Saturday 15 December 2012

Temples to a diarist

Like him or hate him. You are bound to meet him after your death. And he is bound to tell your deeds, good or bad, to your face. His account will decide which path you will take-Hell or Heaven.
He is one of the 33 crore Gods of Hinduism. Though he is  relatively more known than many other Gods, he has very few shrines named after him. The few that exists are also not very well known.
The son of Brahma, he performs a duty as important as Yama, the God of death. A constant companion of Yama, he is the diarist with details of every human being who is born. His record is so impeccable and he rarely if ever sends a person wrongly to heaven or hell.
Better known as Chitragupta, he is Yama’s constant companion. He and Yama are so closely bonded that we cannot speak of one without taking the name of the other.
Chitragupta had three wives-Leelavathi, Prabhavathi and Karnilakai. He had twelve sons-Srivastav, Suryadwhaj, Nigam, Kulashresta, Mathur, Garg, Saxena, Gaud, Asthana, Ambasht, Bhatnagar and Valmiki.
Though both Yama and Chitragupta are part of the Hindu pantheon of Gods, they have few temples dedicated to them.
One of the most famous temple to Chitragupta is in Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh.
The temple is facing East as it is consecrated to the Sun god. Built by the Chandels in the 11th century, it is one of the four temples near a lake.
The deity of Chitragupta is beautifully carved.
Another famous temple of Chitragupta is in Alwar, Rajasthan. It is more than 300 years old and an annual fair is held every year in honour of Chitragupta during November-December.
Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh has the unique distinction of having two temples dedicated to Chitragupta. One is the Rama Janardhana Temple and the other is at Ram Ghat on the Shipra river.
Jabalpur too has a temple to Chitragupta called Foota Tal. There are regular poojas and Aarti to Chitragupta here. Lucknow has a temple to Chitragupta.
One of the most famous temples of Chitragupta is that of Dharma Hari in Ayodhya. Lord Rama is believed to have worshipped Chitragupta here.
In south, the most well-known temple to Chitragupta is in Kanchi, near Chennai in the State of Tamil Nadu.
This temple is located near the Bus stand. When it was renovated in 1907, a statue of Chitragupta and his wife, Karnikambe, was unearthed. It can be seen in the sanctum.
The statue is in a seating position and in the right hand, it holds a pen. It holds in the left hand a palm leaf.
The temple has another statue which is used on festivals. This Utsava statue was commissioned by Kanakarayar, a Minister of a Chola king. It is made of Panchaloha
There are special poojas on Chaitra Purnami (full moon day of the Chaithra) The marriage of Chitragupta  takes place on this day.
The temple is maintained by the Karuneegar community.
Hyderabad too has temple for Chitragupta which is located at Kandikal near Chatrinaka.
It is called the Chitragupta Mahadeva Devalayam and it is more than 200 years old.
Wednesdays are a special occasion here as devotes suffering from Kethu Dosha flock to the temple in large numbers. The sanctum has idols of  Chitragupta and his two consorts , Iravathi and Dakshini.
The Kayasths of Andhra Pradesh regard Chitragupta as their “kula Devatha.”
This temple is believed to have been first constructed by Sivaram Bahadur and Rajaram Bahadur, chief security officers of the Nizams.
People pray  to Chitragupta here and offer him flowers and fruits and perform pooje so that he overlooks their mistakes.
Another temple in Andhra Pradesh dedicated to Chitragupta is in Chitoor district. It is Srikalahasti. The Tik Ka Laddu is the main prasad here. Wednesdays are special in this temple.

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