This sculpture shows the warrior god Skanda in a temple carving at the Brihadeeswara temple in Thanjavur. Here he is shown riding his mount, the peacock, with his two wives flanking him. In other common representations he often has six heads, and holds spears or bow and arrows. He is also called Kartikeya, Subrahmanya and Murugan in south India.
|Skanda in the centre, with his wives Valli and Deivayanai|
In south India Skanda is also known as Murugan. However, it is conjectured that Murugan was originally a separate Dravidian god who has been later assimilated into Shaivaite mainstream. Murugan is a chief deity of the ancient Tamils of South India. Murugan is not only a very popular god among South-Indians, but is also reverred by Sri Lankan Hindus and Buddhists.