Monday, April 11, 2011

Chitraputhira Yamadharmaraja Temple, Coimbatore


There are several gods and goddesses in India and there are several places of worship for them as well, each with its own significance. There are a few shrines for Yama, the most feared of all Gods - the God of Death. There is one sannadhi in Srivanchiyam temple, near Kumbakonam, one in Dharmapuri and may be a few more in other parts of the country.
Similarly, there are a few shrines/sannadhis for Chitragupta, his faithful accountant who keeps track of each and every person's sins and virtues,( What is the English word for Punya?), the most well-known being at Kanchipuram.  But I do not know if there is any other temple in India where you can find both Yamadharmaraja and Chitragupta in the same sanctum sanctorum but for this temple at Vellalur Main Road, Singanallur, Coimbatore.
The month of Chitirai ( April 14 - May 15) is very special for Chitragupta and Yama, as on the full moon day of this month, Chitragupta is supposed to start his new book of accounts for the year. It is the time for special prayers to him and his Lord to pardon our sins, and to reduce the burden of punishments, and it is indeed my pleasure to share information about this temple in the wake of Chitra Pournami that falls due on 17th April.

Entrance to the temple amidst construction work going on
Once you enter Singanallur, and reach Vellalur Main Road, it is quite easy to reach the temple. There is an "aathupaalam" - a small bridge over a brook and once you cross that, anyone can guide you to the temple. There is a house being constructed close to the entrance and the building materials have been dumped right near the entrance to the temple. Watch your step as you take the very narrow path that is available among the debris to reach the entrance. A board saying Chitraputhira Yamadharmaraja Temple welcomes you.

The 310 year old temple is cool. There is a front yard which has the shrine of Rajaganapathi to its left. Lord Ganesha is seen here with serpents on either side. A board mentions that "Thulabaram" (giving jaggery, bananas or sugar equivalent to one's weight) can be given here as gratitude for prayers that have been answered.
Raja Ganapathi with Serpents on either side
We step into the inner mandapam. The most striking feature about the mandapam is the circular platform in the middle where 101 padayals (offerings) are made to Lord Yamadharmaraja and Chitragupta on Chitrapournami day.

We are greeted by Mr. Paramasivam, the priest at the temple, who is very friendly and offers us information about the temple. In fact, this is probably the only temple in Tamilnadu, where I have been to, in which I was immediately allowed to photograph the sanctum sanctorum....but with a condition. Women are not allowed beyond this mandapam, while men can step into the inner mandapam, close to the sanctum sanctorum. Therefore, he said I could take a picture from where I stood.
Mr Paramasivam, the priest at the temple
The Sanctum Sanctorum was one of its kind. A majestic Yamadharmaraja, sat astride a huge black buffalo, with one hand holding a spear ( Ankusham) and the other hand holding a rope ( Paasa Kayaru) to drag the departed souls to the other world at the appropriate time. Chitragupta, the faithful accountant of Yama, stands to his right, holding palm leaves in one hand and a quill in the other.
Sanctum Sanctorum
The priest explained that this temple is run and maintained by seven families of Rajakula Agamudayathevar community namely, Poththai, Thaali, Peyan, Kounda, Vaththana, Kanja and Righton, who take turns in being the priest and perform the rituals. The special 101 padayal is called Vanipongal and will be performed at 5 am on 18th morning. He mentioned that persons should not wear black coloured clothes while coming to the temple. Coconuts as you can see in the picture, are offered in full, without breaking them. The temple is open on all days between 7 am and 5 pm without being closed in between.
Across the sanctum sanctorum, we find another room, with a board outside stating that it is the shrine of Veeramachi amman, Pudavaikari Amman and Sapthakannis. Once you enter the room, there is another shrine inside. Here, women are allowed to go right into the sanctum sanctorum and worship.
There are three lingam like structures in one platform which are worshipped as the swayambu form of the three goddesses and there are seven similar but smaller structures nearby who are worshipped as the saptha kannis.
After praying at this shrine, we walk out of the room and take the circumambulatory path around the temple. To the left of the temple, is a seperate shrine for Andichi Amman, the sister of Yamadharmaraja. I was curious to go and see the temple, but found that it was closed and there were people sleeping in the frontyard. Moreover, the path to the other temple was strewn with building materials and therefore I decided against it.
As I moved around the path, I found that the backside of the temple was also circular, similar to the offering platform inside the shrine.
There was a menacing buffalo head that lay on the floor with some rope and plastic tubes nearby. It was a strange sight and looked as if Lord Yama was watching as I moved around the temple. It was time to leave and I thanked the priest for all his assistance. He gave us Vibuthi (Sacred Ash) and Sweet Pongal as prasadam. He also gave pictures of Lord Yamadharmaraja with the condition that the picture had to be kept only in a seperate pooja room and not in houses where shelfs housed gods and goddesses. With one final look at Lord Yama, watching us with his piercing silver eyes, we moved out of the temple into the scorching sun.

If you happen to be around this part of the world on 17th/18th of April 2011, you can take part in all the festivities in this temple on the special occasion of Chitra Pournami when Chitragupta and Lord Yamadharmaraja are in a benevolent mood, as the new books of accounts for the year are opened. If not, do drop by to pray at this very unique shrine of Lord Yama and Chitragupta in the same sanctum sanctorum whenever the opportunity presents itself. 

Added on 16th February 2012- through inputs from Mr Sudharshan:

Just before entering Yama DharmaRaja temple, on our left side, we can see another temple which is the Ayyanar and Aandichi amman temple. As we also visited here, I would like to share the information as told to us by the Priest Maariappan on this temple. 

Ayyanar here is worshipped with vegetarian offerings unlike Ayyanar in other (few?) temples. Children who pray to this Ayyanar for their education are blessed with good fortune. When a Siddhar visited both these temples, he told to the priests that since Yama Dharmaraja is very affectionate to his sister Aandichi Amman, Yama Dharmaraja always wanted to perform poojas for his Sister first and later for him. Due to this, people should seek blessings from his sister before entering Yama Dharamaraja's temple. Even if first timers who may miss to do this, after visiting sister's temple, they have to see Yama Dharmaraja again before leaving so that they get the 'palan' of visiting both these temples - as told by the priest.

'Uchi kaala pooja' on Sundays is special at 12 noon here. Sri Chitra Putra Yama Dharamaraja temple priest Paramasivam can be contacted on 98656 42946 and on 0422-2917789. 

29 comments:

  1. A small correction. The Temple at Srivanchiyam is not for Yama. It is indeed a Shiva temple wherein Yama has a "sannadhi" as he has worshipped The Lord here. Moreover, Yama became the "Vahana" here for Shiva which is unique for this place.
    -- Sivapathasekaran

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  2. Thank you Sir. I meant the sannadhi, but now I see it sounds like the whole temple is for Yama. Will correct asap.

    Regards
    Priya

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  3. Hi Miss Priya,

    Thanks for the great write-up about the Yama dharma raja temple in Vellalur.

    Your write-up is so timely, as my friend is currently suffering from some lung&heart disease, & as per Nadi astrology, the Siddhas have instructed him to perform Parihara in this I was looking up & down the net, but no substantial information, & then, like divine intervention, your write-up popped up.

    I would appreciate if I can get the contact number of this temple. I read somewhere that the temple is closed on Sunday, & co-incidentally, my friend are suppose to perform the prayers on Sunday. You mentioned that it is open on all days. Can you please confirm?

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  4. Dear Mr. Vijai Ananth,
    As far as I have enquired, there is no telephone number for the temple. But the temple is definitely open on sundays. In fact, the UchiKaala poojai that happens at noon on sundays is supposed to be very special which is probably why your friend has been asked to visit on that day. If possible and appropriate, you could share the pariharam rituals at the temple here, so that it could be useful to others who are faced with similar conditions. Good luck and prayers for your visit and restored good health of your friend. Regards
    Priya

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    Replies
    1. I am kandhavelu, blessed to serve yemadharmaraja temple on behalf of CHITHIRA PUTHIRA YEMADHARMARAJA TRUST ,which manages the temple and its activities ,festivels ,poojas etc. My mob no. is 9443121374 ,It is my duty and pleasure to guide anyone visiting the temple 24/7
      kindly call me to share more information about the the temple.
      with regards,
      kandhavelu.r.a.

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    2. Thanks so much Mr Kandhavelu for sharing this useful information for the readers of Aalayam Kanden

      Best
      Priya

      Delete
  5. Thanks Priya. Tentatively my frined should travel somewhere in the next few months, after which i shall update this blog with the rituals done. Thank you again.

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  6. Good Info

    Visit ChitraGupta Swamy Temple Kanchipuram Official Link

    Lord ChitraGupta

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  7. @ Chitragupta Temple,Thank you so much Regards Priya

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  8. What is the English word for Punya? Karma is a word refered for both the good n bad deeds

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  9. Dear Priya,

    I have few photos of a temple in Vellur near singanallur, coimbatore, its a Shiva Temple, the lingam is made of navabhashanam, the temple is known as "Navabhashana Sithaligkeswara Kovil"
    How to share the pictures ?

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  10. Dear Ms. Mahalakshmi,

    As far as I know the English equivalent to punniyam is virtue. I did see the navabhashana sithalingeswarar temple on my way to the Yamadharmaraja temple, but by the time I returned from there the temple was closed. Please send the photos to aalayamkanden@gmail.com if you wish to share them. I will definitely visit during my next trip to Coimbatore.

    Thanks and best regards,
    Priya

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  11. Hi Priya,

    Thanks for the useful information which helped our visit to the temple last Sunday. I was told by a friend to visit this temple earlier. It was great to know that this temple is more than 300 years old.

    Thanks for sharing info on Yama DharmaRaja's shrine and as I experienced, you have not missed anything as above. Just before entering Yama DharmaRaja temple, on our left side, we can see another temple which is the Ayyanar and Aandichi amman temple. As we also visited here, I would like to share the information as told to us by the Priest Maariappan on this temple.

    Ayyanar here is worshipped with vegetarian offerings unlike Ayyanar in other (few?) temples. Children who pray to this Ayyanar for their education are blessed with good fortune. When a Siddhar visited both these temples, he told to the priests that since Yama Dharmaraja is very affectionate to his sister Aandichi Amman, Yama Dharmaraja always wanted to perform poojas for his Sister first and later for him. Due to this, people should seek blessings from his sister before entering Yama Dharamaraja's temple. Even if first timers who may miss to do this, after visiting sister's temple, they have to see Yama Dharmaraja again before leaving so that they get the 'palan' of visiting both these temples - as told by the priest.

    'Uchi kaala pooja' on Sundays is special at 12 noon here. Sri Chitra Putra Yama Dharamaraja temple priest Paramasivam can be contacted on 98656 42946 and on 0422-2917789.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Dear Mr Sudharshan, Thank you for providing this valuable information. With your permission I am adding it into the body of the post so that it benefits all those who read it.

    Regards Priya

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  13. Thanks Ms.Priya.

    I am honored as it will help others.

    Let the almighty add more 'virtue' to you for this informative website.

    Regards

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  14. This is the first time i came across your site. And coincidently i went and did pooja last sunday. Too add one more info abt ayyanar andichi amman. Every sunday milk abishegam is happening for her.
    Meenakshi Balaji

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  15. Is any other temple of chitraputhira near chennai

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  16. Hi Priya Madam,
    Thanks for the information. I wanted to clarify on Andichi Amman being chitragupta sister or yamadharmaraja sister. Your blog says Andichi Amman is yamadharmaraja sister but few other blogs say its chitragupta sister. Please clarify about this madam.

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    Replies
    1. Dear Ms Laasya, I had written what the priest Mr Paramasivam had confirmed to me. I will check with him again.

      Regards
      Priya

      Delete
  17. Thanks a zillion times Priya for visiting the temple. I am fortunate enough to visit that temple often to seek Yema Dharmaraj's blessings because i reside at Coimbatore. Truly as the name itself says "Dharmaraj". You BEG anything HE will give you. I request everyone out here to visit the Temple to seek HIS BLESSINGS.

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  18. very good information
    thank you madam

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  19. Hi...good info.
    I would like to know where is the yamadharma raja temple in kasi(Varanasi, up).
    Can anyone please inform me as we are having kasi trip this monthend

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  20. Hi
    There is another one yama dharma temple is there in chennai near cholavaram. The temple called karu mari amman in that temple there are 70 gods in the temple in that yama dharma is one of the God
    Main god is karu mari amman ,priyangira ,varahi amman , asta laxsmi etc
    Very power full temple more information contact
    9952258626
    Venkatesheee86@gmail.com

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  21. There is one more temple in Pillayarpatti (Sivagangai District) for lord chithragupthar. On every full moon day, Pooja celebration is going on in agrand manner. People near by southern TN can visit this temple.

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  22. Hi, there is a another temple for lord chithragupthar in Pillayarpatti (Sivagangai district). On every full moon day, Pooja celebration are happening in a grand manner. People in southern TN Can visit this temple at least once

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  23. Hi. Can we perform Pooja for shastiapthapoorthi for my parents in this temple

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    Replies
    1. Hi Ashwini,

      I am not aware of this information. Can you please check with the priest with the numbers provided above?

      Regards
      Priya

      Delete
  24. Thanks a lot to PRIYA collect and post this very big seva for peoples who look to visit this temple.Realy great, Thank you.

    ReplyDelete