Every form of Hindu worshipping like pooja, festival, rituals and so on is inbuilt with symbolism and underlying profound spiritual meanings. On deep and sincere understanding one will be able to find out lot of meanings associated with it. Thaipooyam is one such festival celebrated in the name of Lord Subramanya(Kartik). The major attraction of this pooja is the offering of Kavadi to Lord Subramanya in many size and shapes by devotees.

Kavadiyattom is associated with the festival thaipooyam. Thaipooyam is celebrated n the Malayalam month Makaram (January-February), the day of the star Pooyam around Pournami (Full Moon).

The Story Behind

According to puranas, there was a demon named Tharakasuran who was troubling the Rishis and Saints. Lord Muruga was called by his parents Lord Shiva and Parvati and given the job of destroying the Asura. Lord Muruga set off with the blessings of his parents, to destroy the demon. He carried twelve weapons, eleven of which were given by his father Lord Shiva and the 'Vel' given by his mother Parvati. Lord Muruga destroyed Tharakasuran on the Pooyam Nakshatram day in the Tamil month of Thai and hence Thaipooyam is celebrated in all Murugan temples.

The Kavadi

The Kavadi has various shapes and sizes, from the simple shape of a wooden stick with two baskets at each end, slung across the shoulder, to the costly arched structure decorated with flowers, peacock feathers, velvet silk clothes of various colors.

The two baskets hanging at each end of the Kavadi contain milk(Palkavadi), rice (Annakavadi) , jaggery, rose water, chandanam(Sandal), tender coconut water, bhasmam, Sesame oil (Enna)etc. These materials used for filling the two kumbas at each end of the kavadi, normally comes as an offering to lord Muruga as a part of their vow.

Kavadi find its many size and shapes like, paal kavadi, tirtha kavadi,anna kavadi, chirta kavadi, pookavadi and so on.

Pookavadi Kept For Pooja At
Bhardrakaali Temple, Moothanthara

Kavadiyattom Performance on the streets

Kavadiyatom performance at
Valampiri Ganapathy Temple  Moothanthara ( Pookavadi )


The kavadipooja and kavadiyattom

The Kavadi-bearer is required to observe various rules between the time he takes up the Kavadi, and the day of the offering. A guru will be there to perform the pooja function and initiations. Normally the devotees wear red, saffron or yellow colored cloth. The Kavadi-bearer very often observes silence. He observes strict celibacy. Only pure, vegetarian food is taken; he abstains from all sorts of intoxicating drinks and drugs. Poorna vratha is taken by kavadi bearers.

Panchamirtham is the favorite prasadam of lord karthikeya. This delicious mouth watering prasadam contains ingredients like Ghee, Banana (Special Variety), Honey, Kalkandu (rock sugar),Jaggery, dates, cardamom etc and is prepared by the guru who is performing the pooja. The pooja, is done with a very spiritual fervor chanting the Tamil kavadi chindu (Muruka slokas, Tamil folk song). After pooja, devotees who are prepared to take the kavadi will seek the blessing from the guru and guru places the kavadi on their shoulders.

Kavadiyattom is performed by the devotees stepping and dancing to the rhythm and beats of thavil vadhyam and the auspious nagaswaram (nadaswaram). To add more flavor Pampa Vadhyam  also will be there.

Palakkad Moothan community and Kavadi pooja

Kavadi pooja is one of the most celebrated festivals among the Moothan folks of palakkad region. All major tharavads perform kavadi pooja in their houses. Every tharavads hold one or more sets of costly Chitra Kavadis, which is made from teak wood engraved with the religious symbols like OM , peacock , the hen, vel, snake and so on. Small kids are provided with small light weight chitrakavadi and pookavadi’s.

Pooja functions start normally around evening time and after the pooja kavadiyattom is performed by the devotees. Men normally take part in the kavadiyattom and for women folks it is a time of bakthi, family reunion and celebration. This kavadiyattom continues till mid night blocking the whole streets and junctions of Moothanthara area. After kavadiyattom all kavadi’s are kept at KannakiAmman temple premises under the responsibility and privilege of other caste peoples called Pandarams. Their main responsibility is to decorate, arrange  things and look after the kavadis from the rush and push of palani temple and to accompany and help other devotees. This community is equally honored by giving them money , food, clothes  and so on...


Koottakavadi or the bunch of kavadi’s move from kannaki temple in the very early morning. Devotees carrying kavadi’s reach palani by walking for the occasion of thaiypooyam resting at various intermediate sathrams at palakkad and tamilnadu where the devotees are given annadhanam and comfort. These annadhanam is organized by palakkad moothan community.

Social Importance

Kavadi pooja connects and well binds social setups and preserves ethnic traces, fills in with the bakthi and spiritual attainment to the moothan community folks and to our home town.

By Gopakumar.Radhakrishnan