Saturday, 13 July 2019

Rare Chitragupta temple, Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu

Chitragupta temple, Kanchipuram en.m.wikipedia.org
The temple town of Kanchipuram has 108 Shiva temples and 18 Divyadesam Vishnu temples, Along with them, the town has the unique distinction having a rare temple dedicated to Chiragupta, supposedly an assistant to demi-god of death Yama

Chitragupta temple, a Hindu temple is one of a kind in the whole of South India; it is a rare one in India.  Dedicated to sub deity Chitragupta, son of God Brahma (who created him through the Sun), he is believed to be an assistant to demi god Yama ( in charge of death). He keeps the record of every human on this planet, his  activities,virtues, sins, etc and will  record his date of demise and his final destination to  heaven or hell. The job of maintaining each human activities was set by God Shiva.He himself created Chitragupta.  This temple is on the Nellukara Street Kanchipuram in the  state of Tamil Nadu.

Built during the Chola dynasty in the 9th century, the entrance tower has three-tiered Rajagopuram (gateway tower) and a single prathakshana path around the sanctum.  Later rulers made additions to the then existing temple. while  The temple is managed by HR & CE- the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu.
Chitragupta image in the sanctum , Kanchi, TN gosthala.com
The image of Chitragupta in seated posture is in the Central shrine Here Chitragupta has a ezhuthaani (pen) in his right hand and palm leaf in his left hand symbolic of his work. His consort is Karnikambal. The major festival celebrated in the temple is Chitra Pournami during April. At this temple consecration was performed during 1918 and 1994.

As I mentioned in many of my posts on Indian temples, each one has a sthalapurana - the origin of the temple and deity. As regards the origin of Chitragupta, there are different stories. The main  legend has it God Shiva (Hindu god of destruction) once expressed his desire to  his consort Parvati to have somebody  maintain an account on the activities of humans - their bad and good deeds, etc.as they were prone to make mistakes.  A close watch on the people will help them lead a Dharmic life . He  wanted  somebody to do this job and drew a picture of a man in mind on the gold plate.   Parvathi was quite happy about the picture and with divine power, they turned the picture into a deity. Shiva allocated the  duty of maintaining the account of deeds of all human beings on earth. That deity came to be known as  Chitragupta (Chitra meaning picture and Gupta meaning accountant). He was an associate  of demigod of death Yama who had to  go by the Chitragupta's record.  
According to another legend, Brihaspati, the Guru of planetary deities was not in agreement with Indra, the king of celestial deities. In the wake of  difference of opinion, Brihaspati stopped being  an adviser to  Indra. On second thoughts,  Indra realized his grave mistake and  patched up with his Guru. To make amends for the sins committed by him unwittingly,  he undertook a pilgrimage  to find a Linga. In the chosen place, he built a temple. Surprisingly,  golden lotuses started appearing in the nearby temple tank. The day was was called Chitra Pournami..

About Chitragupta' origin, there is another version  Once Indira expressed his wish to Shiva to have a child. As his wife Indrani was not supposed to have any progeny, Shiva directed Kamadhenu, the holy cow to give birth to a child. Shiva later handed over the child to Indra and Indrani. They brought him up as  Chitragupta.


Every New moon day  there are special prayers in this temple which both Vaishnavites and Saivites visit. Women, to get the blessings of Chitragupta Swamy, go on fast or take food without salt on festival days. 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chitragupta_temple,_Kanchipuram