Vaikasi Visakam is the day of incarnation of Lord Muruga. This occasion remains an extraordinary day for Muruga worship. Vaikasi Visakam is celebrated with piety and enthusiasm when the full Moon coincides with the auspicious Vishaka star in the Tamil month of Vaikasi (May–June). Lord Muruga is a unique God, who is a rare combination of high valor and supreme intelligence, and his worship can bestow people with strength, self-confidence, and success. Devotees offer him worship, chant hymns in his praise, observe austerities on special occasions like Vaikasi Visakam, and seek his blessings.
Legend of Muruga’s Birth
Muruga is said to have appeared from the blazing flame that emerged out of the third eye of Lord Shiva, principally for annihilating evil and establishing Dharma, the righteousness on earth. The advent of Muruga became necessary for saving the universe from the atrocities of the powerful demon, Surapadma, who obtained many boons, became quite powerful and started oppressing even the Gods. The compassionate Shiva opened his third eye, and a blazing flame emerged out of it. It was carried by the celestial beings to the sacred pond Saravana Poigai, where, the fire transformed into six sparks and six handsome babies emerged out of them. As divine mother Parvati very fondly hugged the six young ones together, they all merged into a single form, with six heads, as Muruga. Also called in many other names such as Karthikeyan, Subramanya, Skanda, his day of birth is celebrated on Vaikasi Visakam.
Then, Muruga set out on his mission of ridding the universe of evil forces. Armed with the divine Vel, the lance, he led an army of celestial beings against the demons, fought and subdued the mighty Surapadma and his henchmen. That was on a Shasti day, the 6th day of the waxing moon in the Tamil month of Aippasi (October–November) and the occasion is observed as Skanda Shasti.
Importance of Palani Murugan Temple
Muruga worship is done extensively all over Tamilnadu and also beyond. There are also many temples dedicated to the Lord in India and abroad. Six of them, all located in Tamilnadu, is considered especially significant and holy. These are believed to be connected to the various vital anecdotes of his life and are referred to commonly as Aaru Padai Veedu, the six unique abodes of Lord Muruga. Of these, the hill temple of Palani is considered very sacred. It is this hilly place that young Muruga is believed to have made as his residence, after his playful tiff with his family over a mango fruit.
Vaikasi Visakam celebration in Palani Murugan Temple
Big festivities take place in the Muruga temples during Vaikasi Visakam. Special mention should be made in this regard about the famous Palani Murugan temple. Brahmotsavam, a grand 10-day annual festival is celebrated during the period. The festival begins with the hoisting of the holy flag in the temple, and the well-decorated idols of the Lord and his consorts are taken daily in processions. While the marriage of Lord Muthukumaraswamy (Muruga) with Goddesses Valli and Deivanai will be celebrated on one of the days, a grand chariot procession will be held on the sacred Vaikasi Visakam day. Devotees in huge numbers visit the Palani temple on the occasion of Vaikasi Visakam, offer prayers to Muruga and participate in the special poojas performed. Many also carry milk pots, Kavadis, while some pierce their faces, tongues, and body with Vels (lances) and go on Padayatra to the temple, by covering the entire distance on foot.