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The Story of Muruga and Valli

Valli is the wife of Hindu God Muruga and the devotional hymn, Tirumurukarruppatai, narrates the love story of Muruga and Valli. Muruga, the Son of Lord Shiva and Parvati, is popularly known as Kartik in North India. He is the commander of the Gods and is one of the most popular deities in Dravidian culture.

Legend has it that Nambi, a tribal chief, who was blessed with many sons longed for a girl child. Once Nambi stumbled upon a hole that was dug to find roots and yams in the forest. In the hole he found a beautiful girl child and she was named Valli as she was found in the hole dug for yams and roots. The tribal chief brought her up as his daughter and she grew up to be a beautiful young lady.

Young Valli was assigned with the duty of guarding the millet farm of the tribe. Lord Muruga who was residing on the Palani hills came to know about the beauty of Valli from Sage Narada.

Muruga took the form of a young hunter and tried to impress Valli. But she was hesitant and their first meeting was interrupted by the arrival of Nambi and his sons. Muruga took the form of a tree and went unnoticed.

Muruga then took the form of an old man and asked her for food. She fed him. Satisfied with her, the old man asked her to marry him. But she was hesitant.

Suddenly a rogue elephant came to the scene and a scared Valli took refuge in the arms of the old man. Muruga then revealed his true form and Valli was happy to be the beloved of Muruga. Legend has it that Lord Ganesh took the form of the rogue elephant to help His brother.

Muruga and Valli continued to meet in the millet field and their love blossomed. Soon the harvest time approached and Valli was taken back to the village by Nambi, the tribal chief. Nambi’s wife soon found out that Valli was in love with someone but she would not divulge his name.

When Muruga came to the millet field, he found it deserted. He thought that Nambi was coming between His love. He then went to the village and carried Valli away to the hills.

Nambi and his army marched toward the hills thinking some imposter had kidnapped his daughter. On the hills, the army had to face Muruga’s Rooster. It crowed so hard that the entire army including Nambi was killed.

Valli could not bear the death of her father. Sage Narada then reminded Muruga that the consent of the parents were necessary for the love to be truly divine.

Muruga then brought back the dead to life and revealed himself before Nambi. The tribal chief who worshipped Muruga was only happy to give his daughter in marriage to his Lord.

Symbolically the story celebrates devotion, love, passion and lust without the barriers of any religious restraints. Instead of staying high away from the people, divinity mingles with them.