Kapaleeshwarar Temple is of typical Dravidian architectural style, with the Gopuram overpowering the street on which the temple sits. This temple is also a testimonial for the vishwakarmas Sthapati. There are two entrances to the temple marked by the Gopuram on either side. The east Gopuram is about 40 m high, while the smaller western Gopuram faces the sacred tank.
Mother Uma wanted to know the full meaning of the five lettered Mantra – Na Ma Shi Va Ya – and the glory of the sacred ash. She begged Lord Shiva to teach Her on these topics. While Lord was teaching Her, Mother Uma was attracted by the beauty of a peacock dancing before Her. Lord, for Her inattention, cursed Her to become a peacock. For relief from the curse, He advised Her to go to Earth and perform penance on Him. Mother Uma worshipped the Shivalinga under the Punnai tree in this place. Moved by Her penance, Lord appeared before Her and and confirmed Her release from the curse and named Her Karpagavalli. As requested by Mother Karpagavalli, Lord approved the name of the place Mayilai-now Mylapore.