Story of Soorasamharam
According to Skanda Purana, the demons under the leadership of Surapadman, Simhamukha and Tarakasura defeated the Devas and took over the earth. They started harassing the human beings and there was Adharma all around.
Lord Brahma, the demi-gods and humans prayed to Lord Shiva to intervene and to put an end to the demons Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati gave birth to Lord Muruga – the most handsome god and the commander of the Devas.
Lord Muruga then appeared to fight the demons and the fight continued for six days and killed all the attendants and friends of demon Surapadman. On the final day, there was intense battle between Muruga and Soorapadman.
Finally, Lord Muruga pierced the body of Surapadman with his Vel (lance). Suddenly, demon Surapadman transformed into a huge mango tree but Lord Muruga cut the tree vertically into two pieces with His Vel.
The two pieces transformed into a peacock and cock. Lord Muruga took the peacock as his vahana or vehicle and the cock was given a place on his banner. This event is popularly known as Soorasamharam.
The famous ‘Vetrivel’ chanting that takes place on the Shasti day is associated with the victory of Skanda over demon Soorapadman.
Soorasamharam in Temples
The day is of great significance at the Lord Muruga Temples in South India, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa and Sri Lanka.
Skanda Sashti and Soorasamharam at Tiruchendur Murugan Temple
The most famous Soorasamharam festival takes place at the Thiruchendur Murugan Temple – the divine action of Lord Muruga annihilating the demons is re-enacted on the day and it is witnessed by thousands of people.
Legend has it that Skanda killed Demon Surapadman (Soorasamharam) on the sixth day of a battle with his ‘Vel’ or lance at the spot where the Thiruchendur Murugan Temple is located.
Thiruchendur Murugan Temple is one of the six important temples in Tamil Nadu – it is the second of the Arupadai Veedu Temples.
After the annihilation of demon Surapadman, Muruga desired to worship his father Lord Shiva. He summoned Mayan, the divine architect, who built the Tiruchendur Temple.
Soorasamharam at Tiruchendur Murugan Temple attracts thousands of people.
The main events in the war between Muruga and Demon Soorapadman are depicted on the seashore in the evening of the Soorasamharam day.
When thousands of devotees in unison chant ‘Vel Vel Vetrivel – it gives goosebumps, you get the feeling that you want to cry – tears of devotion trickles down from eyes of devotees gathered to witness the event.
The festival ends the next day with Thirukalyanam – Murugan wedding Devasena.