Explore 10 Famous Temples in Chennai – A Guide

Famous Temples in Chennai

Ruled by the Cholas, Nayaks and many more, Chennai, previously known as ‘Madras’ is a land doused in rich traditions, history and architecture. Now the capital of Tamil Nadu, this city has many offerings for its guests, like the many famous temples in Chennai. Home to artistic expressions and talent, it is without a doubt that the city displays a number of divine temples dating back to the 1st century!

In this blog, we will be listing the top 10 famous temples in Chennai that should be on your check list when you are traveling to this culturally rich and vibrant city as well as discuss the artwork and styles which contributed to the massive popularity of Chennai among devotees world wide.

chennai religious sites

Architectural grandeur of Chennai temples

Chennai’s temples project a blend of mythology along with spiritual expression through their architecture. The creation of ‘gopurams’, the towering gateways, and intricate stone carvings depict a deep connection with the storytelling aspect of these temple’s architecture. Standing as a testament to the skilled craftsmanship, here are some of the common architectural themes and features present in the Chennai famous temples.

  • Dravidian influence: the Dravidian style is in direct contrast to the north Indian temple style, using shorter pyramidal towers ‘vimana’ that envelops the ‘garbhagriha’ which is the innermost part of any Hindu temple, where the idol is placed. Larger dravidian style temples in Chennai that have been constructed more recently also depicts an ornate ‘gopura’ which is the entrance way to the temple.
  • Gopuram: multi structured and intricately designed, these are the entrance way to the temples, providing elaborate story telling through vibrant artwork and sculptures of deities from the Hindu mythologies. These multi-tiered structures are often colorful and hand carved to depict many celestial beings.
  • Wooden pillar: southern Indian houses of worship are well known for their vibrant artwork, intricate detailing and craftsmanship. The temples of Chennai display intricately designed wooden pillars which are carved with detailed precision to reflect storytelling components of deities.

Ashtalakshmi Temple

    Located in Elliot Beach, this Chennai famous temple is dedicated to the Goddess Laxmi and stands for prosperity, wealth, knowledge and courage. With four stories, the temple depicts stunning artwork and an artistically designed rooftop. One of the recent temples, it was built in the year 1974 by Sri Chandrashekarendra Saraswati Swamigal.

    Adeeswar Temple

    Another famous temple of Chennai, Adeeswar was built in the 1st century BC for the Jain community. Also known as the Kesarwadi Jain Temple by local inhabitants, this temple was dedicated to first Tirthankar Shri Rishabhadev also known as Adeeswar. It stands as a symbol of the initiation of Jainism in Tamil Nadu.

    Kapaleeswarar Temple

      Arulmigu Kapleeshwar, a form of Lord Shiva and Goddess Karpagambal, an avatar of Goddess Parvati, is the dedication behind the construction of this temple in the 7th century CE. Built by the Pallava dynasty, this temple features stone carvings, wood work, decorated pillars and Gopuram.

      Marundheeswarar Temple

        One of the famous temples Chennai has to offer to its tourists, the Marundheeswarar temple was built in the 11th century by rulers of the Chola dynasty. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple forms an important part of Hindu mythology wherein Rishi Valmiki had worshiped Lord Rama under a holy Vanni tree, which can be spotted on the temple ground which spans over 1 acre.

        Ekambareswarar Temple

          Your trip is incomplete without the ‘darshan’ of this famous temple in Chennai. Built by the Chola kings, this place of worship is dedicated to the ‘poojan’ of various Hindu gods and goddesses such as Lords Shiva, Ganesha, Vishnu, Shakti, Surya and the Goddess Kamakshi. Apart from these gods and goddesses, the temple complex also boasts separate temples, each of which are dedicated to the navagrahas (nine planets).

          Parthasarathy Temple

            Dedicated for the worship of Lord Vishnu, the god of preservation, this temple worships each of his prominent avatars – Krishna, Varaha, Rama, Narasimha, etc. With inscriptions and depiction of the battle of Kurukshetra through murals and artwork, this temple is a true homage to God Vishnu’s immense power. You should also explore tourist places near chennai.

            Kandhakottam Temple

              Built for the worship of Lord Murugan as a ‘warrior god’, this temple has been built on a hill, sprawling over 8 acres of land. The temple was established in the year 1915 by Maari Chettiar and depicts intricate artwork, detailed craftsmanship along with charming architectural aesthetics.

              Thirumala Thirupathi Devasthanam Temple

                The Chennai temples famous list is not over without the mention of Thirumala Thirupathi Devasthanam Temple. Attracting devotees from all around the world and witnessing a higher footfall than all of the above listed places of worship in Chennai, this temple is dedicated to Lord Balaji and displays an elaborate gate with a stunning white stone ‘gopuram’.

                To truly understand the beauty, magnitude of traditions, culture and devotion, visitors must first immerse themselves in the local customs that are associated in each of these temples. Only then will guests enjoy the essence of spirituality and devotion in Chennai.

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