Tiruchengode Temple; high and mighty
Today, when you take a bus or drive up the ghat road, or even climb the 1,200 steps to the top of the 1,900 feet hill in Tiruchengode in Namakkal district, you are going to shake your head in wonder at the ancients who built an architectural gem here. They did not just put together a simple structure; they set out to impress with intricate workmanship on walls, mandaps and pillars.
Once on top of the hill, the main gopuram (tower) with five tiers is on the north side of the hill. There are two shrines: the main one to Lord Shiva known as Maathoru Paagar and another Lord Subramanya known as Chengottu Velar.
The right half of the 6 ft main deity is male and left half is female. Called Ardhanareeswarar, it is one of the 64 manifestations of Shiva, and represents the unity of Shiva and Parvati. There is a water spring at the foot of the image which is said to have been divinely manifested.
Chengottu Velar shrine is on the back side of the main sanctum sanctorum. Saint Arunagirinathar has also composed Thirupugazh on Lord Subramanya here. It is believed that Kannaki, after burning Madurai, reached Tiruchengode hill and she was taken by pushpak viman to heaven. Kannagi vizhla is a grand annual celebration.
Tiruchengode Central Bus Stand in Tamilnadu is about 4 km from the temple.
Nearest railway stations: Erode Junction Railway Station, via Arthanareeswarar Hill Temple Road is about 26 km and Namakkal Railway Station, via Tiruchengode - Namakkal - Trichy Rd, about 41 km.
Nearest airport: Coimbatore Airport, via Salem-Coimbatore Highway, about 129 km.