Chitragupta Temple, Kanchipuram
Chitragupta Temple is located very near to main bus stand near the Rettai Mandapam. It is a unique and exclusive ninth century Chola period temple dedicated to Chitragupta, the chief accountant and the minister of Lord Yama, the God of Death. Chitragupta keeps record of all the good and evil deeds of humans and accordingly decides to send them to heaven or hell. Lord Brahma created Chitragupta through the Sun God and he is considered the younger brother of Lord Yama.
People believe that Chitragupta is the Athi Devathai for Kethu which is one of the Navagrahas. So, anyone who worships Chitragupta at the temple would be bestowed with prosperity and wealth. The vices of the Kethu would also be mitigated. Some say that for naga dosham one travels to Kalahasti, but it is incomplete since at Kalahasti, only the Rahu Pariharam is done and without Ketu, the Pariharam is incomplete. Hence a visit to Chitragupta temple on the same day will complete the dosha.
There are a large number of worshippers and devotees who come to the temple, to perform pujas, especially during the Pournami or full moon every month. It is but a blessing that Shri Chitragupta Swamy in accompany of Shri Karnagi Ambal is seated in the Sanctorum of a temple in the centre of Kanchipuram near the bus stand. This temple adds effect to Kanchipuram town which is considered as one of the seven heavens.
All these years till now the temple is well maintained by the Karuneegar Community and added to this, the HR & CE has appointed a trustee to facilitate better functioning. The appointed trustee is also from the Karuneegar Community.
Parvathi giving life to a picture of rainbow colors created by Shiva:
One version narrates as Lord Shiva gave a picture depicting the rainbow colours which was given life by Goddess Parvathi and eventually became Shri Chithra (picture) Guptha Swamy.
Kamadhenu delivering Chitragupta:
In order to clear the curse of Shri Indira Devan, Shri Chitragupta Swamy was delivered by Kamadhenu in the Indira Heaven. That is why we avoid cow’s milk and curd to sanctify the deity of Shri Chitragupta Swamy.
‘Chith’ means inner conscience. ‘Aptham’ means hidden conscience. Whatever we hold back in our conscience is brought out by Shri Chitragupta and plans the life of a person. Hence he got the name Chitragupta.
Yamadharma praying to Shiva for an Assistant:
Having to account the sins and goodness of crores of people Lord Yama Dharma felt it difficult doing it all alone so he prayed to God Shiva to give him an assistant. Immediately Lord Shiva instructed Brahma to give an assistant to Lord Yama. Brahma knew that this is possible only by Sun God (Surya Devan). So Brahma created a fire within the sun. The sun develops romance and in those romantic mood seven colours of the rainbow integrates and forms into a girl and she became to be known as Neeladevi and she lived with the sun. The relationship results into the delivery of a male child in the Tamil month of Chithirai and that too on a full moon day hence he was named as Chithraputhiran. The child on delivery carried a book in his left hand and a writing nail in the right. (Since Chitragupta was born of a rainbow people as sacrifice present him with multi colored clothes).
Chitragupta praying to Lord Shiva:
Chitragupta performed penance and prayed to Lord Shiva and in turn he received intelligence and all brilliance. In order to test his powers he began to create. This stunned Brahma the “God of Creation”. This act was complained to Sun God. The Sun God advised his son Chitragupta that he determines the time of human beings by terming day and night likewise you can account for the goodness of human beings. The work of creation is Brahman.
Sun God instructing Chitragupta to help Yama:
The sun god decided to get his son married in order to bring him into control. The Virgins, descendants of Shiva namely Mayabrahman’s daughter Prabhavathy, Manu Brahmma’s daughter Neelavathy, Viswa brahma daughter Karnagi were married to Chitragupta. Lord Yama who was annoyed over the way Chitragupta was maintaining his family in a happy way, complained to his father ‘‘Sun” and ‘Sun God’ immediately sent Chitragupta to be responsible and help Lord Yama. Chitragupta who went along with his wives to Yama’s world is still accounting the goodness and evil activities of mankind from then on.
According to archaeologists, the Chitragupta temple was built in Kanchipuram during the Chola period (Ninth Century) and is being maintained by a particular community of Kanchipuram from time immemorial.
The presiding deity (Moolavar) is seen in a sitting posture holding the Ezhuthani (pen) in his right hand and a palm leaf in left symbolizing his nature of work. The Utsava panchaloka idol of Chitragupta is seen with his consort Karnikambal. It is believed that Lord Chitragupta is the Athi Devathai for Kethu, one of the Navagrahas, and those who worship Chitragupta at this temple, would be bestowed with prosperity. Also the evil effects of Kethu during its transit period would be mitigated. However, according to astrologers, Lord Vinayaka is the Prathi Devathai for Kethu and would also mitigate the evil effects of Kethu.
Thulabharam Mandapam Kanakarayar a minister in Chola King Chenni Valavan’s cabinet created a statue for festive occasions. This deity is separately placed in the temple and it is taken in procession. Two small panchaloka idols of Chitragupta with his Consort Karnikambal were found while the ground around the temple was dug for carrying out repairs, in February 1911.
But these idols could not be used for worship because of minor damages. However, they are being kept along with the presiding deity. The last kumbhabhishekam of the temple was performed on July 14, 1918. Later, some repair works were carried out in August 1944. Several deities including Navagrahas, Durga and Vinayakar were installed in the temple.
On Chithra Pournami (full moon day of the Chithrai month) special pooja and the marriage celebrations of Chitragupta takes place.
Off the nine planets Kethu’s Lord is Chitragupta. Hence any offering made to Chitragupta will relieve us from all trial and tribulation of Kethu planet. The offering comprises of cereals, seven lamps, and multicolor clothes with an Abhishekam.
This is located very near main bus stand near the Rettai Mandapam. Nearest Railway Station is located at Kanchipuram and Nearest Airport is located at Chennai.