Arthanareeshwarar temple is located in Tiruchengode the city of Namakkal, Tamil Nadu. Thirukodimada Chengundrur now called as Tiruchengode. The hill is referred to by many names like Chemmalai, Nagamalai and Nandhimalai. This ancient hill temple according to the inscriptions on the walls must have been built about 2000 years ago. Though the main deity is Artha Nareeswarar here the temple is very famous for Lord Murugan here. Arthanareeswarar Temple in Tiruchengode is a hilltop temple at 650 ft. above sea level. The hill contains about 350 acres of land. One can take on 1206 steps to reach the top of the hill to worship the Lord Shiva-Ardhanareeswarar. Some of the vechiles are available to reach the temple. On top of the hill, the main Tower with 5 tiers is on the north side of the hill. The compound wall of the temple is 260 feet length east to west and 170 feet length north to south. Lord Arthanareeswarar is giving salvation to all souls, from the hill top temple.
Lord Sengottuvelavar and Lord Adhikesava Perumal in separate shrines as presiding deities. Devotees believe that the water from this spring is divine water and is called Deva Theertham (water of the gods). It is also believed that this holy water can cure any disease if a devotee continuously drinks it with devotion for one mandala of 48 days. The priest in the shrine serves this holy water to the devotees as prasadham. Lord Arthanareeswarar is also known in this temple as Madhorubagan and Ammayappan, the parents of the world. They say that this rare posture of the Lord as a prime deity is found only in this temple in the whole of Asia.
The deity in Arthanareeswarar Temple faces west, something that is not common in Shiva temples. The temple is dedicated to Arthanareeshwara, the unique half-male and half-female of Lord Shiva. It is perhaps the only temple in Asia where this rare form of the Divine is enshrined as the principal deity. True to the saying, here Lord Shiva has given his left part of body to goddess Parvathi, his wife. It means that there is no Shiva without the Sakthi; and no Sakthi without Shiva. All men and women are equal.
In Silapathikaram, Ilango adigal referred Tiruchengode as “Chengodu” and that “it has numerous holy ponds and enjoys popularity and prosperity”. This temple has been praised by the Nayanmar Thirugnanasambandhar in his devotional hyman Devaram. Great poets and saints like Arunagirinathar, Ilango adigal, Kaviraja pandithar amongst others have enlogised this holy place in their divine poems.
The history of the Arthanareeswarar temple is engraved in mythology. Mandukarna Rishi became a devotee of Venkatasalapathy (Lord Vishnu in Tirupathi). He would walk to Tirumalai Tirupathi once a month and worship the Lord. As he grew older, he found it more difficult to climb up the seven hills to Tirumalai and was heartbroken that he could not see his beloved Lord Venkatachalapathi. So the Lord, touched by his devotion, promised him that he would appear in front of the sage in the hill temple at Tiruchengode everyday as Lord Aadhikesava Perumal, and gave darshan in front of the pot where the holy basil plant grew, the Tulasi Maadam. According to legends stories, once, in a match between his brother Ganesha and himself, the Lord Murugan / Subramaniya lost the prize of the Divine Fruit (Gnanapazham). Angry with his parents, Lord Shiva and Parvati Devi, Murugan came from Kailash Mountain to South India and reached Thiruvavinankudi from where he could still see Mount Kailash. So he left Thiruvavinankudi and reached Nagachala Hills (Tiruchengode) and took residence here and blesses devotees as Sengottuvelar. In the epic, Silapathikaram, the author Ilango Adigal refers to Tiruchengode as ‘Chengodu’ and describes it as a place that ‘has numerous holy ponds and enjoys popularity and prosperity’.
- Morning 6:00 A.M – 2.00 P.M
- Evening 3.00 P.M – 7.00 P.M
- Kala Santi Pooja – 8:00 am
- Uchi Kala Pooja – 12:00 noon
- Sayarachai Pooja – 5:00 pm
The most important festival is the Visaga festival. Which occurs for 15 days in the month of Vaikasi, celebrating every year in a grand manner. The special feature of the festival is that four separate chariots. The first chariot carries Lord Ganesha, the second Sengottuvelavar (Murugan), the third is used for Arthanareeshwara and the last for Adikeshava Perumal (Vishnu).
- Chithirai – Chitra Paurnami
- Vaigasi Visaga – Bathrakaliamman TherThiruvizhala
- Aani – Natarasar Thirumanjanam
- Aavani – Vinayagar Chadhurthi
- Purattasi – Manikovil Kethra Gowriviratham Navarathiri
- Ippasi – Periyamariamman Kovil Thiruvizha
- Karthikai – Karthikai Deepam
- Margazhi – Aaruthra Darisanam
- Thai – Padithiruvizha
- Masi – Masimagam Vizha,Sivarathriri
- Panguni – Uthira Vizha
The nearest major bus station is at Namakal, 37.7km from the Namakal bus stand, directly Buses are available to this temple Tiruchengode is well connected by state as well as private buses from Chennai, Coimbatore, Trichy, Erode, Salem, Mallasamudram, Namakkal, Rasipuram, Karur and Sankagiri etc..
The nearest railway stations are Erode 22.5 kms, Salem 44.9 kms and Sankari Durg 8 km.
The nearest Airports are Coimbatore 120kms, Trichy 128 kms and Salem 46 km.
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