Lord Skanda-Murugan

Senthil Andavar murthy

Tiruchendur Kanda Sashti

Skanda Sasti: Skanda's Six-Day War

Skanda Sasti was celebrated in Tamil Nadu and around the world on 31 October to November 7 in 1997. Tiruchendur Murugan was the hands-down favorite in a colossal match witnessed by upwards of 500,000 devotees on the sixth day on the sea beach at Tiruchendur. Patrick Harrigan was there and filed this report:
Tiruchendur Devasthanam and seashore

(Tiruchendur, South India, 6 November) A capacity crowd of half a million fans gathered here yesterday to witness the heavyweight championship bout of the year--the annual Tiruchendur Skanda Sasti Surasamharam. Morning monsoon rains drenched the town but not the spirits of fans who came to see the hometown favorite -- Lord Senthil Andavar alias Tiruchendur Murugan -- square off against asuran heavyweight champion Surapadman 'The Titan.'

The afternoon brought overcast skies and cool ocean breeze -- ideal conditions both for warring parties and for spectators alike. Ample foresight by police and Devasthanam authorities, combined with the devotional atmosphere pervading the seabeach battlefield, resulted in the most peaceful and orderly Surasamharam contest that this correspondent has ever witnessed at Tiruchendur. Asuran forces fire live rockets at Senthil Andavar

Surapadman arrived on a huge palanquin borne by his henchmen looking every inch like the next world champion. Standing on the beach before the Devasthanam, he challenged Śrī Subrahmanya 'The Kid' to battle by firing the first volley of rockets.

Surasamharam: Ritual combat at Tiruchendur The proud asuran did not have long to wait as Senthil Andavar soon emerged accompanied by the adoring jubilation of his assembled throng of gaily-dressed fans and devotees. Looking supremely serene and self-confident, Swami strode forward and stood his ground as the challenging army of Surapadman first charged and then ran circles around Murugan and His gang. One by one the Titan's captains fired live missiles at Swami and company only to see the missles turn and rush back at them.

Going into the fourth round, the score was Subrahmanya 3, Surapadman 0. Recognizing that this could be his last chance for glory, the Titan himself rushed at the Kid but could not come near. Finally to the crowd's delight, Subrahmanya Swami dealt Surapadman a decisive blow in the fourth round and the judges ruled it a knockout. Insiders claim that Swami could have killed Surapadman with a single blow but graciously chose to teach the Titan a lesson first before transforming him into a fighting cock upon the god's own battle flag or kodi.

Tiruchendur Kanda Sashti Mandapam: Surasamharam

Utsavar murthy in procession to wed Teyvanai Amman the day after the Surasamharam The evening after the big fight, Swami lovingly accepted a new role as bridegroom to god Indra's own daughter, the brilliant Thevanai Amman. Their anabashed show of affection during the holy rites melted the hearts of many veteran observers.

Local tradition explains that after the decisive battle with Surapadman and His wedding to Teyvanai Amman at Tiruchendur, Śrī Subrahmanya Swami faces directly towards Sri Lanka before crossing the sea and walking to Kathirkamam to meet Valli Amma, a girl of the local Vedar hunting community. Despite Subrahmanya Swami's record of all wins and no defeats, local oddsmakers say that the doe-eyed princess Valli of Kathirkamam is a clear favorite. If so, then the All-India Champion Subrahmanya Swami may finally meet His match in the spirited Vedda maiden Valli Amma.

Tiruchendur Arulmigu Subramanya Swami Devasthanam
Traditions of Tiruchendur
Tiruchendur.org an official website of Śrī Subrahmanya Swami Devasthanam, Tiruchendur