Sunday, August 7, 2016

Ardhanareeswarar Temple, Tiruchengode, Namakkal

Ardhanareeswarar Temple, Tiruchengode, Namakkal
Arthanareeswarar temple is located in Tiruchengode in Namakkal District, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. This ancient temple is mentioned in the Tamil work Silappathikaram as Neduvelkunru. It is also famous for Chenkottu Velavar (Lord Muruga) Temple, which is situated in the same hill in Tiruchengode.

Another name of this temple is Thiru Kodimaada Chenkundrur is an ancient Hindu Temple known for its manifestation of Half Male Half Female Lord Ardhanarishvara (Shiva). One of the 64 manifestations of Shiva, representing the unity of Shiva and his consort Parvati, is enshrined in this hill temple. The temple is situated on a hill near Tiruchengode.

Tiruchengode (also known as "Thirukodi mada chengundroor " in Vedic times) has many references in Puranas, like Thevaram and Silappathikaram. In Silappathikaram, 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 Thirugnanasambanthar in his devotional hymn Devaram. Great poets and saints like Arunagirinathar, Ilango Adigal, and Kaviraja Pandithar amongst others have eulogized this holy place in their divine poems. The idols of Birungi Munivar and Arunagirinathar are found inside the temple.

This ancient hill temple according to the inscriptions on the walls must have been built about 2000 years ago. Many renovation works and additions were done by the kings and chieftains ruled over Tamilnadu in the past.  Lord Arthanareeswarar is giving salvation to all souls, from the hill top temple. Lord Sengottuvelavar and Lord Aadhikesava Perumal are located in separate shrines as presiding deities.

Lord Arthanareeswarar has a unique form here, which combines half male and half female form. The lord is also known as Madhorubagan and Ammaiappan. It is claimed that this rare posture of the Lord as prime deity can be found only in this temple in the whole of Asia. The hill top temple can be reached by climbing up 1206 steps, made of stone.

Lord Arthanareeswarar gives a benign darshan to devotees from this hilltop temple. The deity in Arthanareeswarar Temple faces west, something that is not common in Shiva temples. The main deity is 6 feet in height with the right half of the image sculpted as a male figure and the left half as a female figure. An eternal spring runs under the feet of Lord Arthanareeswarar.

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 (offering).

To the south is a shrine for Aadhikesava Perumal. Lord Muruga occupies a place in the hilltop and here he is called Sengottuvelavar with a unique stone-spear (Velayudham) in the right hand and the flag bearing his cock symbol in the left hand and his shrine faces east. This is the 262nd Devaram Paadal Petra Shiva Sthalam and 4th Shiva Sthalam in Kongu Naadu. Thirugnanasambandar has sung hymns in praise of Lord Shiva of this Temple.

This Siva temple is in Tiruchengode in the vicinity of Erode and Salem in Tamil Nadu. A Motorable Ghat road is available to go to the top of the hill and one can reach the temple by bus or car. Another way to reach the temple is to alight 1200+ steps to the top of the hill.

Tiruchengode is in approximately 20 km from the City of Erode, 46 km from Salem, and 120 km from Coimbatore. It is a part of Kongu Nadu region of Tamil Nadu. Kongu Nadu includes in it 24 villages, out of which Poondhurai, a suburb of Erode city is one of the important pilgrimage centre.

West of Cauvery is Melakarai Pundhurai and East of Cauvery is Kilakarai Pundhurai. Kilakarai Pundhurai is famously known as Thiruchengodu. The word "Thiruchengodu" means beautiful, steeped hill in Tamil Language.

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Temple Complex
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Pooja Timings
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The waters in Arthanareeswarar Temple are considered to contain healing elements. So people with illness, childlessness and others seeking solutions to their problems, and seeking wealth and prosperity come here to take a holy dip in the ponds. There is small shrine for Pandeeswarar on the hill. People offer cradles and they believe that they can have children.
On the way to temple, the sixtieth step is considered as step of Honesty and truth-that is sathiyappadi. When people had problems and litigations among them, one who was ready to tell the truth from this place was believed to be the true and honest person; his evidence played vital role in delivering justice in those days.
Pasuvan Swami attracts many farmers and villagers. They offer milk, butter and curd to Lord in a deep belief that this would be returned abundantly and richly. Many people who have Nagadosham offer Abishegams to Adiseshan with turmeric and kumkum. It is generally believed that they are blessed with marriage.
Literary Mention
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Arulmigu Arthanareeswarar Temple,
Arthanareeswarar Hills,
Thiruchengodu – 637211
Tamilnadu, India
Phone: 04288 255925
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