Lord Subrahmanya / Muruga is an incarnation of Lord Siva. He was originated from the Holy Sparks of Lord Shiva's third eye. He is the younger brother of Lord Ganesha. He is also known as Dandapani / Dandayudhapani, Guha (one who lives in the cave), Kumara (Son / Youth / Prince / Pure Gold), Kartikeya (son of Krittika), Maha Sena (Great Army), Murugan, Saravana, Senthil, Shanmukha (Lord with six-faces), Skanda, Subrahmanya (infinite knowledge), Swaminatha, Vela and many other names.
Kaumaram is a sub-sect of Hinduism in which Lord Muruga is worshipped as a supreme deity. He is often referred to as "Tamil Deivam / Kadavul" (Deity of the Tamil speaking people) and is worshiped primarily in areas with Tamil influences, especially South India (Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra, Orissa), Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Malaysia and Singapore.
His six most important shrines (abodes) in India are the Aarupadai Veedu Temples (Thiruthani, Swamimalai, Pazhani / Palani, Pazhamudircholai, Thiruparamkunram and Tiruchendur), located in Tamil Nadu (South India). It is believed that many incurable diseases are cured, if one visits Palani Malai Temple and worships the Lord Shri Dhandayuthapani (Palani Andavar). In Sri Lanka, Hindus as well as Buddhists revere the sacred historical Nallur Kandaswamy Temple in Jaffna and Kathirgamam (Kataragamam) temple.
Lord Subrahmanya is also known as god of war. The principal weapon of Lord Subrahmanya is a spear (Vel). The Vel is an emblem of Power, and indicates that He is the ruler of this Universe. His Vahana (vehicle) is peacock. Goddess Valli and Deivayani (Devasena) are His two Divine consorts. They represent the power of action and the power of knowledge respectively.
His six heads represent the six Siddhis bestowed upon Yogis over the course of their spiritual development. The Skanda Purana or Kanda Puranam is a sacred book devoted to the glorification of Skanda (Lord Muruga) and His sportful routing out of the Asuras. The great battle between the celestial forces led by Skanda and the Asuras is an epic by itself. Kalidasa's Kumarasambhava is a famous Sanskrit poem on the birth of the war-god. The Tamil poem, "Thiruppugazh", by the saint Arunagirinathar, is held in as much esteem by the devotees of Skanda as the Vedas in Sanskrit. According to Thirumurukkarrupatai, he is described as a god of eternal youth.
Kukke Subramanya Temple is dedicated to Lord Subrahmanya situated in Karnataka (Dakshina Kannada District / South Kanara). In this temple Lord Muruga is worshipped as the lord of all serpents. Sri Adi Shankara camped here for a few days during his religious expedition (Digvijaya). Adi Shankaracharya referred to this place as 'Bhaje Kukke Lingam' in his 'Subrahmanya Bhujangaprayata Stotram'.
Subhrahmanya Bhujangam is a stotra composed by Sri Adi Sankara on Lord Subrahmanya at Tiruchendur. He extols the greatness of Tiruchendur and gives vent to His devotion to Lord Subrahmanya. It is also believed that Lord Muruga gave darshan to Adi Sankara at Thiruchendur.
Kaavadi / Kavadi is a semicircular decorated canopy supported by a wooden rod that is carried on the shoulders, to the Murugan Temple. Kaavadi Attam is a dance performed by the devotees during the ceremonial worship of Lord Muruga. It is often performed during the Thaipusam / Thaipoosam festival. Thaipusam is an important festival dedicated to the Lord Murugan. The word Thai-Pusam is a combination of the name of the Tamil month, Thai (January - February), and the name of a star, Pusam. On Thaipusam Lord Muruga received the "Vel" (Spear) from His Mother, Goddess Parvathi to defeat the Asura (evil demon) Soorapadma. The motive of Thaipusam festival is to pray to God Muruga to receive his grace so that bad traits are destroyed.
Thaipusam festival is also celebrated outside India. It is a public holiday in several states in Malaysia.
Idumban was the first creator of Kavadi / Kavady. When Sage Agasthya asked Idumban (an asura) to bring two hillocks - Shivagiri and Shaktigiri hills - he kept them on his shoulders in the form of a Kavadi. He was carrying two hills to Pothigai as commanded by Sage Agasthya. Idumban carried them upto Tiru Avinan Kudi (scriptural name of Palani / Pazhani) and put the hills down to take some rest.
When Idumban resumed his journey, he tried to pick up the hill, he was unable to lift it. On seeing a boy at the top of the hill, he asked the boy to get down but the boy did not oblige. He tried to attack the boy but failed in his efforts. In the battle Idumban was killed. Idumban's wife Idumbi immediately understood that her husband could be killed only by Lord and cried helplessly begging the Lord. Then Lord Muruga appeared on His peacock vahanam (vehicle) and restored Idumban to life again. Idumban prayed that whoever carried on his shoulders the kavadi - signifying the two hills - and visited the Palani temple should be given the privilege of standing sentinel at the entrance to the hill. Since then, pilgrims to Palani temple bring their offerings on their shoulders in a Kavadi. The custom has spread from Palani temple to all Muruga shrines worldwide.
Batu Cave (Pathu Malai) is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India, dedicated to Lord Murugan. It is an iconic and popular tourist attraction in Malaysia (near Kuala Lumpur). Batu Caves has three main caves featuring temples and Hindu shrines. Its main attraction is the large statue of the Lord Subramanya at the entrance. Paintings and scenes of other Hindu Gods can also be seen in the Ramayana Cave. Batu Caves is a place where you should not miss on your visit to Malaysia. Thaipusam is the most famous celebration happens at the Batu Caves.
Lord Muruga gives material and spiritual prosperity and success in every undertaking of His devotees, even if they show a little devotion to Him.