Story of Idumban & Kavadi Aattam in Murugan Temples

Read story of Idumban and why Kavadi Attam is performed in Murugan Temple. Idumban, an asura in Hinduism, is prominently featured in Tamil mythology. He is known to be a devout follower of the Hindu God Murugan or Kartikeya and is revered by devotees as a protector of Murugan's temples in Tamil Nadu. Additionally, Idumban is closely associated with the sacred ritual of Kavadi Aattam, which is considered essential in honoring him.

Story of Idumban Asura 

Legend has it that Sage Agastya desired to have two hills, Shivagiri and Shaktigiri, transported to his dwelling in the south. To accomplish this, he entrusted his disciple, the asura Idumban, with the task. Idumban ingeniously carried the hills slung across his shoulders using a tool called the kavadi. This tool was crafted from the staff of Brahma, serving as a pole, and two divine serpents, serving as ropes. When Idumban grew weary from the weight of the hills, he rested the kavadi near Palani to regain his strength.

Meanwhile, Murugan, who had journeyed to Palani after losing the jnana palam (fruit of wisdom) to his brother Ganesha, laid claim to the hills. However, he was unable to lift them and continue his journey. Idumban confronted the deity, but in the ensuing battle, he was defeated. However, upon the intervention of his wife, Idumbi, and Agastya, Idumban was brought back to life. Grateful for his resurrection, Idumban expressed his desire to serve as the dvarapala (door-guardian) of Murugan's shrine for eternity.

Why Kavadi Aattam is placed in Idumban Temple? 

Muruga blessed Idumban that Idumban will be first worshipped by devotees visiting Palani Murugan Temple. The temple of Idumban will be in between the mountains and devotees who come with Kavadi Aattam will place the Kavadi in Idumban Temple.  Idumban would stand guard at the base of the hill and ordained that every devotee who worshipped at the site must first pay homage to his dvarapala.

Since then devotees carrying kavadi usually place the kavadi in Idumban temple. This ritual was first started in Pazhani Temple in Tamil Nadu and later the Kavadi Aattam became popular in temples of Murugan across the world.



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