Chitragupta Temple, Kanchipuram

Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage

ॐ श्री गुरुभ्यो नमः ॐ श्री शिवानन्दाय नमः ॐ श्री चिदानन्दाय नमःॐ श्री दुर्गायै नमः 

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Chitragupta temple is a Hindu temple located in Nellukara Street  Kanchipuram in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is one of the rare temples of the Hindu deity Chitragupta, considered to be the assistant of Yama, the Hindu god of death. 


Chitragupta is believed to have emerged from a painting and set as the accountant of good and bad deeds of human beings by Brahma. The temple has a three-tiered Rajagopuram (gateway tower) and a single precinct around the sanctum.

The present masonry structure was built during the Chola dynasty in the 9th century, while later expansions are attributed to various other kings.

The temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu.

The major festival celebrated in the temple in Chitra Pournami during April. The temple is one of the most prominent tourist attractions in the city.


As per Hindu legend, Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction was discussing with his wife Parvathi about maintaining Dharma amidst all human beings on earth and maintaining good account of their deeds.

He felt that he wanted to have someone to have a close watch on people to prevent them from indulging in crime and involving themselves in good deeds.

Shiva drew a picture in a gold plate – Parvathi was impressed and wanted Shiva to detail it. The picture turned into a deity by the divine grace of Shiva and Parvathi.

Shiva entrusted to the deity the duty of maintaining the account of deeds of all human beings on earth. He came to be known as Chitragupta as he was derived from a Chitra (piture) and Gupta (accountant). He was set as the accountant of Yama, who is the Hindu god of death.

As per another legend, Brihaspati, the Guru of gods had a disagreement with Indra, the king of gods.

On account of the confrontation, Brihaspati discontinued his advocacy to Indra. At a later point, Indra realized his mistakes and patched up with his Guru.

To expiate himself from the sins committed, he started on a pilgrimage to find a Linga. He constructed a temple and golden lotuses started appearing in the nearby temple tank. The day is celebrated as Chitra Pournami.

A third legend states that Indra prayed to Shiva for a child. But as per the divine wish, his wife Indrani was not destined have any progeny. Shiva directed Kamadhenu, the holy cow to give birth to a child. Shiva later entrusted the child to Indra and Indrani, who later brought him up as Chitragupta.

Architecture and history

The temple has a three-tiered Rajagopuram, the gateway tower. The central shrine has the image of Chitragupta in seated posture. He is displayed with a Ezhuthaani (pen) in his right hand and palm leaves in his left hand.

Archaeologist have confirmed based on the inscriptions that the temple was built during the 9th century by the Medieval Cholas.

The temple had various maintenance activities during the subsequent periods. During the repair works carried out in 1911, two historical metal idols of Chitragupta and his consort Karnikambal were found.

These images are housed in the central sanctum. During modern times, a consecration was performed during 1918 and 1994. The temple has been administered by a group of hereditary trustees.

Religious importance

Chitragupta, as per Hinduism is the accountant of Yama, the death god, who keeps an accurate record of good and bad deeds of human beings to decide their period of stay in heaven and hell.

The temple is just one of its kind that has a separate temple for Chitragupta. Every new moon, there are special worship in the temple.

The major festival celebrated in the temple is Chitra Pournami during April. 

Chitragupta is considered the Adidevata for Ketu, the ninth planet of Hindu astrology. He is the central deity of the Kayastha Community, who are known as the descendant of Shri Chitragupta, but is also worshipped by both Shaivites and Vaishnavites

Women devotees observe fast or consume food without salt during the day to seek blessings of Chitragupta.

Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage

By Mala Chandrashekhar

Introducing Blogger Mala Chandrashekhar - a specialist academically trained in modern Western sciences, yet deeply enamored with India's timeless ethnic arts, crafts, and textiles. Her heart beats for the rich and glorious cultural and spiritual heritage of India, and she has dedicated her entire blog to spreading the immortal glories of ancient India worldwide. Through her simple yet impactful blog posts, Mala aims to reach every nook and corner of the globe, sharing India's beauty and wisdom with the world.

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