Kavadi is associated with Lord Muruga. Kavadi and Thaipusam are inseparable Worship of Lord Muruga are intense and fierce. The word kavadi is made of Kaavu, and Thadi, where Kaavu denotes the curve, and the word Thadi denotes the word Log. Thus Kavadi is made of a log that is to be carried across the shoulders and on top of the Kavadi, there would be several decorations.
Legend of Kavadi:
Once Lord Shiva asked the Sage Agastiyar to carry two important hills, Shivagiri and Shaktigiri, to be installed in South India. Sage Agastya, bestowed the duty to his disciple “Idumban” to carry the hills. Idumban carried both the hills on his shoulders, and while he was traveling, he felt exhausted. He kept the hills near a pond and alighted for some time. When he wanted to lift the hills again, he was unable to move an inch. He also saw a small boy on top of the hills, playing and rejoicing. He tried to chase the little boy away, but to his vain, he was unable to do so.
Idumban got very angry and fought with the small boy, who is none other than Lord Muruga. Unable to recognize as God, Idmban fought fiercely. To his surprise, he saw the boy more powerful than himself. Then he realized it was God himself, who is playing with him. He regretted his fault and pleaded to Lord Muruga. Lord Muruga also blessed Idumban, and in Palani hills, the hill next to Lord Muruga is allocated for Idumban. People who visit Palani would make a visit to this hill too.
Types of Kavadi:
A simple kavadi is made by attaching a decorated arch to the wooden log. Many devotees carry the Kavadi, where they also place many things which are to be used for the prayers, and sacred veneration.
It is the milk pot, which is carried by their devotees. It is usually the fresh milk from the cows, where they carry it from the entire stretch of their homes to the temples.
Rosewater is one of the fragrant things used in worship. Many people would pray to God, and as the symbol of their devotion, they carry the pot filled with aromatic rose water.
When the Kavadi is decorated with flowers, it is called Pushpa kavadi. Many flowers are used to decorate the Kavadi. The flowers are then given to Lord Muruga.
Peacock is the Vahana or the animal mount of Lord Muruga. To commemorate that, many devotees would use peacock feathers in their Kavadi. Using peacock feathers like a fan, and placing the bunch of feathers near the Lord is in practice for a long time.
Significance of Kavadi:
The practice of carrying Kavadi is there since time immemorial. It is signified as carrying the burden of one’s shoulders. It requires a lot of determination and devotion to carry the Kavadi. Usually, people would carry the Kavadi as groups as a big procession. It is a mix of faith devotion and their unfathomable devotion towards Lord Muruga. Many people feel that it is Lord Muruga himself who carries the burden on behalf of his devotees.
It has a great spiritual significance which enhances the confidence of the devotees, where people believe that Lord Muruga himself will rule the body, mind, and soul and lead them to the special path of divinity. While carrying Kavadi, strict penance and devotion should be followed. It requires strict food constrains. Abstinence from sex. Good meditation and living a simple life on those days.
When the mind, body and soul are perfectly aligned, it gives a person a different level of concentration and newer wisdom. Many ailments are even cured, A newfound energy is obtained among the devotees. Thus Kavadi plays a significant role in Lord Muruga’s worship.