What is Kandha shasti viratham?
Shasti Viratham is mainly done for Lord Muruga. Kanta Shasti Vratam is observed once a year in the month of ‘Aippasi' (October–November) starting from the ‘piratamai' the 1st phase of the brightening moon. Skanda Sashti is a six-day festival which commemorates the destruction of a demon called Surapadman by Lord Muruga. The Kanda Sashti fast is observed in Arupadai Veedu of Murugan - the six sacred temples of Lord Muruga in Tamil Nadu. They are Tiruchendur (Sea shore Murugan temple near Tirunelveli), Thirupparankunram (temple near Madurai), Palani Hill Temple, Swami Malai (hill temple near Kumbakonam), Thiruthanigai (hill temple near Chennai) and Pazhamudhir Solai (hill temple near Madurai).
The demon was destroyed at Tiruchendur. On the Sashti day that is on the sixth day, the festival called Sura Samharam is celebrated in all Lord Murugan temples in large scale. During the festival, a battle is depicted with the giant images of four demons and they are made to appear before Lord Muruga.
The Lord chases them and destroys the demons using his Vel or lance. The festival comes to an end on the next day with the Divine marriage (Tirukalyanam) between Lord Muruga and Valli. In Thiruchendur Murugan Temple and Pazhani Murugan Temple, the Kanda Sashti is celebrated in a grand manner.
Following are the steps to be followed during Shasti viratham,
1.Normally devotees fast during the 6-day period. Devotees who follows the viratham will take food once a day means either in the morning or evening or night, they will take food only once and that too only tiffen not a meal.
2. Devotees can take water, milk or fruit juice (Only liquid food). The ideal form of fast would be that during all six days and nights to abstain from all solid food and even medicine but take water, coconut water, strained orange juice and or such permissible liquids. These liquids help to flush out unwanted substances and to clean the body.
3. For the 6-day period they have to say "Kandha Shasti Kavasam", daily twice morning and evening.
4. Devotees need to visit Lord muruga temple atleast daily once for the 6 days.
5. The fasting ends on the Sixth day and on the sixth day they have to visit Lord muruga temple. At the end of the six-day fast the body is indeed cleaner than it was before. The mind is cleansed by the pilgrimage, meditation, worship and other devotional activities. A pure mind in a pure body is a sublime combination and conducive to realizing the Divine. This is the reward and benefit of Kanta Shasti Vratam.
Above listed are the procedure to follow during Shasti Viratham. But the people who are not able to be in fasting can avoid Non-vegetarian food instead of fasting.