Paadal Petra Sthalam - Namakkal District


Ardhanareeswarar, facing west


Bagampiriyaal, part of the main deity

Other Deities

Vinayaka, Adisesha, Sangameswarar, Vedanayaki, Kalabhairava, Saptha Maadhar, 63 Nayanmar, Vishnu Durgai, Kubera Lakshmi, Nritha Ganapathi, Pancha Bhootha Lingams, Selva Vinayaka, Nachiyar Ambal, Jeshtadevi, Sahasralingam, Kasi Viswanathar, Visalakshi, Natarajar. Inner Prakaram – Murugan, Nageswarar, Mukkoottu Vinayaka, Naalvar, Aadhi Kesava Perumal with Sreedevi and Bhoodevi, Anjaneya, Garuda

Thiruchengode is the abode of Lord Ardhanareeswarar who is seen in a half man and half woman form. The Muruga here is also very important and popular. The Thiruchengode Hill is about 500 meters high and is in a northeast-southwest direction. The pathway to climb up starts on the north side. The temple on top of the hill is reached by climbing 1200 steps. There are many Naga images on the way up and in one section the path is in the form of a snake. The 60th step in this climb is a significant one. It is said that in the olden days if one takes an oath standing on this step, it would be accepted by the court. Vehicles can go up all the way to the temple. The road to go up starts from the northeast side. The footpath from below reaches the top on the north side where a beautiful 5 tiered Rajagopuram leads inside. The gopuram is at a higher elevation than the temple inside and one has to climb down into the outer Prakaram. There are shrines for Sanhameswara, Sahasralingam, Kasi Viswanathar, and others in the outer Prakaram. The Golden Temple Chariot is also stationed in a shed in this Prakaram. After entering the Rajagopuram on the north side is the east-facing shrine of Lord Muruga inside the inner Prakaram. Muruga here is called Sengottu Velan. In front of the sanctum are Vinayaka, Arunagirinadar, and Nakkeeran idols. In the Velala Gounder Mandapam in front are beautiful pillars with carvings of Veerabadhra, Arjuna in penance, Hunter, A Gypsy woman, and others. Coming around the shrine on the southwest side is the temple of Aadhi Kesava Perumal with his consorts Sreedevi and Bhoodevi. This is considered a separate Temple and Mangalasasanam hymns have been rendered to the Lord by Nammazhwar. In the center of the inner prakaram is the sanctum sanctorum of the main deity who is in the form of half-man and half-woman – Ardhanareeswara. The costume on the main deity is a Dhoti on the male side and Saree on the female side. The idol is 6 feet tall and faces west. The hand on the male side holds a weapon (Dhandayudham) and the female side has the hand on the waist. The anklets on the feet are symbolic of the male and female versions. The eyes are said to show the male and female differences too. On the feet of the deity, water seeps out and is called Deva Theertham which is distributed to the devotees. In front of the main deity is an Emerald Shiva Lingam and the idol of Sage Brighu. The mandapam in front of the main deity has some excellent carvings on the pillars. The Utsava Mandapam is on top of a large Tortoise carving. The other names of Thiruchengode include Kodimaada Chenkundroor, Nagamalai, Urasagiri, Ardhanari Sthalam and Neduvelkundru. Further up on the hill near the peak are shrines for Anjaneya and Uchi Pillayar.

Holy Water (Theertham) – Deva Theertham (Ammayappar Theertham), Ganapathi Theertham, Shiva Theertham, Shakthi Theertham, Kumara Theertham, Papanasa Theertham, Bhairava Theertham, Naaga Theertham, Shanmuga Theertham, Soorya Theertham, Siddhar Mooligai Theertham, Kanniyar Theertham, Chandra Pushkarani Theertham included in a total of 108 Theerthams.

Sacred Tree (Sthala Vriksham) – Iluppai (Madhuca longifolia)


Thirugnanasambandar (7th Century CE) has rendered hymns for the lord here at Thiruchengode. Nammazhwar (8th Century CE) has rendered Mangalasasanam for Lord Vishnu here at Thiruchengode. Saint Arunagirinathar (15th Century CE) has rendered Thirupugazh Hymns for Lord Muruga here at Thiruchengode. Inscriptions belonging to Rajaraja I, Sundara Pandya, and Krishnaraja Wodeyar of Mysore are found here at Thiruchengode. The Mandapams were contributed to by the Nayak Kings. The Rajagopuram was completed in 1512 CE by Krishnadeva Raya of the Vijayanagar Empire. A British officer called Davis also contributed to the temple and his image can be seen carved on the Mukkottu Vinayaka Shrine.


Goddess Gowri of Kedarnath is believed to have worshiped the Emerald Lingam here and merged with the lord here at Thiruchengode to become Ardhanareeswara on the advice of Lord Aadhi Kesava Perumal. Sage Brighu was cursed by the goddess who sucked out part of his flesh when he ignored her presence while visiting Lord Shiva at Mount Kailash. The lord is believed to have blessed him with a third leg. He is seen here at Thiruchengode in front of the main deity. Once in a contest between Aadhisesha (King of Serpents) and Vayu (God of Wind), the former was thrown to earth by the release of a gust of heavy wind by Vayu, and his body is believed to have split into three pieces falling in three places spilling blood including Thiruchengode. Chengode means a Red Line and the hill here has a red cast giving its name.

Lord Muruga is believed to have come as a cowherd to the rescue of one poet called Gunaseelar when he was challenged by another arrogant poet called Pandipulavar. When the latter struggled to finish a poem, the lord finished it for him and made him accept defeat.


Thiruchengode hill is in the center of town and is visible from all around. Thiruchengode is about 35 kilometers northwest of Namakkal, about 45 kilometers southwest of Salem, and about 20 kilometers east of Erode.

Stay and Food

There are tea and snack shops in Thiruchengode and a few small restaurants. The closest are Erode, Namakkal and Salem.

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