Chitra Pournami is a Tamil ceremony observed on the Purnima day (full moon day)
in the Tamil month of Chithirai (April–May). Chitra Pournami ritual commemorates Chitragupta, who according to the scriptures is the assistant of Lord Yama, the God of Death. The day is also dedicated to Indra, the head of Devas. It is on this day that the star Chitra and full moon come together.
Special worship is done in Honour of Lord Chitragupta – the Divine Accountant – who keeps an account of our karmas and appeals for forgiveness for our shortcomings are raised on this day. People take bath in holy rivers and temple ponds to wash away the sins committed. Chitragupta Temple at Kancheepuram is the only temple in South India for Chitragupta. Thirukoteeswarar temple at Thirukodikaval situated on the Kumbakonam- Mayiladuthurai route, has separate shrines for Chitragupta and Yama. In these temples, Chitra Pournami festival is celebrated in a grand manner every year. It is a customary to eat curd rice without salt on this day and to fast without eating anything else.
There is a legend associated with Chitra Pournami involving Lord Indra the king of Devas and his Guru Brihaspati. Lord Indra and Brihaspati once had an argument. As Indra failed to respect Guru, he stopped advising Indra who started committing sins in the absence of Guru. Days passed and Brihaspati returned to his duty. He advised Indra for a pilgrimage to the earth to lessen the burden of sins. During the pilgrimage, Indra realized that he had been redeemed from the sins. He found a Shiva lingam under a Kadamba tree and believed that Lord Shiva had helped him in relieving his sins. Following this, he started worshipping him. He worshipped Lord Shiva with a golden lotus which he found from a nearby pond. This was believed to have happened on a Chitra Pournami day at Madurai in South India. Devendra pooja or Indra Pooja is held during Chitra Pournami festival in Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple, commemorating the event.