Hindu god Karthik or Kartikeya, son of Lord Shiva— also called Skanda and Subrahmanya; called Murugan in Tamil)— is a popular Hindu deity among Tamil Hindus, and is worshiped primarily in areas with Tamil influences, especially South India, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Malaysia, Singapore and Reunion Island. His six most important shrines in India are the Arupadaiveedu temples, located in Tamil Nadu. In Sri Lanka, Hindus as well as Buddhists revere the sacred historical Nallur Kandaswamy temple in Jaffna and the sacred Buddhist and Hindu shrine of Katirkāmam Temple (also in Sinhala "Katharagama Devalaya") dedicated to him, situated deep south in the country. Ethnic Chinese in Penang and Kuala Lumpur, of Malaysia also pray to Lord Murugan during Thaipusam.
Murugan is more popular in South India especially among Tamil people famously referred as Thamizh Kadavul (God of Tamils) compared to other parts of India. In Karnataka he is popular as "Subrahmanya" and is often associated with snakes, famous shrine Kukke Subramanya is well known for Sarpa shanti rites. In Andhra Pradesh and Bengal too he is popular by the names "Subrahmanya" and "Kartikeya" respectively. Like most Hindu deities, Murugan is known by many other names, including Senthil (meaning 'smart' or 'clever'), Saravaṇa, Kārtikeya (meaning 'son of Krittika'), Arumugam, Sanmuga (from Sanskrit Ṣaṇmukha), Shadanana (meaning 'one with six faces'), Kumāra (meaning 'prince or child'), Dhandapany (meaning God with a Club), Guhan or Guruhuha (meaning 'cave-dweller'), Skanda (meaning 'that which is spilled or oozed, namely seed' in Sanskrit), Subrahmaṇya, Vēlaṇ and Swaminatha.