Around 400 years ago, the part which is today called West Mambalam was a small hamlet with big and enormous vilwa trees. The place had been called Mahabilam. They say that the name became Mambalam in course of time. When a swayambhu lingam appeared in Mahabilam, people built a temple for it. Researchers say that the temple might have been built by a Nayakka king of Vijayanagar Empire. The God appeared in the dream of a Nayakka king after he worshipped Him in Kasi and told him to build a temple for Him. Accordingly, Kasi Viswanatha temple was built in Tenkasi. The sthala purana says that the temple at Mambalam in Chennai was also built during this same period by the Nayakka king. Usually, at the temples built during the Nayakka regimes, an emblem of fish will be seen. At the granite roof of this temple also, figures of fishes are seen. Researchers say that this is a proof for the claim that the temple was built by a Nayakka king. Devotees feel proud to think that they live in a place that has a temple with an antiquity of more than 400 years.
It was decided to renovate the temple as some parts of the temple were remaining in a dilapidated condition. The renovation work was started in the year 2003 and Kumbabhishek was done recently on a grand scale. First, when we enter the temple through its east entrance, the seven-level Rajagopuram welcomes us. Next to it, we see dwajasthambha, altar and Nandi. There are no words to describe the beauty of the roof containing artistic figures and beautiful paintings. The pillars reflect the traditional architectural beauty.
In the sanctum, Kasi Viswanatha, facing the east, blesses His devotees. He is a lingam, installed on a high peedam. The small Nandi in front of the sanctum holds our attention with its beauty. After praying to the Lord, when we move rightward, we see the sannidhi of Lord Vinayaka. Then, weâ€™ve the darshan of Lord Muruga along with His consorts Valli and Devyani. Next is situated the sannidhi of Annai Visalakshi. We feel ecstatic seeing the beautiful Visalashi thaayar in a beautifully built sannidhi.
The prahara is spacious so that devotees can have darshan of deities without difficulty. There are Vasantha mandap and Navagraha mandap too. The construction work is not yet complete. On the surrounding wall of the temple, beautiful figures of Nandi have been made in a row. .
Pradosham is celebrated here every month on a very grand scale. Also, Sivarathri and Arudra vizha are being celebrated with grandeur.
Those, who are unable to go to Kasi for darshan of God can visit this temple and pray to the deity and be blessed by the Lord with all prosperity.