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Chennai Temples

Temples, Churches. And other Shrines

Parthasarathy Temple located in Triplicane was built by the Pallava Kings in the 8th century.

It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple was renovated in the 16th century by the Vijayanagar Kings. One of the oldest standing temples ,it shows five incarnations of Lord Vishnu and the inscriptions on the outer wall tell the legend of Parthasarathy, a royal charioteer in Tamil and Telugu.

Kapalaeswara Temple in Mylapore, was built in the Dravidian style  in the 16th century, and renovated by the Vijayanagar Kings and is dedicated to Lord Shiva.The intricate designs and carvings on its gopurams depict old legends. It has some beautiful sculptures among which the bronze idols of 63 Saivite Saints or the Nayanmars, which adorn the outer courtyard are very rare indeed. There is also a small shrine depicting Parvati in the form of a peacock worshipping Shiva .It is from this legend that Mylapore got its name. Mayil means peacock in Tamil and Oor means town. The annual ten day festival in March-April, the Arpathummovar festival is the most important one. The 63 bronzes are taken out on a colorful procession on the eight day of the festival.

Santhome Church, built by the Portugese, is the oldest Roman Catholic Church in India. It is near the sea at Mylapore. Built over the tomb .of the apostle St Thomas, the Santhome Church is an important pilgrimage center. The original building has been destroyed and it has been rebuilt many times. According to legends, St Thomas arrived in India from Palestine in 52 AD and died after 26 years. The church was rebuilt after a millennium and his remains moved inside. The church was rebuilt in 1606 and made into a cathedral.  Again in 1605 it was rebuilt as a Basilica. Pope John Paul 11 visited it in.1986. There is a museum in the church with a 16th century map of South Asia.

The Velankanni Church at Besant Nagar is also another important pilgrimage center. This church is similar to the one at Velankanni at Tanjore District in South Tamil Nadu. Velankanni is the Madonna of Good Health and big crowds visit the temple every day. The ten day festival in August is the most important one. 

St Andrew´s Church near the Egmore Railway station was constructed in 1821. It has an impressive shallow domed ceiling decorated with gold stars. 

St George´s Cathedral on Cathedral Road, built in 1816 is another beautiful church. 

The circular Thousand Lights Mosque on Anna Salai was originally built in 1800 Walajah Nawab. It was redesigned as a new five domed mosque with walls bearing sayings from the Koran. 

The beautiful Armenian Church of Holy Virgin Mary built in 1772 is situated in Parry´s Corner. To the North is the Roman Catholic Cathedral St Mary´s of the angels constructed in 1675. The Parry´s Corner takes its name from a company founded in 1790 by Thomas Parry.

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