The heart of cultural life in Chennai, Mylapore is a charming neighborhood characterized by broad, tree-lined streets coupled with narrow roads and myriad temples, churches, and restaurants. Its star attraction is the Kapaleeshwarar Temple, though it's also home to the San Thome Basilica, which houses the tomb of Thomas the Apostle.
Most tourists visiting Chennai find themselves in Mylapore at some point, whether it’s to visit the Kapaleeshwarar Temple, San Thome Basilica, or Ramakrishna Math. Many walking tours of the city include this pedestrian-friendly neighborhood, and it's a great area for strolling when the weather permits. It's also a popular place to check out Carnatic music, as there are regular performances at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Auditorium and the Nageshwara Rao Garden.
Things to Know Before You Go
- This area is a must-visit for travelers with an interest in history and/or the fine arts.
- Mylapore is best explored on foot, so wear comfortable shoes and sunscreen.
- If you plan on entering churches or temples, dress modestly, with clothing that covers your shoulders and knees
How to Get There
Mylapore is bordered by Gandhi Beach to the east and Mowbrays Road to the west. The neighborhood is well-connected to the rest of Chennai by road and public transportation. Commuter trains run through the area, and the Mundakakanniamman Koil, Thirumayilai, and Light House train stations all serve the area.
When to Get There
Mylapore is a year-round destination, though exploring the area on foot may prove challenging during the extreme temperatures of April and May or the monsoon season of June through September. To avoid the heat, it's best to visit just after dark; this is also the time when the temples are at their liveliest.
The Peacocks of Mylapore
Mylapore has long been associated with peacocks, India's national bird. The area has been frequented by the birds for centuries, and images of peacocks can be found in statues at Kapaleeshwarar Temple; the peacocks represent Shiva's consort, Parvati, who was cursed to be incarnated as a peacock as punishment for being distracted by one of the birds while listening to spiritual discourse.