Mylapore, one of the oldest areas of Chennai, has many temples for Siva and Vishnu. However, few people know of an ancient temple for Goddess Kolavizhi Amman here. The main entrance to the temple, with a modern archway, faces north leading to a spacious circumambulatory space (prakaram) with a large mandapam, through which devotees reach the main shrine. In this prakaram, near the mandapam, are the trishulam (trident), the bali-pitham and a small four-pillared mandapam for the lion (simha), the vehicle (vahana) of the goddess Kolavizhi Amman.
The main shrine enshrines a large stucco image (sudhai in Tamil) of eight-armed Bhadrakali holding the head of a demon, kettle-drum (damaru), knife (asi), trident (trishula), shield (charma), elephant -goad (ankusha), a bell (ghanta) and a skull-bowl (kapala). She is seated on a pedestal (pitha) with one leg on it and the other placed in front on a demon. In front of Bhadrakali is a stone image of Kolavizhi Amman.
According to the tradition of this temple, Goddess Bhadrakali was once a fierce deity and Adi Sankara, the famous Advaita preceptor, suppressed his ferocity by enshrining an image of Kolavizhi Amman here. Since Bhadrakali is a stucco deity, the abhisekam is not performed; instead, an anointing with oil (tailakapu) is done. Kolavizhi Amman has four hands and holds the damaru, noose (pacha), trishula and kapala. It is for Kolavizhi Amman that the abhisekam is made. The processional images of Kolavizhi Amman, Kali and Siva-Parvati are worshiped immediately ahead.
Many festivals are celebrated there. There is a close association between this temple and the well-known Kapaleeshwarar (Siva) temple at Mylapore. In the Tamil month of Panguni, the Grama Devata Thiruvizha (festival for village goddess Kolavizhi Amman) takes place and thereafter the famous Brahmotsavam (annual festival) of Kapaleeshwarar temple in Mylapore begins.
During this Brahmotsavam, it is Kolavizhi Amman who proceeds first, then only Vinayaka (who leads most of the other festivals), comes out in procession. During the full moon Poo-Chorial festival (pournami), the karagam goes from Kapaleeshwarar temple to Kolavizhi Amman temple with devotees bringing pots of milk.
The sacred trees of this temple are intertwined pipal and neem.