Lord Kartikeya, the son of Lord Shiva
and Goddess Parvati
, is one of the most delightful gods of the Hindu pantheon. He is called by various names such as Subramanya, Muruga, Kumar, Skanda, Shanmuga and Guha. According to Hindu mythological stories, Kartikeya was created out of six sparks from the third eye of Lord Shiva and accordingly he has six faces. Lord Shiva created him to destroy a demon named Soorapadma. Lord Kartikeya rides on a divine peacock and the divine spear is his weapon.
In the eastern parts of the country - particularly in West Bengal
- Lord Kartikeya is known as Kartik. He is considered the most handsome among all the gods, an eternal bachelor, the destroyer of all ills and the commander-in-chief of the army of gods. He is said to have killed the demon Tarakasura and saved the universe from eternal darkness.
In South Indian temples, he is depicted with two consorts, Devasena - the celestial princess and daughter of Lord Indra
- and Valli, hunter king Nambirajan's daughter. Major shrines dedicated to Lord Kartikeya, known as ‘Aaru Padai Veedu' are situated at Palani
, Swami Mala, Thiruthani, Thiruchendur, Pazhamudircholai, and Thiruparankundram.
Thaipusam, Panguni Uthiram, Vaikasi Visakam and Skanda Sashti are the popular festivals dedicated to Kartikeya in South India. In West Bengal, Kartik is worshipped individually during Kartik Puja and also along with Goddess Durga
, Goddess Lakshmi
, Goddess Saraswati
and Lord Ganesh
during Durga Puja
, the most famous poet of Sanskrit
literature, wrote an epic on the birth of Kartikeya named Kumarasambhavam.