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| Last Updated:: 12/09/2023





Chennai, the capital city of Tamil Nadu, is a hub of temples of various faiths. Built in the unique South Indian architectural styles, these temples are a symbol of spirituality, culture and art. Located on the Coromandel coast off the Bay of Bengal, it is the biggest cultural, economic and educational centre of south India.



Buzzing streets, beaches, shopping arcades, historical monuments, and skyscrapers are not the only elements that sum up Chennai. There some stunning heritage temples that add a hint of colour and charm to the city. With rich spiritual history and marvellous structures, the famous temples in Chennai, not only allure devotees and religious enthusiasts, but everyone who loves to explore architectural wonders. The temples are dedicated to deities of different religions and have some really interesting mythological stories to tell. The temple’s architecture is in the Dravidian style. Some of the well known religious places are Parthasarathy temple, Ashtalakshmi temple, ISKCON temple, Vadapalani temple, Marundeeswarar temple, St. Mary's church, Santhome Cathedral Basilica, St. Andrews church, Kapaleeswarar temple, Big Mosque and Kandaswamy temple.



One of the most prominent Vishnu temples in Chennai, the Parthasarathy temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna. In fact, it is the only temple in Chennai, where different avatars of Lord Vishnu, namely, Krishna, Varaha, Rama and Narasimha are worshipped, under one roof. The temple has separate entrances for Rama and Narsimha. The Parthasarathy temple has spectacular sculptures, inscriptions and murals dedicated to different events of the battle of Kurukshetra.




Mylapore is also the setting for Chennai's biggest and busiest Hindu temple. Dedicated to Arulmigu Kapleeshwar- form of Lord Shiva and Goddess Karpagambal- form of Parvati, Kapaleeswarar is one of the most popular Shiva temples in Chennai. Flanked by rainbow-coloured gopurams (temple towers), the Kapaleeshwar temple is founded on the spot where Shiva turned his wife into a peacock as a test of her devotion. Parvati meditated on the divinity of Shiva and was transformed back to her original form, inspiring a Hindu cult which constructed the first temple on this site in the 8th century. Kapaleeshwar is thronged by visitors for the annual Panguni Peruvizha festival in March or April, when the temple idols are paraded through the streets in a lavishly decorated wooden chariot.



Sri Vadapalani Andavar temple, also known as Vadapalani Murugan temple is dedicated to Lord Murugan and considered as one of the major attractions of Chennai. Built by Annaswami Nayakar, a devotee of Murugan in 1890, this temple was renovated in 1920 by building a huge rajagopuram at the entranceway. Sri Vadapalani Andavar temple is considered as a sacred place for marriages and other religious ceremonies and it is believed that the moolavar in standing posture blesses the newly married couple with health and prosperity. Panguni Uthiram lathcharchanai is the famous festival which goes on for ten days and is over on the Panguni Uthram day. This is followed by the departure of Vadapalani Andavar in the evening. A deepam festival takes place after this for three days.



Situated by the Elliot’s Beach, Ashtalakshmi temple is a religious wonder and undoubtedly one of the most beautiful temples in Chennai. The uniqueness of the temple is that, it is dedicated to Goddess Laxmi and her eight forms, each representing success, offspring, prosperity, wealth, courage, bravery, food and knowledge. This is one of most artistically designed temples with four floors, marvellous structures, pillars and intricate roof design.



Chennai might seem an unlikely destination for a Christian pilgrimage, but locals believe that the San Thome Cathedral, founded by the Portuguese in the 16th century, marks the final resting place of Thomas the Apostle, who travelled to India at the beginning of the Christian era on a mission to convert the Coromandel coast. Most of the saint's remains were whisked away to Italy in the 13th century, but the cathedral preserves a bone of St Thomas and the lance which allegedly impaled him in 72 AD.



In Chennai city, there are many other beautiful and magnificent churches, built over a period of time. Some of the important churches of Chennai are Anderson Church, Andrew's Kirk, Christ church, Chinnamalai church and St. George's Cathedral.



Shree Chandraprabhu Jain Naya Mandir is one of the most popular Jain temples in Chennai. Dedicated to the 8th Tirthankara- Sri Chandraprabhu Bhagwan, this is a two-storied structure, built of sparkling white limestone, marble and soapstone. Endowed with a white facade, beautiful murals and pillars, the intricate yet splendid architecture, resembles that of the Dilwara temple in Rajasthan.





As you wander around the mosques of Chennai, divinity and mystique seem to pulsate in the air. Chennai city is inhabited by quite a number of Muslims and over a period of time, many mosques developed in Chennai city. Makka Masjid is one of the important mosques in Chennai city. Masjid Mamoor is another important mosque, sacred to Muslims of the Mannady area in Chennai. It was first built in the 18th century. The Grand Mosque, in red stone, was built by Nawab Wallajah and is an important mosque of Chennai. Thousand Lights Mosque is situated in the heart of Chennai city. This is a beautiful cream-coloured, multi-domed mosque with walls bearing recently- painted quotes from the Holy Koran.