Kapaleashwarar temple in Chennai is dedicated to the Hindu Lord Shiva also known as Kapaleeswarar. The original 8th century Shiva temple was built by the Pallavas and located on the shore but it was destroyed by the Portuguese and was re-built as a church. 300 years later The Vijayanagara kings rebuilt the temple during the 16th century and added the majestic 37m gopuram at its gateway after the much older temple was destroyed by the Portuguese.
The presiding deity of this temple is a form of Shiva called Kapaleashwarar. The form of Shiva's wife Parvati at this temple is called Karpagambal (from the Tamil for "goddess of the wish-yielding tree"). Legend has it that Lord Shiva was once telling Lord Brahma, the Hindu god of creation, about the creation of the three lokas but Lord Brahma did not agree with what Shiva said. Shiva got angry and plucked out one of Brahma's four heads. Brahma begged for forgiveness and was asked to perform penance at Mayilai (Mylapore) and then he asked Lord Shiva to take the name of Kapaleashwarar as Lord Shiva (eswarar) was wearing a necklace of skulls (kapala).
The foreign invaders of India like East India Company and Afghans were in the habit destroying Ancient Hindu Temples and constructing their own worship places to propagate their religion and faith in India. But even though they have destroyed the Hindu Temples and looted the valuables they cannot able to destroy the faith of Hindus in their worship and cultural activities.
In November 2006 Pope Benedict XVI had categorically stated that St.Thomas never visited South India. When Catholic Indian Missionaries want to manufacture false and fictitious fables to deliberately mislead the poor and gullible masses of India for purposes of mass conversion
Statement about destruction of the original Kapaleeshwara Temple by Christians was confirmed by Dr. R. Nagaswamy, formerly Director of Archealogy Tamilnadu. In an article `Testimony to Religious Ethos', published in `The Hindu' of 30 April, 1990, he wrote: `A great study of the monuments and lithic records in Madras reveals a great destruction caused by the Portuguese to Hindu Temples in the 16 century A.D. The most important temple of Kapaleeshwara lost its ancient building during the Portuguese devastation and was originally located near the San Thome Cathedral. A few Chola records found in the San Thome Cathedral and Bishop's house refer to Kapaleeshwara Temple and Thirugnanasambandar Poompaavai. A Chola record in fragment found on the east wall of the San Thome Cathedral refers to the image of Lord Nataraja of the Kapaleeshwara Temple. The temple was moved to the present location in the 16 century.
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