Subrahmanya or Muruga is also known by a number of other names, including Karthikeya, Kumara, Saravanabhava and Velayudhan. The Sanskrit epics and Puranas seem to indicate that he was the eldest son of Shiva. Although he is popularly associated with the pan-Indian deity Skanda, there is evidence that Muruga worship, as seen today, has been a product of syncretism of an indigenous deity with Skanda.
Sati, the consort of Shiva immolated herself at Daksha Yaga, which was later destroyed by Shiva. Shakti was reborn as Uma, or Parvati the daughter of the mountain king Himavaan (the Himalayas). Shiva withdrew himself from the universe and engaged himself in yogic meditation in the Himalayas.
In the meanwhile, the demon Surapadman ravaged the earth and tormented its beings. It was realized by the gods that only the son born of Shiva and Parvati could lead the gods to victory over Tarakasuran, Surapadman and their demon companions. They plotted with Kaama, the lord of desire, to shoot a flower arrow at Shiva, as he sat in meditation, so as to make him fall in love with Parvati. When Kaama aimed his arrow at Shiva, he opened his third eye and burned him to ashes instantly. Upon hearing the pleas of Kama's wife Rati, he brought back Kama to life, in flesh and blood for her sake, and in a formless state for others.
The Devas manage to get Shiva married to Parvati (who was Dakshayani, reborn) by having Manmatha (also known as Kama), the god of love awaken him from his penance, incurring his wrath by opening his third eye of destruction, and being destroyed and resurrected. Shiva hands over his effulgence of the third eye used to destroy Manmatha to Agni, as he alone is capable of handling it till it becomes the desired offspring. But even Agni, tortured by its heat, hands it over to Ganga who in turn deposits it in a lake in a forest of reeds(Shara). The child is finally born in this forest(vana) with six faces (hence Muruka is also called Shanmugha and Sharavanabhava). He was raised by the six Kartika damsels. He thus got the name Kartikeya. Shanmukha, or Kartikeya the supreme general of the devas - Devasenadhipa, led the army of the devas to victory against the demons. The six sites at which Kartikeya sojourned while leading his armies against Surapadman are Tiruttanikai, Swamimalai, Tiruvavinankudi (Palani), Pazhamudirsolai, Tirupparamkunram and Tiruchendur. All these sites have ancient temples glorified by the tamil poems of Tirumurugaatruppadai of the Sangam period (prior to the 3rd century C.E)
Lord Muruga was also supposed to have given the meaning of the Pranava Mantra ( Ohmkara) to lord shiva himself.
Historically, Kartikeya enjoyed immense popularity in the Indian subcontinent. One of the major Puranas, the Skanda Purana is dedicated to him. In the Bhagavad-Gita (Chapter10, Verse 24), in the middle of the battlefied "Kurukshetra", Krishna explaining his omnipresence, says - "Of generals I am Skanda, the lord of war". His presence in the religious and cultural sphere can be seen at least from the Gupta age. Two of the Gupta kings, Kumaragupta and Skandagupta were named after him. He is seen in the Gupta sculptures and in the temples of Ellora and Elephanta. As the commander of the divine armies, he became the patron of the ruling classes. His youth, beauty and bravery was much celebrated in the Sanskrit works like the Katha-Saritsagara. Kalidasa chose his birth as the subject of one of his epics.
Subrahmanya married two deities, Valli and Devayani. The latter is identical to Devasena and the former is a daughter of a tribal chief. However, other Hindu legends state he is unmarried, and call him Kumaraswami, Kumara meaning a bachelor and Swami meaning God.
Muruga rides a peacock(so the names Mayilvahanan,Mayooravahanan etc) and wields a bow in battle. The lance called Shakthi(vel or dandha) is a weapon closely associated with him(so the names Velayudhan,Shakthidharan,Dhandhayudhan).The Shakthi was given to him by his mother, Parvati, and embodies her energy and power. The flag of his army depicts a rooster(so he got the name Kukkudadwajan). In the war, Shoorapadman was split into two, and was granted a boon by Murugan, to become the peacock, and the rooster.As Muruga is worshipped predominantly in South India, many of his names are of Tamil origin. These include Senthil the "Red" or formidable one; Arumuga the six-faceted one; Muruga; Guha; Maal-Marugan nephew of Vishnu and many others.
Subrahmanya Temples in Kottayam
Kidangoor Subrahmanya Swami Temple
Arppookkara Subrahmanya Swami Temple
Udayanapuram Subrahmanya Swami Temple
Perunna Subrahmanya Swami Temple
Velloor Subrahmanya Swami Temple
Thiruvanchoor Subrahmanya Swami Temple
Areekkara Subrahmanya Swami Temple
Idappady Ananda Shanmugha Temple
Iravimangalam Subrahmanya Swami Temple
Kumarakam Subrahmanya Swami Temple
Mankuzhi Subrahmanya Swami Temple
Oorasala Subrahmanya Swami Temple
Pandavam Subrahmanya Swami Temple
Iravimangalam Subrahmanya Swami Temple
Thottakam Subrahmanya Swami Temple
Vayala Subrahmanya Swami Temple
Kalikavu Subrahmanya Swami Temple
Pallam Subrahmanya Swami Temple