The temple's name is derived from the words kapalam (head) and eeshwarar an alias of Shiva. According to the Puranas, during the meeting of Brahma and Shiva at top of Mount Kailash Brahma failed to show the due respect to Shiva. Due to this, Shiva plucked of one of Brahma's heads (kapalams). In an act of penance, Brahma came down to the site of Mylapore and installed a Lingam to please Shiva.This place is known as Sukra puri, Veda puri and has so many other names including “Kailaye Mayilai and Mayilaye Kayilai “which means this place is equal to kailash. Goddess Karpagambal due to a curse became a peacock and did penance here to get back her original personality. Lord Muruga received the spear (Sakthi vel) for Sura Samharam from goddess Parvathi here. Brahma had worshipped here to get rid his ego back his power to create. The four Vedas have Worshipped here. Sukracharya worshiped the Lord here and got back his lost eye. Lord Sri Rama has worshiped here and won the war against Ravana and brought back Sita Devi from SriLanka. The daughter of Sivanesa Chettiar Angam Poompavi got her lost life here. Vaayilar Nayanar a fakir attained salvation here and mylapore is also the birth place of Thiruvalluvar who wrote Thirukkural. In Thevaram special mention is made about the beautiful Madaveedhi as “Malgun Mathri Thavazhum Maada Veedhi Mylappil Ullar”. Thiruganana Sambandar, Auunagirinathar have sung the Glory of Karpagambal, Singara Velar. The 10 day festival during March / April is a treat to watch and Arubathu Moovar festival is attended by lakhs of devotees every year.
The commonly held view is that the temple was built in the 7th century CE by the ruling Pallavas. This view is based on references to the temple in the hymns of the Nayanmars (which, however, place it by a sea shore).Thirugnanasambandar's 6th song in Poompavaipathikam and Arunagirinathar's 697th song in Thirumylai Thirupugazh, make clear reference to the Kapaleeswarar temple being located on the seashore in Mylapore. The architecture of the temple, however, appears to be 300–400 years old. The scholarly view that accounts for the discrepancies is that the original temple was built on the shore at the location of the current Santhome Church but was destroyed by the Portuguese, and the current temple (which is 1-1.5 km from the shore) was built by the Vijayanagar kings during the 16th century
ArchitectureThe Kapaleeshwarar temple is of typical Dravidian architectural style, with the gopuram overpowering the street on which the temple sits. This temple is also a testimonial for the vishwakarmas sthapathis. There are two entrances to the temple marked by the gopuram on either side. The east gopuram is about 40 m high, while the smaller western gopuram faces the sacred tank
This festival is celebrated in order to honor the Saivaite devotees, namely the sixty-three Nayanmars. The procession is celebrated by taking the Nayanmars in a palanquin that is decorated with ornaments and flowers. The Moovar Appar, Sundarar, Thirugyana Sambandar are carried in a separate palanquin. Idols of Kapaleeshwarar and Karpagambal are decorated with colorful and fragrant flowers.
The festival results in a huge gathering of devotees in Mylapore. Lot of sweets, savories, juices and buttermilk are served to the pilgrims. At each stage of the festival an Aarti is performed