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Mylapore( ) is the cultural hub, and a bustling neighborhood, just south of Chennaimarker (formerly Madrasmarker) city, the capital of Tamil Nadumarker, Indiamarker.

Mylapore is a major commercial center, and one of the oldest residential parts of the city. It is well-connected by roads and Metro railway network, MRTSmarker. It is famous for its tree-lined avenues, the famous 7th century Kapaleeswarar Templemarker, its kutcheri season and Ramakrishna Math.


The word Mylapore is derived from the Tamil word mayil, meaning peacock, which was the traditional vehicle of the Hindu god Muruga.


Mylapore is located a few kilometres to the south of Chennai city. It extends from Triplicanemarker and Teynampetmarker in the west up to the sea-coast. It is bounded by Royapettahmarker and the river Coovummarker to the north. Its southern frontier corresponds roughly with that of River Adyarmarker. It extends for around 4 kilometres from north to south and 2 kilometres from east to west.


The present-day population of Mylapore is estimated to be around 150,000 to 300,000 . It has long been a site of cultural production for Brahmins due to Mylapore's early role as a temple center. Smartha Brahmins, a subsect were one of the first people to settle in this township. Accurate statistics are not available as Mylapore is not a different township by itself but only a part of Chennaimarker city. The different neighborhoods within Mylapore have been parcelled out amongst the different wards of the Chennai Corporation.


View of the temple tank at dawn

The town of Mylapore predates British rule by several centuries. As per available historical and archaeological evidence, it could well be the oldest part of Chennai; with written records of early settlements going back to the 1st century BC.

The Tamil sage of the Sangam Period Thiruvalluvar, and author of great Tamil work Thirukkural is said to have been born in Mylapore, although this claim is disputed. The temple dedicated to Thiruvalluvar is one of the major attractions at Mylapore.

This place is also associated with Ptolemy the Egyptian traveller . He is supposed to have arrived at this place, which was once a thriving port city. Marco Polo is also believed to have visited Mylapore. Marco Polo has left a detailed description of the land, the people and their customs and religion.

Mylapore is also recently 'claimed' to be associated with the legend of St. Thomas, who was supposedly to have been buried at a place called Mylapore. But this theory was disputed by Vatican and it declared that St.Thomas was buried in Vatican. A short biography of St.Thomas supposedly mentions a six year long association of the Apostle with Mylapore. But [69893] 'The Myth of St.Thomas' by Koenraad Elst postulates that St.Thomas might have never visited Mylapore and Malabar was the only place to be visited by him.

Mylapore was occupied by the Portuguesemarker in 1523 who established the viceroyalty of 'São Tomé de Meliaporemarker' or 'Saint Thomas of Mylapore'. Portuguese rule lasted until 1749, except for a brief interrum between 1662 and 1687 when it was occupied by the French. Portuguese unleashed an orgy of violence, religious intolerance, forced conversions and iconoclasm on the native Hindus, which was similar to the modern-day Goa Inquisition.. The Santhome Churchmarker was believed to have been constructed by the Portuguese over the remains of a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Kabaleeswarar which they destroyed. The present day Kabaleeswara Temple is believed to have been built in 17th century in the current location, to commemorate the original seashore temple destroyed by the occupying Portuguese.

Portuguese rule eventually came to an end in 1749 when the town fell into the hands of the British East India Company who took possession of the settlement in the name of Muhammad Ali Khan Wallajah, the Nawab of Arcot. In that same year, Mylapore was incorporated into the administration of the Presidency of Madras. The settlement known as "Luz" developed during this period. As early as 1760, an English writer James Taylor applied for land in the region known as "Luce".

Mylapore began to capture the limelight in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when it rose as the commercial and intellectual hub of Madras city and home to a vast array of British-educated lawyers and statesmen. This was also the time when it acquired a distinct flavour as the principal abode of the city's Brahmin community. Though, with the passage of time, Brahmins have dispersed all over Chennai, Mylapore still remains one of mainstays of Chennai's Brahmin community.

In recent times, increasing commercialization has changed its looks. Today, Mylapore is known for its residential colonies, temples, shopping malls, kutcheri halls and sabhas and old 19th century residential buildings and houses.


Mylapore boasts of renowned educational institutions such as Vivekananda College, Sir Sivaswami Kalalaya Senior Secondary School, Lady Sivaswamy Ayyar Girls Hr.Sec.School, St.Raphael's Girls Hr.Sec.School,Rosary matriculation Higher secondary school, St Bede's Anglo Indian Higher secondary school, Santhome Higher Sec. School,Monfort Academy, Dominic Savio School, St. John's Schools, DAV Senior Secondary School (Boys & Girls), DAV Matriculation Higher Secondary School,P. S. Senior Secondary School, Vidya Mandir Secondary School, , P.S Higher Secondary School, which is over a hundred years old.India's First Digital meida College Image college of Arts,Animation and technology is here in Mylapore.


The Mylapore MRTS station, seen from Luz Corner


MTC buses connect Mylapore to important areas like Chennai Centralmarker, T.marker Nagarmarker.


Mylapore's MRTSmarker railway station, called Thirumylai Railway Station, connects it to other MRTS areas of Chennai.


Mylapore is home to hundreds of temples, churchers and mosques. One of the most religious sites is the Kapaleeshwarar Karpagambal temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and his companion. It was built in the ninth century.

Kapaleeswarar templemarker

Legend has it that Goddess Parvathi, the divine consort of Lord Shiva, did penance at Mylapore taking the form of a pea-hen, in order to be wedded to him. The name Mylapore is derived from this legend - "Mayil" in Tamil means a peacock. The famous Kapaleeswarar temple in Mylapore and its beautiful temple tank are associated with this legend.

The renowned geographer Ptolemy had described about in his writings about the Mylapore and the famous Kapaleeshwarar temple . The temple boasts of exquisitive architecture and one of the most celebrated shrine of Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati.

The Kapaleeshwarar temple is one of the most important temples in the world. The temple has statues of all the Gods and Goddesses of the Hindu Religion. Built in the 9th century this temple stands as one of the most foremost temples of South India and remains a testimonial to the greatness and unflinching devotion of the Pallava kings.

The temple has other shrines dedicated to Ganesha (a dancing form called Nardana Vinayakar), Muruga (called Singara Velar), with his two consorts Valli and Devayani. Smaller shrines are dedicated to other forms of Shiva (Annamalaiar, Sundareswarar and Jagatheswarar), Muruga (Palani Andavar) and others. In particular, there is a shrine with an image of a peahen, which is where Mylapore derives its name from. Navagraha shrine is also present. There is a separate shrine for Sani Bhagavan and special puja's will be done on Saturday.

The present Kapaleeswarar temple was built 300-400 years ago at a different location.(See external links).

Kesava Perumal Temple

Mylapore is also famous for the Kesava Perumal Temple constructed in honor of Keshava or Lord Vishnu, a principal God in the Hindu pantheon and the "Savior" in the Hindu trinity. The temple has an idol of Lord Vishnu accompanied by his celestial consort Goddess Lakshmi.

Sri Vedantha Desikar Devasthanam / Sri Srinivasar Koil

Mylapore also boasts of the Srinivasar temple near "Chitra Kulam" in Mylapore, which is administered by the Vedantha Desikar Devasthanam (SVDD)]. It is located just beside the Adi Kesava Perumal Temple, which has an imposing gopuram that can be seen from quite a distance.

The Srinivasa temple has a history of over 350 years. A vigraha of Sri Vedanta Desika was brought from the adjacent Kesavaperumal temple and installed here. Since elders felt that the Acharya should not preside alone, a vigraha of Lakshmi Hayagriva modelled on the idol of the Mysore Parakala mutt was brought and installed. The Parakala mutt is also located in Mylapore (opposite road to Mylai railway station). The shrine of the great teacher Vedantha Desika is the one that faces north and it is the first shrine one sees in the temple. Sri Vedantha Desika lived over 730 years ago in South India. He wrote erudite commentaries on Ramanuja's Sribhashyam, Gita Bhashyam and was a great exponent of Visishtadvaita.

Hayagriva was the "upasana daivam" of Vedantha Desika and therefore worshipping him here is considered doubly beneficial. He is said to have performed penance in Sivanasamudram on the banks of the Cauvery river for 10 years. He lived on this earth for 120 years, which is the prescribed lifespan of a human being according to ancient texts. He left behind five noted disciples (Jeers). Apart from the sanctum dedicated to Alameluthayar , there are shrines to Lord Rama, Lord Narasimha and the Azhwars.

Throughout the year, a number of festivals are celebrated in the temple. Srinivasa Perumal Brahmothsavam, Desikar Uthsavam, Pavithra Uthsavam, Sri Rama Navami are the more prominent ones.

Other Temples

  • NavaShakti Vinayaka temple, near Luz
  • Veera Anjaneyar_Temple_at_Chennai_, near Luz
  • Madhava Perumal Temple
  • MundakaKanni Amman temple
  • Kozha Vizhi Amman temple
  • Velleeswarar Temple (Near Kapaleeswarar temple)
  • vaaleeshwarar Temple
  • Virupaaksheeshwarar Temple
  • Malleshwarar Temple
  • Kaaraneeshwarar temple
  • Veerabadra Swami temple - This temple has a separate shrine dedicated to Lord Sarabeshwara
  • Apparswamy temple
  • Shirdi Sai temple
  • nandalala temple in dr.ranga road near...


Convention of the Mylai Tamizh Sangam, early 1900s

See Also: Culture of Chennai

Mylapore is widely regarded as the cultural hub of the city. Mylapore is the home of a number of music sabhas (cultural organizations) and distinguished musicians. The last month of the year is often set aside as Music Season when regular and continuous kutcheris are organized by the different Sabhas in Mylapore. There are performances by leading Carnatic Music vocalists and artists during this period. The Parthasarathy Swami Sabha in Mylapore is the oldest Sabha (Assembly) in Tamil Nadu. The Madras Music Academy, Mylapore is also an important nucleus of Art events in the city. Bharatiya Vidhya Bhavan Auditorium is also known for conducting cultural events.

Nageshwara Rao Garden is known for its play area, shrubs and also cultural events.

Mylapore Times, a weekly neighbourhood newspaper, covers relevant issues relating to the neighbourhood of Mylapore.


There are a number of shops and exhibition halls in Mylapore. Nilgiris 1905 is the most prominent departmental store in Mylapore. Some prominent industries which are based at Mylapore include Amrutanjan Limited. Chennai Citi Centre is a popular shopping mall in Mylapore. There are also halls such as Sankara Hall where book fairs and handloom and art exhibitions are held. Khadims famous footware store is also one of the best branded footware showroom in mylapore located on venkatesha agraharam road . Most of the Marina beachmarker is located within Mylapore thereby making up a fine weekend recreation destination.

The latest attraction to shopping is the City Center, which boats a multiplex, an elaborate food court and the best of brand owning a shop space in the mall. Also there is a huge rise in number of Retail Shops pertaining to handicrafts, fashion accessories, etc.

Localities in Mylapore

  • Santhomemarker
  • Mandavelimarker
  • Abhiramapuram
  • Visalakshi Thoottam
  • Guru Puram
  • Luz & Luz Church Road
  • Madhavaperumalpuram
  • Othavadi
  • Quibble Island
  • Raja Annamalaipuram
  • Robertsonpet
  • Dooming Cuppam
  • Trustpakkam
  • Pattinampakkam West
  • Mayor Ramanathan Chettiar Nagar
  • Karpagam Avenue
  • Rohini Gardens
  • Raja Gramani Thottam
  • Ramakrishna Nagar
  • Bheemasena Garden street

Places of importance in Mylapore


Mylapore assembly constituency is part of Chennai South .


  1. Saints, Goddesses and Kings By Susan Bayly
  2. Voter population of Mylapore Legislative Assembly constituency
  3. Womanhood in the Making By Mary Elizabeth Hancock, Mary Hancock
  4. Biography of Thiruvalluvar by Swami Sivananda
  5. 'Thiruvalluvar from Kanyakumari not Mylapore', Yahoo News,April 26, 2005
  6. Ptolemy mentions Mylapore as Mylarphon and describes it as a 'rich, vast and grand land'
  7. The Travels of Marco Polo by Henry Yule, Vol 2, Book 3, Chapters XVII and XVIII,Project Gutenberg
  8. A chronology of colonial rule in Portuguese India, From
  9. The Myth of St.Thomas and the Portuguese Shiva Temple by Koenraad Elst, Chapter XV
  10. A brief history of Chennai, From the official website of the Corporation of Chennai
  11. PALATHOPE -- A Lawyer's Enclave Part I by Ashwin Prabhu, Mylapore Social History Project
  12. PALATHOPE -- A Lawyer's Enclave Part II by Ashwin Prabhu, Mylapore Social History Project
  13. Madras Rediscovered by S.Muthiah
  14. History of Srinivasa Temple
  15. Sanctums Sanctorum of Lord Srinivasa and Alamelumanga Thayar
  16. Festivals of Srinivasa Temple

External links

See also

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