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Offering Kavadi to Lord Muruga is of great significance as it brings peace and good luck. The myth of taking Kavadi is associated with Lord Murugan testing Idumban of his determination and duty towards his Guru. The Kavadi that each devotee carries symbolizes his/her burden like the two hills carried by Idumban. It is believed that the burden in the life of a devotee who carries Kavadi is lessened by Murugan. Taking Kavadi to Murugan temples during Thaipusam is considered highly auspicious.

The usual Kavadi is a small wooden structure with an arch covered with a piece of cloth and is held on shoulders. The two sides of the Kavadi are covered with feathers of peacock – the vehicle of Lord Muruga. The sides also contain two bags to carry offerings to the Lord. Some devotees beg at houses to collect the offerings to the Lord. But today most people fill the bags on their own.

The person who takes the Kavadi should observe certain austerities. The austerities start with food. Most Kavadi bearers avoid non-vegetarian food, liquor and other intoxicating objects. Orange and yellow are the preferred dress color. These colors are associated with Lord Muruga. The person on the day of journey holds a cane in his hand.

Some Kavadi bearers insert ‘vel’ (small lances) and hooks on the body. No reference of such practice is found in any holy scriptures. But people do such antics to please Lord Muruga.

Today, artistic talent comes to the fore when it comes displaying Kavadis and the shape and structure of Kavadis have undergone sea change. Different types of Kavadi are offered by devotees at the Batu Cave Temple in Malaysia. And some of latest Kavadis are mindboggling.

In spite of all these changes, even today one finds people taking the simple traditional Kavadi and begging in South India to go to Palani Temple in Tamil Nadu.




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