Arthanareeswarar Photo Gallery
The story about how Lord Murugan left ThiruKaiyilai with anger due to the controversy that happened over a simple fruit and arrived at Naagasalam is well known. Ever since the departure of Lord Muruga from Kailasam, his mother, Goddess Parvathy was smitten with grief. She portrayed a picture of sorrow and distress. In order to cheer her up, Lord Shiva brought the goddess to a beautiful garden called Thaaruga vanam. They were enchanted by the beauty of the garden. Lord Shiva noticed a tender tendril of the Jasmine flower plant coiled and twined around the trunk of a huge tree. When he pointed out this to Goddess Parvathy, she blushed and covered his eyes with her hands.

The minute the eyes of the Lord were blocked, the entire universe blacked out for those few moments. Once Parvathy removed her hands, the darkness vanished and the universe was set right again. During the interval when the eyes of the Lord were covered, the patterns of ritual of worship of the Maharishis were altered. They pleaded with the Lord to ensure that such an incident never took place again. Goddess Parvathy, addressing the issue, requested Lord Shiva that if such incidents were to be avoided in the future, both of them must converge into one Supreme Being. The only way it could be done was to accommodate her within the Divine body of the Lord.
According to legend, Lord Shiva accepted the request of the Goddess. He instructed her to leave at once, and undertake deep penance at the Kothar peak in the Himalayas, arrive at Kasi and worship the Vishwanatha Swaroopam, and go next to Kanchi and offer penance at the shores of the Kambai river at which point he would appear before her. Obeying his words, the Goddess underwent difficult penance for a long period of time and arrived at her destination. Lord Shiva appeared before her, and announced that in order to become his better half, she still needed to undertake a penance at Thiruvannamalai. Lord Shiva appeared before her again at the end of the Tamil month of Karthikai and informed her that Lord Muruga, for whom she was undergoing all these difficulties, was staying at a temple in the Kongu Mandalam above the Kodimaada Chengundru Mountain. Saying that it would be the right place for them to stay, he persuaded the Goddess to go there and continue her penance. Eager to see her son again and become her husband’s better half, the Goddess travelled from Thiruvannamalai and arrived at Naagasalam, also known as Thirukodi Maada Chengootroor.

The goddess decided that the holy water place present West of Lord Murugan’s temple and East of the olive tree, was the right place for her. She stood on top of the Lotus flower on the Holy Water and continued chanting her prayer for many years. At the end of her penance, the Lord Shiva appeared before her. Saying that men and women are equal and there is no Shiva without Shakthi and there is no Shakthi without Shiva, he sacrificed the left side of his body to accommodate the goddess, thus taking the form of the half male and half female Arthanaareeswarar at that very spot. Thus, the goddess of that place came to be called as Baagapiriyaambal.

Since the goddess took one half of her husband’s body she was also called as Baagayee. In due course, that name mutated and was also called as Baavayee. Devotees who wanted to name their children after the gods called their male child Arthanaree and their female children Baavayee.