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Religion / Girivalam

Kapaleeswarar Temple at Mylapore
Did you know that the Kapaleeswarar temple is an ancient shrine glorified by the tamil hymns of Tirugnanasambandar in the 7th century ? Both Mylapore and Tirumayilai are ancient Tamil names. Visit this landmark of Chennai - a temple known for its vast tower studded with stucco images, a huge temple tank - the site of the float festival in January.

 

Parthasarathy Temple at Tiruvallikkeni
The Parthasarathy temple which attracts huge crowds during Vaikuntha Ekadasi, has been glorified by the hymns of the Alwar saints of the 7th -9th centuries.Tiruvallikkeni is considered equivalent to Tirupati. Experience its traditions, festivals and ambience.

 
Marundeeswarar Temple at Tiruvanmyur
The vast temple complex as you leave the city, when you drive south of Chennai along the coast is this 1300 year old temple. Tyagaraja - the Somaskanda manifestation of Shiva is enshrined in this southern suburb of Tiruvanmyur as well as in the northern fringe of Chennai at Tiruvotriyur. Browse through its interesting traditions and festivals here.  
 

Tyagarajar Temple at Tiruvotriyur
Sundaramurthy Nayanar of the 9th century CE was closely associated with this vast temple, located in the Northern fringe of Chennai. Interesting dance traditions are associated with Tyagaraja of Tiruvotriyur. Experience the richness of the collossal entrance tower, the ambience of this vast temple patronized by the Chola kings of the 12th century, and the colorful festival traditions.

 

Kandaswamy Temple
The Kandaswamy temple is situated at Cheyur at Madurantakam near Chennai. It is an ancient temple and can be dated back to the 11th century AD. There is another famous temple in Madurantakam dedicated to Eri Katta Ramar. Madurantakam is well known for its temple to Eri Katta Ramar. There are two other ancient temples in Cheyur dedicated to Perumaal and Shiva Valmimakathar both dating back to the Chola period. The Shiva temple is rich in inscriptions.

 
Vadapalani Temple
Vadapalani temple is dedicated to Lord Muruga. It is most revered deity of the people of Tamil as the Lord of Tamil. There is a sanctum for Lord Shiva, his consort Parvati and their son Ganesha. Lord Anjaneya is also a popular deity of the temple. Devotees apply butter to Lord Anjaneya and pray for the fulfillment of their wishes. The three devout Murugan bhaktas played an important role in the popularity of the temple. It houses several mini-shrines for the highest divinities, like Mahalakshmi, Meenakshi, Valli Devasena, Sametha Subrahmanya, Chandikeswar, Dakshinamurthi, Bhairava, Chokkanathar etc.  
 

Fort St. George
The British East India Company under the direct supervision of Francis Day and Andrew Cogon built it in 1640 AD. This place achieved its name from Saint George, the patron saint of England. The fort houses Saint Mary's Church and fort museum. Saint Mary's Church the oldest Anglican Church built in 1680 and the tombstones in its courtyard are the oldest British tombstones in India. It presently house the Secretariat and Legislative Assembly. The 46 m high flagstaff at the front is a mast salvaged from the 17th century shipwreck. The Fort Museum has a fascinating collection of memorabilia from the British and French East India companies as well as the Raj and Muslim period.

 

San Thome Basilica
San Thome Basilica at the south end of Marina Beach was named after Saint Thomas (Doubting Thomas). It is believed that he had come to Chennai in 52 AD and was killed at St. Thomas Mount just outside the city in 78 AD. Built in 16th Century by the Portuguese, in 1896 it was made a basilica. The beautiful stained glass window at the basilica portrays the story of St Thomas and the central hall has 14 wooden plaques depicting scenes from the last days of Christ. In the cathedral is a 3ft. high statue of Virgin Mary believed to have been brought from Portugal in 1543.

 
Theosophical Society
It was formed to facilitate and encourage the study of comparative religion, philosophy and science situated in beautiful sylvan settings in Adyar. Founded by Madame Blavatsky and Col. Olott in USA, the society was later moved to Adyar in 1882. Apart from shrines of all faiths and the peaceful Garden of Remembrance, there is a 95-year old library which has a very good collection of rare Oriental manuscripts written on palm leaves and parchment. 
 

St. Mary's Church
The oldest surviving English church in Chennai was completed in 1680.You will find the remainders of Robert Clive and Elihu Yale the early governor of Chennai in this church.

 

Luz Church
Dedicated to Our lady of Light and built by Portuguese sailors, this 16th century church is one of the oldest churches of Chennai.

 
Little Mount Church
This is a tiny cave where St Thomas is believed to have lived when he came to India around AD 58.It is known locally as Chinnamalai.The cave is entered via the Portuguese church built in 1551.  
 

St. Andrew's Church
Completed in 1821 in a classical style this church has an impressive blue dome decorated with gold stars. You can get excellent views from the top.

 

Christ the King Church
Commissioned by French clergymen this church was designed and built by an Indian mason in 1933. It is a fine example of gothic architecture standing majestically in the middle of Loyola College campus. It has pointed arches, ribbed vaults, rose windows, three-aisled nave and flying buttresses. Covering an area of 150 feet by 60 feet, with stained glass windows, this church is a captivating sight, inside as well as outside. The spire is 157 feet high and has a stairway leading to the top, where a cross stands.

 
Thousand Lights Mosque
Built in mid-1800 in the land donated by Nawab Wallajah, this mosque last rebuilt in 1981, has two 64' tall minarets. The mosque also houses a library, a burial ground and guesthouses. It is called the Thousand Lights Mosque because of the legend that over one thousand lamps had to be used to light up the Assembly Hall that stood at this same spot. This multi-domed mosque, with sayings from the Holy Koran painted on its walls, comes alive during the annual Moharram.

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