Ashtalakshmi Temple is the one of the oldest ancient temple in Chennai.
The Vedas and Puranas say that Goddess Lakshmi has emerged out of the oceans when the Devas and Asuras churned the Milky Ocean. Mahavishnu married Her and They both fulfill the desires of the devotees. Goddess Lakshmi is the deity who grants the Eightfold Achievements (Ashtama Siddhis) and Eightfold Wealth( Ashta Iswaryam). As both Mahavishnu and Mahalakshmi(with Her eight forms) reside in this temple it is known as the Ashtalakshmi Temple. It is befitting to have a temple constructed and consecrated on the shores facing the sea for Goddess Lakshmi whose birthplace is the sea.
The temple was designed and constructed in the shape of ‘AUM’,the First Vedic Mantra, Pranava. The everlasting roaring waves of the Bay of Bengal reverberate the pranava Sound and remind one that the God and Goddess reside in the pranava Sound. As the temple is in the AUM shape it is well known as the OMKHARAKSHETRA.
As the temple is dedicated to Mahavishnu and Ashta Lakshmis, the construction is on the models of Ashtanga vimana (Eight Parts) style. This is one of the very ancient styles of temple construction. This Ashtanga vimana style is found in Tirukkotiyur Where Sri Ramanuja learnt the meaning of the Ashtakshara mantra at the feet of Tirukkotiyur Nambi, Madurai (Koodalazhagar), Tiruttangal, Kanchi(Vaikuntanathar Temple) and Uttiramerur.