There are many types of Kavadi’s that can be seen during Thaipusam and similar festivals. They differ in form, build and size. The list of the types of Kavadi in this post may have other names depending on the locality and country.
Types Of Kavadi
- Paal Kavadi
- Thol Kavadi
- Alavu Kavadi/Vel Kavadi
- Koodam Mulle Kavadi
- Vette Mulle Kavadi
- Alangara/Mayil Kavadi
- Theertha or Panneer Kavadi
- Karambu Toddi Kavadi
- Pushpa Kavadi
- Idumban Kavadi
- Paravai Kavadi
Paal Kavadi’s are pots filled with milk that are carried over the shoulders by devotees of Lord Murugan. At times, the Kavadi is also decorated with peacock feathers and picture of Lord Murugan.
Thol Kavadi is the sort of kavadi that devotees normally carry on their shoulders. It has a semicircular top with peacock feathers, glitters, simple ornaments, and flowers. A tiny brass pitcher filled with blessed milk is connected to the Thol Kavadi during Thaipusam. The load on the devotee’s shoulders is balanced by an inverse “T” wood or steel frame.
The Alavu Kavadi (Vel Kavadi) is a type of kavadi that includes piercing the tongue or cheek with a spear, also known as the Vel. The basic idea behind this style of kavadi is to restrict the person performing the ritual from speaking and to generate eternal endurance, energy, and focus towards Lord Muruga at that time.
Koodam Mulle Kavadi
Koodam Mulle Kavadi are flowers, small pots of milk or fruits which are tied to hooks and are then pierced on the body of devotees as a form of offering. The flowers include but are not limited to roses of different colours. The fruits include but are not limited to coconuts, oranges, apples, lime and even durians.
Vette Mulle Kavadi
Vette Mulle Kavadi is one of the most common types of kavadi, which involves the devotees having hooks pierced into their body and then attached to rope lines. The rope is either pulled by another person or is attached to a chariot.
The Alangara Kavadi is the most commonly seen Kavadi during Thaipusam. Peacock feathers, flowers, and other colourful embellishments adorn the kavadi nicely. A statue of Lord Muruga or other deities are normally at the centre of this kavadi. Hooks or spears are attached to this kavadi, which are then pierced into the devotees’ bodies. As part of the offering, a tiny pot of milk is connected to the kavadi. The frame is normally light, but after the ornaments are attached, the weight can quickly add up. Some of the kavadi’s are decorated with lights which are most commonly observed in Ipoh, Malaysia. Ipoh is know to have some of the most beautiful lighted Mayil Kavadi’s. Despite the heavy weight of most Mayil Kavadi’s, the determination and utmost devotion gives unbelievable strength to devotees in order to complete their journey.
Theertha or Panneer Kavadi is similar to the Paal Kavadi. Devotee will carry a pot of sanctified water or rose water on their shoulder or head.
Karambu Toddi Kavadi
The Karambu Toddi Kavadi is performed by new parents as a form of gratitude to Lord Muruga for their prayer for a child. The parents would carry their child in a bundle of cloth held by a pole of sugar cane.
Pushpa Kavadi similar to the Thol Kavadi is decorated with various flowers and carried over the shoulder. Those who carry the Kavadi will frequently have a tiny spear pierced to their tongue and face.
Paravai Kavadi is most commonly seen in Sri Lanka, Kerala and more. It is not used by devotees in Malaysia possibly due to regulations. Devotees get hooks pierced in the skin of their backs. The devotee is then suspended from a beam attached to a vehicle and driven from the starting temple to the destination temple. The beam would swing with the movement (to portray a bird/swan/peacock). Due to the nature of this Kavadi, it is only performed by men.
Idumban Kavadi consists of pots filled with milk and suspended on rods. The rods are carried on the shoulders of the devotees. The name of the Kavadi came from the name of Lord Muruga’s great devotee Idumban (also known as Kudumban). It is known as one of the earliest form of Kavadi’s which is becoming increasingly popular as of recent.
Do you have pictures or videos of the above types of Kavadi’s? Did we miss any types of Kavadi’s? Are any of the above information inaccurate?
Feel free to contact us if you’d like to contribute.