Arthanareeshwara temple is an ancient Hindu temple in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Tiruchengode dedicated to Arthanareeshwara the unique half-male half-female of Lord Shiva. It is perhaps the only temple in Asia where this rare form of the Divine is enshrined.
The deity here is also known as Madhorubagan and Ammaiyappan (mother-father). The famous Chenkottu Velavar Temple, dedicated to Lord Murugan, is also situated on the same hill and it is one of the 275 shrines praised in the Thevaram hymns of the Saivite saints. Both Thirugnansambandar and Arunagirinathar have composed hymns celebrating the temple. In the ancient work Silapathikaram, the place is mentioned by the name ‘Neduvelkundru’ and it is also the subject of a popular composition by Muttuswami Dikshitar, Arthanareeshwaram, set in the raga Kumudakriya.
The sacred hill is about 650 ft. high, and a climb of 1156 steps leads worshippers to the temple at its peak.
It is believed that Adi Kesava Perumal, a form of Vishnu enshrined here, instructed Gowri on the Kedara Gowri Vratam, which she performed to unite with Shiva as Ardhanareeswarar.
Once Lord Vishnu, Lord Brahma, Indra, and sage Birungi went to Kailash to worship Lord Shiva. They were directed towards Lord Shiva by his Vahana, Nandhi. Everyone first had a darshan of Lord Parvathi and then proceeded to Lord Shiva. But, Sage Birungi directly marched to Lord Shiva. Parvathi Devi, annoyed by his act, sucked the flesh from Sage’s body to stop him proceeding, but the sage forwarded. Lord Shiva recognized this act of Parvathi and blessed Birungi with a third leg. After the departure of the Sage, Lord Parvathi appeased Lord Shiva about her penance. After Lord Shiva’s approval, Parvathi Devi along with her crew went to a hilltop and performed the same. As a result of this penance, she demanded a will for getting a portion for her in Lord Shiva’s sacred body thus granting the devotees for integrated worship, which was granted by Lord Shiva. This led to the manifestation of half men and half women depiction Arthanaareswarar. Thus Lord Parvathi took up the left side and rest right by Lord Shiva. This signifies the creation of this manifestation.
It is also believed that long ago there held a battle between Adiseshan and Vayu to prove their mighty powers. This resulted in devastating disasters and the then sages gave an idea to them. Accordingly, Adiseshan has to cling to Mount Meru with his hood and Vayu has to release him by his valor. But the former succeeded. Vayu, out of anger, stopped the air as a result all living beings fainted. Sages convinced Vayu to release his hold. By the sudden release of air by Vayu lead to the top of the mountain with the head of Adisesha, thrown into the earth in three places with flesh and blood and making it red and thus the name Chengode. There are a 60 ft long snake carved on the hill, and hence the name Nagamalai. Sambandar composed the Tiruneelakandapathigam here, to help rid fellow travelers of an affliction. Saint Arunagirinathar has also composed Thirupugazh on Lord Subramanya here. Muthuswamy Deekshitar has sung of this shrine in Ardhanareeswaram in Kumudakriya.
The annual chariot festival of the Sengottuvelavar temple is important, which occurs for 15 days in the month of Vaikasi. The special feature of the festival is that four separate chariots are used to carry the processional deities through the streets.
The first chariot carries Lord Ganesha, the second Sengottuvelavar (Murugan), the third is used for Arthanareeshwara, and the last for Adikeshava Perumal (Vishnu).
Arthanareeshwara Temple Timings
5:30 AM to 1:00 PM | 4:00 PM to 7:30 PM
|Temple Opening Hours||6:00 AM|
|Darshan||6:00 AM to 8:00 AM|
|Kala Santhi Pooja, Abhishegam||8:00 AM to 8:45 AM|
|Darshan||8:45 AM to 12:00 PM|
|Uchi Kala Pooja, Abhishegam||12:00 PM to 12:30 PM|
|Darshan||12:30 PM to 2:00 PM|
|Temple closing Hours||2:00 PM|
|Lunch Break||2:00 PM to 3:00 PM|
|Darshan||3:00 PM to 4:00 PM|
|Abhishekam||4:00 PM to 4:45 PM|
|Darshan||4:45 PM to 5:00 PM|
|Sayarachai Pooja||5:00 PM to 5:20 PM|
|Darshan||5:20 PM to 6:00 PM|
|Temple Closing Hours||6:00 PM|
Note: Temple timings may vary on festival days.
Temple Pooja details
|Pooja Name||Ticket Cost|
|Nei Deepam (Ghee Deepam)||Rs.3|
|Golden Chariot (Thanga Ther)||Rs.1500|
|Two Wheeler Pooja||Rs.10|
|Four Wheeler Pooja||Rs.20|
How to Reach Arthanareeshwara Temple?
By Air : Nearest Airport is at Salem (50Kms), Coimbatore (114Kms), Trichy (132Kms).
By Bus : Nearest Busstand is at Namakkal (36Kms), Erode (25Kms), Salem (41Kms).
Arthanareeswarar Temple, Arthanareeswarar Hill Temple Road, Tiruchengode, Tamilnadu, 637211.
Would you like to know more about the Arthanareeshwara, check out this wikipedia link – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ardhanarishvara