Chennai (formerly Madras) is the capital of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. With a population of 8.6 million (2011 census), Chennai's urbanised area is the most populous in southern India and the fourth most populous in India. It is on the east coast of peninsular India.
Though Chennai traces its history to Fort St George and adjoining village of Madrasapatnam founded by the British East India Company in 1640, some residential districts of the city are older. The name Madras was changed to Chennai in 1997 by a special act of the Tamil Nadu legislature.
Whether you’re seeking for spiritual bliss, party frenzy atmosphere or mind boggling fun activities Chennai has so much in store for the tourists that it offers something for everyone. You can marvel at the beautiful expanse of the world famous Marina Beach or you can engage into the trekking activities that are organized close to the waterfalls.
One of the imposing religious sites of the city chennai is the famed Kapaleeswarar Temple that is majestically set in the Mylapore region of Chennai. This cultural marvel attracts a huge crowd who throng in to witness its astounding spring festival.
Legends state that the place got its name from the fact that Goddess Uma worshipped Lord Shiva in the form of a peacock which is known as Mayil in Tamil. Goddess Uma was being taught the meaning of five lettered Mantra Na Ma Shi Va Ya and the glory of the sacred ash by Lord Shiva, during which she got distracted with the appearance of a peacock. She was then cursed to become a peacock by him. As such to get relieved from the curse she then came to this place and offered her prayers to him. After she regained her original form she was named as Karpagavalli by Lord Shiva. It is at this holy place that Goddess Parvati gave Lord Muruga the spear or Sakthi Vel to kill a demon.
Parthasarathy temple is one of the precious charms of Chennai dedicated to Lord Parathasarthy, a manifestation of Lord Vishnu. This enchanting religious site is one of the 108 Divyadesams. Divyadesams are the sacred shrines dedicated to Lord Vishnu which have been mentioned in the Divya Prabandha, the rich literature works by Tamil saints or the Alvars. An exceptional significance lies in the fact that the temple houses Lord Vishnu in the form of Parathasarthy. The word Partha in Sanskrit means Arjuna and the word Sarathy means Charioteer. Lord Krishna was the charioteer of Arjuna in Kurukshetra war of Mahabharata.
The Sri Ashtalakshmi Temple in Sugar Land, Houston is a Hindu religious establishment which focuses on spreading the knowledge of the Vedas, and worships Lord Lakshmi Narayana, along with eight forms of Maha Lakshmi, who happen to be Maha Lakshmi, Dhanya Lakshmi, Dhairya Lakshmi, Rajya Lakshmi, Santhana Lakshmi, Jaya Lakshmi, Veera Lakshmi and Dhana Lakshmi.
According to ancient Vedas, when the ocean was swirled during Samudra Manthan by the Devas and Asuras, Goddess Lakshmi who endows wealth and prosperity to her devotees surfaced. It is believed that Mahavishnu, who married Goddess Lakshmi, also married the eight forms of Goddess Lakshmi and they together dwell inside the temple. Hence the name Ashtalakshmi (eight forms of Lakshmi)
Vadalapalani andavar temple
Lord Muruga graces with His Padukas-chappals. As Lord Muruga is the deity for planet Mars, there is a special shrine for the planet in the temple. There is a golden car (rath) for the temple. Built around 1890 in Vadapalani, the temple was just a thatched shed initially, which was renovated in the 1920s. As per folklore, Muruga’s devotee Annaswami Nayakar had the shed constructed for himself to worship the lord. It is said that during this time, he experienced celestial powers that made him make predictions that later turned out to be true. Whatever he uttered was referred to as 'arulvakku', meaning 'god blessed statements' that relieved people in many ways like solemnising marriages, curing illness and providing jobs, among others.
The Navagrahas are considered to be intermediaries between the principal deity in the temple, almost always Shiva and the worshipper. They each are in charge of specific areas of concern to the devotee, be it health, wealth,pursuit of knowledge, professional gain or just about anything else. The belief is that worshipping the specific graha for the specific need gets the devotee the boon he craves.
Legend has it that when Sage Kalava was suffering from serious ailments along with leprosy, he prayed to the nine planet deities, Navagrahas for a cure. Being pleased by his devotion, the planet deities offered him cure. However, Lord Brahma (the Hindu god of creation) who was extremely angered with this as he felt that the planets have no powers to provide boons to humans, cursed the nine planets with leprosy and were banished to earth in a place called Vellurukku Vanam, the white wildflower jungle, the modern Suryanar Kovil in Kumbakonam, Tamilnadu. The planets prayed to Lord Shiva to relieve them from Brahma’s curse. Lord Shiva who was impressed by their prayer appeared in front of them and assured that the place Vellurukku Vanam belonged to them and tasked them to grace the devotees worshipping them from the place.