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MRTS station, Mylapore
MRTS station, Mylapore
Mylapore is located in Chennai
Country India
State Tamil Nadu
District Chennai District
Metro Chennai
Ward 147
Talukas Mylapore
 • Body CMDA
 • Official Tamil
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 600 004
Vehicle registration TN-06
Lok Sabha constituency South Chennai
Vidhan Sabha constituency Mylapore[1][2]
Planning agency CMDA

Mylapore (Mayilāppūr) is a cultural hub and neighborhood in the southern part of the city of Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, India. It is one of the oldest residential parts of the city. It is also called Thirumayilai.

Mylapore is known for its tree-lined avenues, Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Katcheri seasons and Ramakrishna Math among many others. [3] Portuguese invaded and demolished the original Kapaleeshwarar Temple and built San Thome Basilica which houses the tomb of Thomas the Apostle.[4][5][6][7]


  • Etymology 1
  • History 2
  • Location 3
  • Demographics 4
  • Notable personalities 5
  • Important places 6
    • Religious places 6.1
      • Kapaleeswarar Temple 6.1.1
      • Ramakrishna Math 6.1.2
      • Adi Kesava Perumal Temple 6.1.3
      • Sri Vedantha Desikar Devasthanam/Sri Srinivasar Koil 6.1.4
      • San Thome Basilica 6.1.5
      • Luz Church 6.1.6
      • Other places 6.1.7
  • Culture 7
  • Food 8
  • Politics 9
  • Education 10
  • Transportation 11
    • Tram 11.1
    • Road 11.2
    • Rail 11.3
  • See also 12
  • References 13
  • External links 14


The word Mylapore is derived from Mayil arparikum oor, which means "Land of the peacock scream".[8] Historically, peacocks have been known to thrive in the area, which is evident from the several statues in the Kapaleeshwarar Temple towers and in the emblem of the San Thome Basilica. Thirugnanasambandar has also mentioned about mayil (peacock) in his songs in Tevaram. Mylapore is also known as Thirumayilai. Thiru means 'holy' or 'sacred' and is traditionally used in front of names in all parts of Tamil Nadu like Thiruneermalai (Lord Ranganatha), Thirunageswaram (Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva), Thirumayam (Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva), Thirumayilai (Lord Adikeshava Perumal and Lord Kapali Eshwaran), Tiruvanamalai (Lord Shiva), Thiruchendur (Lord Muruga), Tiruchirappalli (Lord Sriranganathar), Thiruttani (Lord Muruga), Tiruchengode (Lord Shiva), Thiruchitrambalam (Lord Shiva), Thirumanancheri (Lord Shiva), Thirunallar (Lord Shani Eshwaran), Thiruporur(Lord Muruga), Thirukkadaiyur (Lord Shiva), Tirukalukundram(Lord Vedagiriswarar temple), Thirukarugavur (Lord Garbharakshambigai temple), Tirunelveli, Tiruppur, Tiruvallur and many more.


Mylapore predates British rule by several centuries. It was historically known as Vedapuri. As the available historical and archaeological evidence show, it could well be the oldest part of Chennai, with written records of early settlements going back to the first century BC. It was known for its ancient port with a flourishing trade with the Roman Empire, receiving gold in exchange for its products like pepper and fine cloth. St. Thomas the Apostle attained martyrdom at Mylapore in 72 CE.[4][5][7][6] Ptolemy had recorded in the 2nd century AD that the port of Mylapore was known to the Greeks and the Romans. The Saivite Saints of the 7th Century, Saint Sambandar and Saint Appar, have sung about the Shrine in their hymns. Mention has been made of the early settlement of Santhome(currently known) by Arab travelers and merchants of the 9th and 10th centuries AD. Marco Polo visited the place in the late 13th century and left a detailed description of the land, the people along with their customs and religion.[9]

It was considerable maritime time and the ancient German and Greek maps refers to the town as Maliarpha. The later Scottish researchers like James Playfair referred it "Meliapour"[10] Mylapore was occupied by the Portuguese in 1523, who established the viceroyalty of "São Tomé de Meliapor" or "Saint Thomas of Mylapore." Portuguese rule lasted until 1749, except for a brief interregnum between 1662 and 1687, when the town was occupied by the French.

After 1749, the town fell into the hands of the British East India Company, who took possession of the settlement in the name of Muhammad Ali Khan Wallajah, the Nawab of Arcot.[11] In that same year, Mylapore was incorporated into the administration of the Presidency of Madras. The settlement known as "Luz" developed during this period. The name finds its origins from the 'Nossa Senhora Da Luz' (Our Lady of Light) church built by the Portuguese in 1516 AD. This church is one of the oldest standing Christian structures in all of Tamil Nadu.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the town became the commercial and intellectual hub of Madras city and home to British-educated lawyers and statesmen.[12][13][14] Some of the luminaries based in Mylapore included Sir V. Bhashyam Aiyangar, Sir S. Subramania Iyer, Sir T. Madhava Rao, Eardley Norton, Sir P. S. Sivaswami Iyer, Pennathur Subramania Iyer, V. Krishnaswamy Iyer, Sir C. P. Ramaswami Iyer, H Bhimasena Rau, C S Rama Rao Sahib, Subanthore Vasudeva Rao, CR Krishnaswamy Rao Sahib and the civil engineer C R Narayana Rao.


Mylapore is located a few kilometres to the south of the British-built Chennai city. It lies between Triplicane and Teynampet in the west then across to the coast in the east. It is bounded by Royapettah to the north. Its southern frontier corresponds roughly with that of the River Adyar. It extends for around 4 km from north to south and 2 km from east to west.


The population of Mylapore is estimated to be around 150,000 to 300,000.[15] It has long been a site of cultural importance for Brahmins, which can be attributed to Mylapore's early role as a temple center. Smartha Brahmins, a subsect, were one of the first people to settle in this township.[16] More accurate statistics are not available as Mylapore is not a separate township by itself, but a part of Chennai city. The different neighborhoods within Mylapore have been distributed among the different wards of the Chennai Corporation.

Notable personalities

Important places

Kapaleeswarar Temple
San Thome Basilica
Entrance of the Universal Temple
Temple Tank in Mylapore
A temple for Thiruvalluvar in Mylapore

Religious places

Mylapore is known for its cultural and religious heritage. Mylapore is home to hundreds of temples, churches and mosques.

Kapaleeswarar Temple

Kapaleeswarar Temple is one of the most famous temples of Chennai. The original temple was built by Tuluva dynasty in (1491–1570 CE). After destruction of the temple by the Portuguese, the temple was reconstructed in the 16th century. The main deity of the temple is Lord Shiva. The temple exhibits exquisite Dravidian architecture. The huge temple is surrounded by traditional crowded street markets of Chennai selling fruits, flowers, vegetables and traditional brass ware.

Ramakrishna Math

Sri Ramakrishna Mutt, is the oldest center of the Ramakrishna Order in the South India. Sri Ramakrishna is the main deity of the temple. Architecture of the temple is a blend of Hindu, Islamic, Buddhist, Rajput, and Christian styles. The sprawling campus contains several huge quiet halls for dhyana, Sanskrit word for meditation. The book store on the campus sells books on Indian epics - Ramayana and Mahabharatha, talks, travels and works of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Swami Vivekananda, as well as the philosophy of Vedanta along with monthly magazines. The monks conduct lectures and interviews in English on Sunday evenings from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM.[19]

Adi Kesava Perumal Temple

Mylapore is known for the AdiKesava Perumal Temple constructed in honor of Keshava or Lord Vishnu, a principal God in the Hindu pantheon and the "Savior" in the Hindu trinity. The temple has an idol of Lord Vishnu accompanied by his celestial consort Goddess Lakshmi. This is the birthplace of Peyazhawar. It has sannathis for the thayar Mayuravalli, Chakkarathazhvar, Sri Andal, Sri Rama & Anjaneya. It is the avathara sthalam (birthplace) of peyazhvar and has a separate sannithi for the azhvar. During the brahmotsavam the utsavar goes in a procession accompanied by Sridevi & Bhudevi in the mada streets and also gives us the chance to see the theppam festival in the centuries old kulam(tank). Every year the Parthasarathy perumal comes to the Kesava perumal temple and Kesava perumal too goes to Triplicane along with Peyazhvar.[20]

Sri Vedantha Desikar Devasthanam/Sri Srinivasar Koil

Mylapore has the Srinivasar temple near Chitra Kulam in Mylapore, which is administered by the Vedantha Desikar Devasthanam (SVDD)]. It is located beside the Adi Kesava Perumal Temple, which has an imposing gopuram that can be seen from quite a distance.

San Thome Basilica

San Thome Basilica, built over the tomb of Thomas the Apostle, is a Roman Catholic minor basilica at Santhome in the city of Chennai. Thomas is traditionally believed to have sailed to Muziris in modern day Kerala India in AD 52.[7][21] The Saint Thomas Christians or Nasrani Christians of Kerala are believed to have been converted by St Thomas. Tradition has it that Thomas was killed in 72 CE at Mylapore and his body was interred here. His relics were moved to Edessa in the third century. San Thome Basilica was built over his original tomb in the 16th century by Portuguese explorers and rebuilt with the status of a cathedral by the British in 1893 which still stands.[5] San Thome Basilica is the principal church of the Madras-Mylapore Roman Catholic Archdiocese. In 1956, Pope Pius XII raised the church to the status of a Minor Basilica, and on February 11, 2006, it was declared a national shrine by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India. It is an important pilgrimage center for the Syrian Christians of Kerala. The church also has an attached museum.[22]

Luz Church

Church of Our Lady of Light is a Roman Catholic shrine in Chennai, India. It is commonly called as Luz Church by the locals, which derives from the Portuguese name Nossa Senhora da Luz. Built in 1516 by the Portuguese, it is one of the oldest Churches in the city and its foundation stone marks as one of the oldest European monuments in India. The history of the church dates back to the 16th-century legend of safe arrival to land by missionaries. The church is located very near to the Santhome Basilica, where Apostle Thomas is believed to be buried.

Although at the time the church was built, the locality was a thick forest, now it is part of a bustling metropolitan area. This 16th century European architecture building consists of patterns of Gothic arches and Baroque ornamentation. The feast of Our Lady of Light is celebrated on 15 August every year.

Other places


Convention of the Mylai Tamizh Sangam, early 1900s
Mylapore Fine Arts Club

Mylapore is regarded by many as the cultural hub of the city. Mylapore is the home of music sabhas (cultural organizations) and musicians. December is often set aside as the Carnatic Music vocalists and artists during this period. The Parthasarathy Swami Sabha in Mylapore is the oldest Sabha (Assembly) in Tamil Nadu. The Madras Music Academy in the north of the district is an important nucleus of art events in the city. Bharatiya Vidhya Bhavan Auditorium conducts cultural events. The Mylapore Fine Arts located near Nageshwara Rao Park is another Sabha.

Nageshwara Rao Garden is known for its play area, shrubs and cultural events.

The Mylapore Times, a weekly neighbourhood newspaper, covers issues relating to the neighbourhood of Mylapore.


Mylapore is also known for its mouth watering South-Indian food. There are many famous eateries in Mylapore that are thronged by people.

Rayars Mess, Sri Karpagambal Kabali Sweet Stall (for its pakodas), Kalathy News Mart (Rose Milk), Mami Tiffen Shop (kozhukattais). [23]


The Mylapore assembly constituency is part of Chennai South (Lok Sabha constituency).[24]


Mylapore contains many educational institutions, including Vivekananda College, Lady Sivaswamy Ayyar Girls Hr.Sec.School St., Sir Sivaswami Kalalaya Senior Sec School, Sir Sivaswami Kalalaya Higher Sec School, Raphael's Girls Hr.Sec.School, Rosary matriculation Higher secondary school, St Bede's Anglo Indian Higher secondary school, Santhome Higher Sec. School, Montfort Academy, MCTM Chidambaram Chettyar International IB School, Justice Basheer Ahmed Sayeed(J.B.A.S) Memorial Matric Hr. Sec.Boys School, Dominic Savio School, St. John's Schools, P. S. Senior Secondary School, Vidya Mandir Secondary School, P.S Higher Secondary School, with the latter being over a hundred years old. India's first digital media college— the Image College of Arts, Animation, and Technology is also based in Mylapore.



There used to be a tram line running through Kutchery Road from Santhome via Luz, Mylapore.


Mylapore is connected to other parts of the city by MTC buses, with connections including Chennai Central, T. Nagar, Tambaram, Broadway.

List of MTC bus routes covers through in and out of Mylapore

Route Number Start End Via
1 Thiruvottriyur Thiruvanmiyur Broadway, Central, Royapettah, Mylapore, Mandaveli, Adyar
1A Thiruvottriyur Thiruvanmiyur Broadway, Central, Royapettah, Mylapore, Mandaveli, Adyar
1C Ennore Thiruvanmiyur Thiruvottriyur, Broadway, Central, Royapettah, Mylapore, Mandaveli, Adyar
1D Ennore Thiruvanmiyur Broadway, Central, Royapettah, Mylapore, Mandaveli, Adyar
5B T.Nagar Mylapore Mandaveli, Adyar, Saidapet
12B Foreshore Estate Vadapalani Santhome, Kutchery Road, Luz, Alwarpet, Pondy Bazar, Kodambakkam
12C Saligramam Mylapore Vadapalani, Rangarajapuram, Panagal park, Adyar Gate, Mandaveli
M15 Medavakkam Mylapore Mandaveli, Adyar, SRP tools, Velachery, Pallikaranai
M15xt East Tambaram Mylapore Mandaveli, Adyar, SRP tools, Velachery, Pallikaranai, Medavakkam, Camp road
21 Mandaveli Broadway Mylapore, Royapettah, Central RS
21B Adyar Parrys Andhra Mahila Sabha, Music College, Foreshore Estate, Santhome, Chepauk, Madras University, Secretariat, RBI
21C Kannaki nagar Central (RS) Royapettah, Mylapore, Mandaveli, Adyar, SRP tools,
21G Broadway Tambaram Chepauk,Mylapore,Mandaveli,Kotturpuram,Gandhi Mandapam,Guindy,Kathipara,Meenambakkam,Pallavaram,Tambaram
29C Besant Nagar Perambur Adyar, Mandaveli, Mylapore, Stella Mary's College, Nungambakkam, Chetput
45G Guindy Anna Square SaidapetWest, Mettupalayam, Srinivasa Theater, CIT nagar, Adyar Gate, Mandaveli, Mylapore,


Thirumyilai Railway Station, on the Mass Rapid Transit System network, connects Mylapore to Chennai Beach to the north and Velachery on the south.

See also


  1. ^ Partywise Comparison Since in Assembly Elections since 1977
  2. ^ Profile of candidates who contested 2006 Assembly Elections from Mylapore constituency
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c
  5. ^ a b c Neill, Stephen (2004). A History of Christianity in India: The Beginnings to AD 1707. Cambridge University Press. p. 29. 
  6. ^ a b Farmer, David (2011). The Oxford Dictionary of Saints, Fifth Edition Revised. Oxford University Press. p. 418.  
  7. ^ a b c d The Encyclopedia of Christianity, Volume 5 by Erwin Fahlbusch. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing - 2008. p. 285. ISBN 978-0-8028-2417-2.
  8. ^ Saints, Goddesses and Kings By Susan Bayly
  9. ^ The Travels of Marco Polo by Henry Yule, Vol 2, Book 3, Chapters XVII and XVIII, Project Gutenberg
  10. ^ [2]
  11. ^ A brief history of Chennai, From the official website of the Corporation of Chennai
  12. ^ PALATHOPE -- A Lawyer's Enclave Part I by Ashwin Prabhu, Mylapore Social History Project
  13. ^ PALATHOPE -- A Lawyer's Enclave Part II by Ashwin Prabhu, Mylapore Social History Project
  14. ^ Madras Rediscovered by S.Muthiah
  15. ^ Voter population of Mylapore Legislative Assembly constituency
  16. ^ Womanhood in the Making By Mary Elizabeth Hancock, Mary Hancock
  17. ^ Ayyar, P. V. Jagadisa (1991). South Indian shrines: illustrated. New Delhi: Asian Educational Services. p. 539.  
  18. ^ "St Thomas Christians" Catholic Encyclopedia ( . nd. web. accessed FEB 19, 2010.
  19. ^
  20. ^ M., Rajagopalan (1993). 15 Vaishnava Temples of Tamil Nadu. Chennai, India: Govindaswamy Printers. pp. 25–34. 
  21. ^ The Jews of India: A Story of Three Communities by Orpa Slapak. The Israel Museum, Jerusalem. 2003. p. 27. ISBN 965-278-179-7.
  22. ^ "Basilica of the National Shrine of St. Thomas". Retrieved 20 February 2010. 
  23. ^ 
  24. ^ "List of Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies" (PDF). Tamil Nadu. Election Commission of India. Retrieved 2008-10-08. 

External links

  • Mylapore page on Metblogs
  • Mylapore page on Rediff
  • Website of Kapaleeswarar Temple
  • Website of Srinivasar Koil
  • Official website of the Madras Musical Academy
  • Official Website of Ramakrishna Mutt, Chennai
  • Official blog of the Member of Legislative Assembly(MLA) from Mylapore
  • Website of Santhome church Mylapore
  • Website of Santhome Cathedral Mylapore
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