapore Saptha Sthaana Shiva worship includes (1) Sri Karaneeswarar Temple, (2) Sri Theerthapaleeswarar Temple, (3) Sri Velleeswarar Temple, (4) Sri Virupaksheeswarar Temple, (5) Sri Valeeswarar Temple, (6) Sri Malleeswarar Temple and (7) Sri Kapaleeswarar Temple, in that order.
All these temple is built or renovated in 12th centuary.
The Siddhas say that this is so only because of the seven great Shiva deities who grace this town. Lord Sri Rama and Lord Sri Skanda, at the Singaravelan shrine (which is part of the Kapali temple) in Mylapore have visited these temples in order and performed Pooja . These deities are that ancient! Temples may get rebuilt, but these deities themselves are timeless. Such is the sacredness due to the seven Shivas here. So devotees should consider it a great honor to be able to offer worship at all seven Shiva temples here.
1. Karneeswarar temple
This is a 12th Century temple and history of this temple is dated back to the Chola period . It’s said that Karaneeswarar temple had lots of inscriptions belonging to the Chola period, which is recorded by ASI. The temple is said to be worshipped by Sage Vasishta. Karana means cause. Karana + Iswara = Karaneeswara, the Lord who is the Cause. He is the primordial cause of this universe which is His very form. Since Shiva is the ‘reason’ for everything, He is called Karaneeswarar (Karanam in Tamil means reason).
2. Sri Theerthapaleeswarar Temple
Sri Theerthapaleeswarar Temple is worshipped by Sage Adri and sage Agasthya . It is the second temple in the series of 7 great Siva temples. In age-old times, there were 64 angelic theertha ponds from this temple arch appropriate up to the adjacent sea. It is an argya shakti divya sthala, say the Siddhas. Numerous rishis accept performed argya adoration here. During the theerthavari festival during the month of Masi when the seven deities of the Sapthasthana temples take bath in the sea this deity takes the first place.
3. Sri Velliswarar Temple
Sri Velliswarar Temple is devoted to Sri Velliswarar and Mother Kamakshi. Vellee means Sukra and Velleeswara means Lord of Sukracharya. The Sage Angeerasa worshipped Shiva in this temple. The eye sight which Sage Sukracharya lost at the hands of Lord Vamana got back here after worshipping the Lord Shiva. In this temple devotees can worship the shrine form of Sri Sukra worshipping the Lord Shiva.It is believed by the locals that Lord Velleeswara is the divine eye doctor, who can cure eye related problems. Lord Shiva in this temple also protects his devotees from the attack of the problems related to their eyes
4. Sri Virupaksheeswarar Temple
Sri Virupaksheeswarar Temple is located near Karaneeswarar temple in Bazaar Road. Virupakesheeswarar temple is the fourth Saptha Sthana Shiva temple .In this temple Lord Shiva is known as Virupaksheeswarar along with the consort Sri Visalakshi Amman. Sri Visalakshi Amman has a “Bali Peetam” which is said to be unique in Shiva temples. Also Lord Bhairava and Lord Surya are together near Ambal sannidhi. Virupakesheeswarar temple is one of the oldest temples in Mylapore. It is believed that it was built by a devotee named Sivanesan Chettiar. His daughter Poompavai died, and the great saint Thirugnana Sambandhar brought her back alive from her burnt bones
Sage Kutsa worshipped Lord Shiva here in this temple and Sundaramoorthy Nayanar worshipped Lord Shiva here and saw Nataraja Thandavam . The Puranas tell us that the holy land of this temple is the subtle divine factory where the jeeva shakthi needed for the survival of all beings is created. The union togetherness of mind, body and heart in God that Virupakshi blossom shows and thus Virupakshi flowers garland was worn by Mother Visalakshi in this temple.
5. Sri Valeeswarar Temple
Sri Valeeswarar Temple, is located at Gopathy Narayana Chetty Street opposite to Kolavizhiamman Temple & opposite Sri Karaneeswarar Temple. The lord Shiva is said to be worshipped by Sage Gautama, this is 2000 years old temple . Vali (of Ramayana) is said to got all his powers after his tapas towards Easwaran here. Pancha lingams came out from the earth as seen in a separate shrine. Sri Valeeswarar and Mother Periya Nayaki are the reigning this temple
6. Sri Maleeswarar Temple
Sri Maleeswarar Temple, is located in the area behind Sri Karaneeswarar Temple. Lord Maleeswara is worshipped by Sage Brigu,. The entire place was supposed to be forest of Jasmines and so name Malleeswarar.
“Malligai vana eesa malleesa,
Maragadhavalli’yudan magizhum ma mylai puri vasa!
Solli thuthiporkku thunayyagum arul nesa,
Ellorkkum nalam arulwai emmane potri potri!!”
It is also said that Prarthan, King of Ayodhya, was in tapas and conducted a Yagna here towards Lord Shiva. Indhra tries to sabotage his tapas but could not. In praise of the intensity of his tapas, Shiva appeared before him along with his consort. Neem and Aswatha trees are grown together as a single tree is one of the divine combinations .The worship of Sri Malleeswara and Mother Maragathambal will ensure that husband, wife and children are highly moral and they don’t fall into evil ways. Offering fragrant flowers and perfumes pleases lord Maleeswarar & Sri Maragadhambal.
7. Sri Kapaleeswarar Temple
Sri Kapaleeswara is worshipped by Sage Kasyapar, This is one of the 275 Thevara Padal Petra Sthalams; and one of the 40 temples that have west facing Shiva shrines. The original temple was said to be located near the sea but got submerged in the sea and the current temple was built around 350 years back. Parvathi Devi worshipped Shiva here in the form of Peacock .The original temple was constructed by the Pallavas in the 8th century. The key atractions of this temple include, Sri Narthana Vinayagar , Sri Singara Velar Sannidhi.