Navarathri at Kapaleeswarar Temple, Mylapore, Chennai: A Grand Celebration of Devotion, Music, Dance & Golu Dolls

Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage


Navarathri, a festival celebrating the divine feminine power, is observed with immense devotion and enthusiasm across India. Among the myriad celebrations, the Navarathri festivities at the Kapaleeswarar Temple in Mylapore, Chennai, stand out for their grandeur and cultural richness. This ancient temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva in his form as Kapaleeswarar and his consort Karpagambal, becomes a vibrant hub of spiritual and artistic activities during these nine nights.

The Significance of Navarathri

Navarathri, which means “nine nights” in Sanskrit, is dedicated to the worship of Goddess Durga and her various forms. Each night is devoted to different aspects of the goddess, symbolizing the victory of good over evil. This festival is a time for spiritual rejuvenation, self-reflection, and community celebration.

The Kapaleeswarar Temple: A Historical and Cultural Icon

The Kapaleeswarar Temple, with its towering gopurams (gateway towers) and intricate carvings, is one of Chennai’s most iconic landmarks. Located in the bustling neighborhood of Mylapore, the temple has a rich history dating back to the 7th century AD. It is not just a place of worship but a cultural center that has been a patron of classical music and dance for centuries.

Navarathri Celebrations at Kapaleeswarar Temple

The Navarathri celebrations at the Kapaleeswarar Temple are a blend of devotional fervor, artistic performances, and community participation. Here’s a detailed look at how the festival unfolds:

Day 1-3: Welcoming the Goddess

The festival begins with the Kalasa Sthapana, a ritual to invoke the presence of the goddess in a sacred pot. The temple is beautifully decorated with flowers, lights, and kolams (intricate rice flour patterns). Devotees flock to the temple to offer their prayers and seek blessings.

Day 4-6: Music and Dance Performances

One of the highlights of Navarathri at the Kapaleeswarar Temple is the series of music and dance performances that take place in the evenings. Renowned classical musicians and dancers from across the country perform here, offering their art to the divine. These performances are free to attend and attract a large audience, including many tourists. The temple’s serene ambiance, combined with the soulful renditions of Carnatic music and Bharatanatyam dance, creates a mesmerizing experience.

Day 7-8: Elaborate Pujas and Homams

As the festival progresses, the rituals become more elaborate. Special pujas and homams (fire rituals) are conducted to honor the goddess. The priests chant Vedic hymns, and the air is filled with the fragrance of incense and flowers. Devotees participate in these rituals with great devotion, seeking the goddess’s blessings for prosperity, health, and happiness.

Day 9: Saraswathi Pooja and Ayudha Pooja

The ninth day of Navarathri is dedicated to Saraswathi, the goddess of knowledge and arts. Books and musical instruments are placed before the goddess for blessings. The Ayudha Pooja, a ritual to worship tools and instruments, is also performed on this day, emphasizing the divinity in every aspect of life and work.

The Grand Finale: Vijayadashami

The tenth day, known as Vijayadashami, marks the triumph of good over evil. It is considered an auspicious day to start new ventures and educational pursuits. At the Kapaleeswarar Temple, the celebrations culminate with a grand procession of the deities around the temple streets, accompanied by music, dance, and joyous devotees.

Navarathri Golu: A Tradition of Displaying Divine Beauty

One of the most enchanting aspects of Navarathri at the Kapaleeswarar Temple is the tradition of Golu. Golu, also known as Kolu, involves the artistic arrangement of dolls and figurines on a series of stepped platforms. These beautiful Golu dolls, made from clay, wood, and other materials, depict gods, goddesses, mythical characters, and scenes from daily life. This tradition has been passed down through generations, with each family adding their unique touch to the display.

The Golu at Kapaleeswarar Temple is a sight to behold, showcasing intricate craftsmanship and creativity. Each doll tells a story, and the entire arrangement reflects the rich cultural heritage and devotion of the community. Visitors can marvel at the stunning displays, participate in the Golu celebrations, and experience a sense of nostalgia and reverence for this age-old tradition.

Community Involvement and Global Participation

Navarathri at the Kapaleeswarar Temple is not just a local festival; it is an event that brings together people from various parts of the world. The temple’s management ensures that the festivities are well-organized, and volunteers play a significant role in managing the large crowds and maintaining the temple’s decorum. The festival also offers a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of Tamil Nadu, attracting tourists and cultural enthusiasts from across the globe.


Navarathri at the Kapaleeswarar Temple in Mylapore is a celebration of devotion, art, and community. It is an opportunity to experience the spiritual and cultural vibrancy of Chennai. Whether you are a devotee, an art lover, or a curious traveler, participating in this grand festival will leave you with memories that last a lifetime. The blend of rituals, music, and dance performances creates an atmosphere of divine bliss, making Navarathri at Kapaleeswarar Temple a truly unique and enriching experience.

Join us this Navarathri and be a part of the divine celebrations at Kapaleeswarar Temple, Mylapore. Experience the magic of devotion and the grandeur of Chennai’s cultural heritage.

Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage

By Mala Chandrashekhar

Introducing Blogger Mala Chandrashekhar - A specialist academically trained in modern Western sciences, yet deeply enamored with India's timeless ethnic arts, crafts, and textiles. Her heart beats for the rich and glorious cultural and spiritual heritage of India, and she has dedicated her entire blog to spreading the immortal glories of ancient India worldwide. Through her simple yet impactful blog posts, Mala aims to reach every nook and corner of the globe, sharing India's beauty and wisdom with the world.

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