Near the San Thome Cathedral
in the Tamil Nadu capital of Chennai sits the Kapaleeshwarar Temple. The most impressive temple in the city by far, Kapaleeshwarar honors the god Shiva with shrines dedicated to many other deities in the South Indian pantheon.
The working temple offers a good example of classical Dravidian architecture, with a stepped pyramid design blanketed in colorful statues of gods, demons, warriors and royalty. The detailing makes the temple exterior busy to the point where you don't quite know where to rest your eyes, but the structure is quite photogenic.
You're likely to see many more devotees than tourists at the temple, so you'll get a realistic insight into what modern temple worship looks like, particularly during the weekly Friday worship services. To avoid the crowds, show up at 6am when the temple first opens. If you want to see the temple at its most festive, plan your trip to coincide with the Arupathumoovar Festival in early March.