Tiruchengode Temple

Sri Ardhanaareeswarar temple

Tiruchengode, near Erode, is in Namakkal district.  It is famous for the ancient, hilltop Sri Ardhanaareeswarar temple, at an altitude of 576m (1900 feet).  Devasthanam buses ply to and from the hill at regular intervals.  The hill can be accessed through a flight of about 1,200 steps.
The Tiruchengode temple is one of e seven Sivasthalams in the Kongu area.  The presiding deity is one of the seven Sivasthalams in the Kongu area.  The presiding deity is one of the 64 manifestations of Shiva, and the temple here enshrines the Ardhanaareeswara principle of half-male and half-female, indicating that Shiva and his consort, Shakti or Parvati, are one and the same.

According to the sthala purana, Vayu (wind) and Adi Sesha, the snake, were embroiled in a mighty tug of war, with the celestial reptile clinging on to the Meru Mountain.  Vayu then used his might to blow away a chunk of the hill to this area.  The blood spilt by Adi Sesha colored this hill red, giving it the name Chengode.  It is also known as Nagagiri (Mountain of the Snake), as three is a 18-metre (60 feet) carving of a snake on the hill.  Another version says that the rocks here are colored red and yellow, representing the masculine and feminine aspects of Ardhaneeswara.  There is a shrine for Vishnu as Adi Kesava Perumal.  The Perumal, it is said, instructed Gowri (Parvati) on the aspects of the Kedara Gowri Vratam.  Gowri performed the Vratam, as instructed, which helped Her to merge with Shiva to form Sri Ardhanaareeswara.  The shrine finds mention in the Tamil classic, Silappadikaram.

The five-tiered Rajagopuram faces north, almost at the edge of the hill, making it visible from the plains.  The sanctum faces west, and is accessed from the south.  The magnificent image of Sri Ardhanaareeswara is 1.81m (six feet) tall.  The right half is male and the left female.  The right hand, the Shiva aspect, holds a long sceptre-kind of object, which rests on His right hip.  The left hands, the Shakti aspect, appears to be holding the left hip.  The right side of the chest, the male side, is flat, while the left, the Shakti side, is full breasted.

To the back of the sanctum is the shrine of Tiruchengottu Velavar, dedicated to Sri Subramanya.  This shrine is as famous as Sri Ardhanaareeswara's, and is noted for the intricately-carved sculptures in the mandapam outside.  The intrepid saint, Sri Arunagirinather, has sung about Sri Velavar, ere, in his Tiruppugazh.  Much earlier, Sri Sambandar composed the Tiruneela Kandhapatikam here. Sri Muthuswamy Dikshitar, part of the Carnatic music trinity, composed the kriti "Ardhanaareeswaram,"  in the raga Kamudakriya, in praise of the presiding deity.

Inscriptions here dated back to the times of Parantaka and Rajendra Chola, the Vijayanagar monarchs, the Nayaks and the Maharajas of Mysore.  The Nandi, enroute to the shrine, faces the hill, which is regarded as a Shivalingam.

How to get there: 

Tiruchengode is 18 km from Erode, and 32km from Namakkal.  Erode is the narest railway station.
Accommodation:  Plenty in Tiruchengode town, or you could stay in Erode.  Temple timings: 6 am to 6pm, without break.

Quickly Find What You Are Looking For