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 in the whole of Asia. The hill top temple can be reached by climbing up 1206 steps, made of stone.
Tiruchengode taluk is located in Namakkal district, south of Salem district and east of Erode district.
"Theva Theertha Shivan Thiru Meniyin Pavanai Padiku Sila Solluvom Kovalitha Venpanira Kolamaai Navaleer Artha Nariyarayinar "
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.
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 veriety 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 continously). The priest who is doing pooja serves this holy water to the devotees as Prasadham.