Friday, June 26, 2015

TIRUCHENGODE ARDHANAREESWARA TEMPLE


Courtesy:Sri.R.Gopalakrishnan

TIRUCHENGODE ARDHANAREESWARA TEMPLE

 


 

1. Introduction

 

Thiruchengode is a city and municipality located in Namakkal District, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The famous Ardhanareeswarar (hill temple (one of the 64 manifestations of Lord Shiva, representing the unity of Shiva and Parvati) is situated in Tiruchengode. This ancient temple is mentioned in the Tamil work Silapathikaram as Neduvelkunru. It is also famous for Chenkottu Velavar (Lord Muruga) Temple, which is situated in the same hill. As of 2011, the town had a population of 95,335.

 

In ancient days, Tiruchengode was known as Thirukodimaadachenkundrur - one of the historic places in Tamil Nadu. It was also known as Thiruchengottankudi Nageswaram. It enshrines the Ardhanareeswarar (man-woman) manifestation of Shiva, representing the unity of Shiva and Parvati, is enshrined in this revered hill temple of great significance, accessible by a motorable road; this is an ancient temple mentioned in the Tamil work, Silappadikaram as Neduvelkunru. THE RED COLOR OF THE HILL IS THE REASON THAT IT WAS CALLED CHENGODE.. This temple is regarded as the 4th of the 7 Tevara Stalams in the Kongu Region of Tamil Nadu.

 

It is believed that Kannagi (Silappathikaram), after demolishing the city of Madurai by fire is called to Sorgam (Heaven) by her husband Kovalan and is in a wrath at the peak of the Tiruchengode hill.

 

The modern history of Tiruchengode includes many memorable events. Eminent leaders like Rajaji, EVR Periar, T.M.Kaliyannan Gounder and EVK Sampath are bound to this town. Tiruchengode has the pride of having the country's first Gandhi Ashram a tribute to India's great leader Mahatma Gandhi and opened by country's then viceroy Rajaji (Rajagopalachari).

 

2 Location

 

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.

Tiruchengodu is famous for its hill and the temple on the top.Ancient and historical Thiruchengodu is crowned with Mummurthies named ARTHANAREESWAR, Chengodu Velan and ATHIKESAVA PERUMAL.

 

3 The Temples

 

Ardhanareeswarar, one of the 64 manifestations of Shiva, representing the unity of Shiva and Parvati, is enshrined in this revered hill temple of great significance, accessible by a motorable road. This temple is regarded as the 4th of the 7 Tevara Stalams in the Kongu Region of Tamil Nadu.

 

Ancient walls, mandapams and sculptured pillars add to the awe that this temple perpetuates, on top of the hill. The motorway and the renovated Rajagopuram are of recent origin. True to the name NAGAGIRI, there is a 60 ft long snake carved on the hill. This can be seen by the steps path  I have read

 

Although the sanctum faces the West, entrance to it is from the South. A majestic image of Ardanareeswarar adorns the sanctum. There is a water spring at the foot of the image which is said to have been divinely manifested (Uli Padaa Uruvam).

 

My note- The priest showed us the third padam

 

There are inscriptions here from the times of Parantaka Chola, Gangaikonda Chola, the Vijayanagar and Mysore Kings and the Nayaks.

 

Kannagi after burning madurai finally reached thiruchengode hill and she was taken by pushpak viman and went to heaven. and kannagi vizhla is celebrated with pomp and glory every year.

 

The Tiruchengottuvelavar shrine to Subramanyar attracts a number of pilgrims. There is a big  sanctum for Lord Vishnu with Sree devi and Bhoodevi. Saptha mathurs are also installed in the temple. Navagraha are also installed in the temple .  While we enter to the left side Ganapathi is installed in the open, facing east, with Nagaraja and nagayakshi on either side. This featuring appeared quite new to me.

 

Sambandar composed the Tiruneelakandapatikam here, to help rid fellow travellers of an affliction. Muthuswamy Dikshitar has sung of this shrine in Ardhanareeswaram in Kumudakriya.

 

4 Festivals

 

Tiruchengode's major Festival is the Sengottuvelavar Car Festival known as Vaigasi Visakam (Celebrated during the Tamil month of Vaikasi). The Festival is celebrated for 15 days, with separate cars carrying sengottuvelavar, arthanareeswarar and many small lords. This festival is very famous among the nearby surrounding towns and villages.

 

Three worship services are offered each day. The late night worship service (Artha Jaama Pooja) is considered to be of importance here. New moon days are also considered to be special. Moliapalli annamar swamy temple is located 15 km from thiruchengodu.

 

5 Transport

 

Tiruchengode is well connected by state as well as private buses from Chennai, Coimbatore, Trichy, Erode, Salem, Mallasamudram, Namakkal, Rasipuram, Karur, Sankagiri, Attur, Paramathi-Velur, Komarapalayam, Bhavani, Edappadi, Bangalore, Hyderabad etc., The nearest railway station is Sankari Durg (8 km) & Erode Cauvery RS (16 km) The nearest major Railway Junction Erode (23 km) and Salem (46 km)

 

The nearest airport is at Salem (46 km), Coimbatore International Airport (120 km) & Tiruchirappalli International Airport (120 km). We went by travels vehicle. Entrance fee and parking fee are charged. A small parking RCC roofed area is there. Every where I felt neatness and tidiness.

 

I will continue in next posting

 

TIRUCHENGODE ARDHANAREESWARA TEMPLE 2

 

Dear friends

 

Two days back for the first time I visited the Tiruchengode Temple. I was in Namakkal for more than 4 years during 1986's  and for many months in charge of Tiruchengode also. My wife has visited the temple earlier. The road path she has travelled by car on those days also. What baffled me is such a large temple in the Hill top. Further the neatness and up keeping of the temple. The Hill road is 2.5 KM with out any hairpin bends. We could go up in about 15 minutes. Free temple buses are also operating to take devotees up. I have seen the path by steps also. Let me continue my compilation. The temple was crowded with devotees  during the time of visit in the morning itself . A very very beautiful Hill temple.   This is part 2 about the temple . Some repetitions are there, but for continuity they are added.

  

6 More about temple and deities

 

Tiruchengode (also known as "Thirukodi mada chengundroor " in vedic times) has many references in puranas, like Thevaram and Silapathikaram. 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 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.

 

The town has a hill, which is about 650 ft. height . The hill is referred in many names like Chemmalai, Nagamalai, Nandhimalai and many more.

 

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.

 

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

 

"Theva Theertha Shivan Thiru Meniyin Pavanai Padiku Sila Solluvom Kovalitha Venpanira Kolamaai Navaleer Artha Nariyarayinar "

 

Half male and half female form of Arthanareeswara is also known as 'Madhorubagan' and 'Ammayappan'

 

In Hindi language, 'Artha' means half and 'Nari' means lady. This suitably matches the idol here, as Shiva shared half of his body with Parvathi. The left side of idol is Parvathi, and right side is Shiva (When we look at the deity left side male dressed and right side female dressed).

 

There are different beliefs on the formation of this idol. One such belief is that the idol is made by Siddhars out of Ven pashanam , which is a mixer of variety of herbals in a particular ratio. And another is that the idol is formed naturally (known as 'Suyambu ') and not made by anybody. The Lord Arthanareeswara is facing western direction here, which is not common amongst Shiva temples.

 

It is auspicious to garland the lord with Vellerukku, Vilvam, Lotus, Champa, Mandarai, Padiri, Sengkaluneer, Ponnarali apart from usual Sandal, KumKum and Viboodi. There is a spring under the feet of Lord Arthanareeswara, which never dries. Devotees believe that the water from this spring is special holy divine water (known as Deva theertham). It is also believed that, this holy water can cure any disease if consumed for one mandala (48 days continuously ). The priest who is doing pooja serves this holy water to the devotees as Prasadham.

 

My note- We were shown the theertham area and  additional leg  , but were given only holy ashes. We performed Archana to the deity. In the Perumal temple we were given theertham

 

7 History of Mountain

 

Long ago Adiseshan and Vayudevan fought very often among themselves to prove their powers. Because of their fight many disasters took place. Sages gave an idea to both to show their powerfulness. Accordingly Adisesha has to press and cover MountMeru with his hood and Vayu has to release the pressure by his valour. But Vayu couldn't do so. In anger instead of blowing the air, he ceased the air. All the living beings fainted for  want of air. Sages and Celestials requested Adisesha to release his hold. Vayu forcefully,  that the top of the mountain with the head of Adisesha were thrown into earth on three places with flesh and blood.

 

One is Thiruvannamalai, the next Srilanka and the other is Nagamalai in Thiruchengode.

 

8 About the Mountain

 

Since the sanctum of Gajamukha Pillayar is locared at the southern and and that of Arumuga Swami is at the north end,the first step toward the temple is located at the left side of the hill. And this place is called as Malaiyadivaram .

 

To the south of the first step is Vinayakar and on the north is Arumugar. Thaili Mandapam is very near to the first step. On the west of it lies the gigantic Nandhi in 7 feet length and 4 feet height. It looks at the Raja Gopuram, Up to this past the mountain is called Nandhi Malai. This is called as Basavan Temple. The part of the mountain above this is called as Naga Hills. And there we can see the sculpture of a Five Headed Adiseshan.

 

9 Nagar pallam

 

NandhiMalai and NagaMalai is split by a small valley called Nagar pallam. Nagarpallam is the first and foremost past of the huge mountain Nagamalai. On either sides of the steps one can see a huge Snake with 5 heads spreading its hood carrying the father of the world as Sivalingam. Over the head of the Snake it is believed that rivers Gange, Yamuna and Saraswathi flow as holy water. People worship this carved stone Snake with Kumkum and camphur. They also make Pongal for the same.

 

10 Arubadam Padi / Sathya Vakku Padi

 

Beyond this point after crossing some Mandapas, one has to cross special steps called Arubadam Padi (60 steps) or Sathya Vakku Padi(steps of truth) by the saint ArunagiriNadhar. And among the 1200 steps these 60 steps are considered to be the most important ones. The 60 steps of Sathya Padi is of same order and so there footsteps stands as a good example for the architectural excellence of Tamilians.

 

In Olden days there 60 steps were used by the people to solve, unsolvable cases and to know the reality in cases relating credits and bargains. The respective men are told to promise their statements on the 60th step and it is believed  that the people will only say the truth while standing on the 60th step. IT IS SAID THAT EVEN THE SUPREME COURT AT CHENNAI HAS ACCEPTED THE STATEMENTS THAT WERE DECLARED BY THE PEOPLE, STANEDING ON THE 60TH STEP.

 

11 Sthala Vruksham

 

Then follows many mandapams and beyond them the thing that comes to our sight in the temple of the Majestic Ingara Pillayar facing towards the north. Following one could visualise the majestic sky scrapping RajaGopura. This is the Historical Raya Tower[Raja Gopuram] and it is true that the age of this tower is above Four hundered and thirty two years. The sculptures with intrinsic designs inside this temple stands as the best example foe its sculptural beauty. The main door in 16 feet talks to us about the various myths as sculptures.

 

ELUPPAI TREE stands as the Sthala Vruksham the tree of the temple on the north side. The tree is very big.

12 POOJA TIMINGS

 

Daily Poojas

Kala Santi :         8:00 am

Uchi Kalam         :         12:00 noon

Sayarachai         :         5:00 pm

Abisakams conducted only on uchikalam

 

12a Pooja Fees Details

 

Special Tharisanam (malai koil) 10.00

Archanai   5.00

Two wheeler entry       10.00

Ear boring 10.00

Offering Hair       10.00

Nei Deepam      3.00

Abishegam         10.00

Special way Entrance fees           25.00

Van Entrance fees      10.00

marriage fees    25.00

four wheeler       20.00

Temple History   15.00

 

My note- We  took special darsan ticket so that we could be about 15 feet from the deity. We offered Neideepam and performed Archana.

 

13 Golden Chariot

 

Golden Chariot is at the Hill Temple. Golden Chariot Procession is Fee for the Rs.1500/-. The Golden Chariot procession is held on every day, except on Festival days.

 

14 Temple Bus Details

There are four Buses daily morning 7.30 A.M To Evening 7.30 P.M operating .(malai koil)

 

15 More on car festivals

 

Thirukodimada Chengundrur now called as Tiruchengode is celebrating Vaikasi visaga festival every year in a grand manner.

 

The special feature of the festival is there are four car chariots. The first is for Lord Vinayagar, the second belongs to Lord Sengottuvelavar, the third to Lord arthanareeswara and the fourth for Aadhikesava perumal.

 

15a Festivals during 12 Months

 

Chithirai     :         Chitra Paurnami

Vaigasi      :         Bathrakaliamman Kovil Thiruvizha and

Visaga Ther-Thiruvizhala

Aani :         Natarasar Thirumanjanam

Aavani       :         Vinayagar Chadhurthi

Purattasi    :         Manikovil Kethra Gowriviratham and

Navarathiri

Ippasi         :         Periyamariamman Kovil Thiruvizha and

Kandan Sashti- Surasamharam

Karthikai    :         Karthikai Deepam

Margazhi   :         Aaruthra Darisanam

Thai   :         Padithiruvizha

Masi :         Masimagam Vizha,Sivarathriri

Panguni     :         Uthira Vizha

 

16 Two Temple Annadhanam Scheme

 

Main Temple:  Arulmigu Arthanareeswarar Temple (Malai Kovil)

Annadhanam is carried out sincerely providing not less than 120 people daily.

Sub Temple:  Arulmigu Kailsanathar Temple 

Annadhanam is carried out sincerely providing not less than 60 people daily.

 

Annadhanam Menu

Rice            Sambar,     Rasam        Poriyal        Appalam

Buttermilk with Pickle

(and)

Every weekly Friday  Vada  &  Payasam

Every month Amavasai Vada  &  Payasam

The Spiritual (moral) classes are conducting for children on Sundays.

 

Annadhanam for 120 people (one day) Rs. 2500/-and special days (amavasai,friday) Rs.3100/-

 

The kailasanathar temple Annadhanam for 60 people (one day) Rs. 1500/-and special days (amavasai,friday) Rs.1850/-.

 

Main Temple  Arulmigu Arthanareeswarar Temple  (Malai Kovil)

Fixed deposit Rs. 25000/- (one day in the year as per wish of the donor from the interest) 

 

Sub Temple  Arulmigu Kailasanathar Temple

Fixed deposit Rs. 15000/- (one day in the year as per wish of the donor from the interest)

 

17 Administration

 

Assistant Commissioner/Executive Officer

Arulmigu Arthanareeswarar Temple

Arthanareeswarar Hills

Tiruchengodu - 637211

Tamilnadu

Phone No:04288 255925

 

My note- Some more interesting information after reading from Wikipedia are compiled below

 

18 Other names etc

 

Other names      Chengodu, Chemmalai, Nagamalai, Nandhimalai

Location    Tiruchengode

Primary deity      Ardhanarishvara

Temple tank       Ammayyappar Theertham

Poets          Sambandar,Ilango Adigal,Arunagirinathar

Birungi Munivar. Kaviraja Pandithar

Important festivals      Vaikasi Visagam

Architectural styles     Dravidian architecture

Website     http://www.arthanareeswarar.com

 

Thiru Kodimaada Chenkundrur is an ancient Hindu Temple known for its unique manifestation of Half Male Half Female Lord Arthanaareewarar (Shiva). The temple is situated on a hill near Tiruchengode in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu 120 km northeast of Coimbatore.

19 History-Sage Bhrinji incident

 

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 the Sage's body to stop him proceeding, but the sage forwarded. Lord Shiva recognized this drama 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 an 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.

 

19a Adiseshan incident

 

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 valour. 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 the top of the mountain with the head of Adisesha, thrown into earth on three places with flesh and blood and making it red and thus the name Chengodu. There is a 60 ft long snake carved on the hill, and hence the name as NAGAMALAI. Sambandar composed the Tiruneelakandapathigam here, to help rid fellow travellers of an affliction. Saint Arunagirinathar has also composed Thirupugazh on Lord Subramanya here. Muthuswamy Deekshitar has sung of this shrine in Ardhanareeswaram in Kumudakriya.

 


20 Architecture and festivals

 

On top of the hill, the main Gopuram (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. The compound wall with white colour and red stripes  identify the location of the  temple while coming in the road path.

 

 The main shrine is for Lord Shiva known as Maathoru Paagar and the Ambal his consort is known Baagampiriyaalammai. The image of the main deity is 6 feet in height, the right half of the image as male and left half of the image as female. Hence the main deity is also known as Ardhanareeswarar.

 

Subramanya known as Chengottu Velar is located on a flat surface atop the hill. This Chengottu Velar shrine is on the back side of the main sanctum sanctorum. The Theertham in this temple is called Sangu Theertham. Although the sanctum faces the West, entrance to it is from the South.

 

There is a water spring at the foot of the image, which is said to have been divinely manifested "Uli Padaa Uruvam". There are many mandapams on the way for people who alight steps to take rest. The sculptures found in the mandapam in front of the Chengottu Velar shrine are of intricate designs and workmanship.

 

"Artha Jaama Pooja" the late night worship service is considered to be of importance in this shetram. New moon days are also considered to be special events. The annual festival is celebrated in the Tamil month of Vaikasi.

 

21 Location

 

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. Tiruchengode is in south India in the state of Tamil Nadu, approximately 20 km from the City of Erode, 46 km from Salem, and 120 km from Coimbatore.

 

22 History

 

In ancient days, Tiruchengode was known as Thirukodimaadachenkundrur - one of the historic places in Tamil Nadu. It was also known as Thiruchengottankudi Nageswaram. It enshrines the Ardhanareeswarar (man-woman) manifestation of Shiva, representing the unity of Shiva and Parvati, is enshrined in this revered hill temple of great significance, accessible by a motorable road; this is an ancient temple mentioned in the Tamil work, Silappadikaram as Neduvelkunru. The red color of the hill is the reason that it was called Chengode. The image above, shows the view of the surrounding area from the top of the Tiruchengode hill. This temple is regarded as the 4th of the 7 Tevara Stalams in the Kongu Region of Tamil Nadu.

 

It is believed that Kannagi (Silappathikaram), after demolishing the city of Madurai by fire is called to Sorgam (Heaven) by her husband Kovalan and is in a wrath at the peak of the Tiruchengode hill.

   

 Tiruchengode has the pride of having the country's first Gandhi Ashram a tribute to India's great leader Mahatma Gandhi and opened by country's then viceroy Rajaji (Rajagopalachari).

 

23 Festivals

 

Tiruchengode's major Festival is the Sengottuvelavar Car Festival known as Vaigasi Visakam (Celebrated during the Tamil month of Vaikasi). The Festival is celebrated for 15 days, with separate cars carrying sengottuvelavar, arthanareeswarar and many small lords. This festival is very famous among the nearby surrounding towns and villages.

 

24 More on temple

 

Three worship services are offered each day. The late night worship service (Artha Jaama Pooja) is considered to be of importance here. New moon days are also considered to be special. Moliapalli annamar swamy temple is located 15 km from thiruchengodu.     This temple is regarded as the 4th of the 7 Tevara Stalams in the Kongu Region of Tamil Nadu.

 

Ancient walls, mandapams and sculptured pillars (now in a state of disrepair) add to the awe that this temple perpetuates, on top of the hill. The motorway and the renovated Rajagopuram are of recent origin. True to the name Nagagiri, there is a 60 ft long snake carved on the hill.

 

Although the sanctum faces the West, entrance to it is from the South. A majestic image of Ardanareeswarar adorns the sanctum. There is a water spring at the foot of the image which is said to have been divinely manifested (Uli Padaa Uruvam). There are inscriptions here from the times of Parantaka Chola, Gangaikonda Chola, the Vijayanagar and Mysore Kings and the Nayaks.

 

Kannagi after burning madurai finally reached thiruchengode hill and she was taken by pushpak viman and went to heaven. and kannagi vizhla is celebrated with pomp and glory every year.The Tiruchengottuvelavar shrine (to Subramanyar) attracts a number of pilgrims.Sambandar composed the Tiruneelakandapatikam here, to help rid fellow travellers of an affliction. Muthuswamy Dikshitar has sung of this shrine in Ardhanareeswaram in Kumudakriya.

 

25 Economy

 

Tiruchengode has a more industry oriented occupation rather than agriculture. Agriculture is not done here on a large scale due to lack of abundant water supply as it is solely dependent on the Cauvery river that flows near Pallipalayam, Erode and also dependant on the occasional rains. The major industries here are Rig Spares, Power Looms and Textile Industries, Bus and Lorry Body Building, Lathe Industry, Rice Mills,Granite Factory etc. Tiruchengode is well known for its Rig (Borewell) Lorries. Tiruchengode can be called "The Borewell Hub of India" as it manufactures the largest number of Borewell Vehicles operated in India.