The temple is very old and is built in Dravidian style. Chola period carvings are found in the pillars and so it is believed that this temple was built during the reign of Kopperunsingam.
Thillai Kali Amman temple is in Chidambaram and is 1.2 km away from Chennai.
The legend has it that, there was a big argument between Lord Siva and Parvathi, that who is the great dancer. So they both started a dance duet in front of Lord Vishnu, Lord Brahma and other devas. Both of them were profound dancers, so no one could judge the winner, at the end of the competition, Lord Shiva performed a Oortha thandavam ( raising his leg above his head), this posture is done only by men. Shakti got defeated by Lord Shiva, but couldn’t accept her defeat so, She transformed to Kali and turned to be very furious. Seeing this Lord Brahma pacified Her by giving four heads, each head depicts each Veda. And thus Thillai Kalli got her four heads.
Yet another legend is that, Lord Shiva and Parvathi had a dance competition and Lord Shiva won it. In order to teach Parvathi a lesson He cursed her to change to Ugrakali. Realizing her haughtiness and prejudice she repents to Lord Shiva. Later Lord Shiva consoles her saying that, She will take the form as Ugrakali and will destroy the demons in the earth, later She has to do penance to Shiva and He will perform Anandha Dhandavam (Dance of Ecstasy) and will take Her back as Sivakami. Thus Thillai Kali is also known as Ugra Kali or Mahishasura Marthini.
This is the only temple in Tamilnadu where Lord Dhakshina Moorthi is found in Women form in the name of Kadambavana Dhakshina Rupini. On all Thursdays, devotees want to shine in their studies visit Shri Dhakshina Rupini and light lamps. Devotees with problems in marriage, family life and loss in business come to this temple and light ghee lamp, they also do anointment to Goddess Thilla Kali. Every day Pooja is done for four times to Goddess Thillai Kali with flowers, rosewater, sandal paste and honey.
This temple is located at a distance of 1.2 km from Chennai. Buses are available from Chennai main bus stand.
Nearest railway station is in Chennai.