Exquisitely carved wooden Kavadi panels from Tamil Nadu
A kavadi is a portable wooden altar, which is carried on the shoulders (a pole is slotted between the two panels) by the devotees during pilgrimages and processions. Kavadi are used in yearly rituals, especially in the south of India for Murugan, also known as Kartikeya. Murugan is the eldest son of Shiva and Parvati, and brother of Ganesha. He is also the Hindu god of war. He is depicted in the centre on the front panel seated on his vahanna (a peacock) and with his consorts either side of him. On the back panel Murguan is again depicted but on this he is standing with a spear, and with his brother Ganesha, the god of new beginnings and the remover of obstacles to his side. The legs of both panels are carved as parakeets and there are also parkeets on both sides of the upper part of the kavadi.