#1 Best Guide: Tamil Myths And Folktales

tamil myths and folktales banner with mythical characters in the background

What’s the first thing that excites you to look into when traveling to Tamil Nadu? Aside from the food, you may be curious to learn about the Tamil myths and folktales, the Hindu Gods or poet saints many Tamil people still worship, or at least talk about up to this day. If you’re bound to this state in South India, make sure that you arm yourself with common Tamil words and phrases while having some background about the parent culture, historical figures, myths, folklore, elements, and stories that will surely make your trip more interesting. Let me list the myths and folktales Tamil Nadu is known for while helping you polish the language as we proceed.

Tamil Nadu

As a country, India is known for its aromatic spices, vibrant festivals, traditions, and beliefs passed down through generations. Expect nothing less when exploring Tamil Nadu.

This Indian state, often called the “Cradle of Dravidian Culture,” boasts a rich and ancient heritage dating back centuries. Its language is among the oldest languages in the world, which existed since the 3rd century BCE. Also, among the ancient epics, this state is known for its temples. If you want to see the wider Dravidian pantheon of culturally rich architecture, Tamil Nadu is home to some of India’s most exquisite and ancient temples.

temple in tamil nadu with mythical creatures painted in the wall

All About Tamil Myths And Folktales

So, let’s proceed with the God, Goddess, and other heavyweights often cited in Tamil literature and mythology in this section.

Lord Murugan (Kartikeya)

He is one of the Gods who is highly respected in Tamil Nadu. Lord Murugan, often depicted as a youthful warrior with a spear and mounted on a peacock, symbolizes courage, wisdom, and protection.

Goddess Meenakshi

As the deity of Meenakshi Amman Temple in Madurai, this goddess, who is the divine consort of Lord Shiva, symbolizes love and fertility.

Lord Shiva

Known as the destroyer and one of the Holy Trinity in Hinduism, people place importance on the iconic Nataraja form of Lord Shiva, dancing the cosmic dance.

Goddess Kamakshi

She is the Goddess worshipped for her compassionate and loving nature. Devotees seek her blessings for harmonious relationships.

Lord Vishnu

He is known as the preserver of the universe. Along with Lord Rama and Lord Krishna, the three are the most featured in many mythology elements, traditions, and literature.

painting of a man and woman characters from a folktale

Legends Associated With Gods And Goddesses

What’s a mythology without the beliefs in age-old stories featured in myths and literature? Here are the most famous stories about the deities and supreme beings often featured in Hindu mythology and Tamil mythology. These stories about deities and heaven have been in existence since ancient times:

The Tale Of Lord Murugan’s Victory

This God is believed to have defeated the demon Surapadman. Devotees pierce their bodies with skewers as an act of devotion to the king and celebration of the feat during the Thaipusam festival.

The Divine Marriage Of Meenakshi And Lord Shiva

The love story of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Shiva is no secret, and this divine marriage is proudly showcased at the Meenakshi Amman Temple. According to the tales, the truth is that Lord Shiva came to Madurai to bless the dry lands and, more importantly, marry Meenakshi.

Lord Shiva’s Cosmic Dance

In Tamil mythology, Lord Shiva’s body is depicted in a Nataraja form that represents his cosmic dance. According to those who have worshipped him for long, the dance symbolizes the eternal cycle of creation and destruction. It is also believed to maintain the balance of life in the universe.

The Compassionate Goddess Kamakshi

Many devotees believe she grants wishes, especially when the person asking for help is in dire need.

The Heroes And Heroines In Tamil Folktales

Similar to the mythologies in neighboring countries, such as Malaysia, Singapore, and more, the central figures of many Tamil stories revolve around heroes and heroines. The reference to the origin of these stories dates back over a thousand years: Each prominent figure embodies valor, love, and righteousness:


Veerapandiya Kattabomman was a fearless chieftain who opposed British rule during the 18th-century war. He became a legend in Tamil history for his courage and defiance amid uncertainties.


Kannagi’s story revolves around the theme of righteous anger and the quest for justice. She was referred to as the protagonist of the epic Tamil poem “Silappatikaram.” She was known for seeking retribution for her husband’s unjust execution.

Alli Arjuna

Alli Arjuna was born as a girl but transformed into a warrior. Alli’s story represents the fluidity of gender identity and the courage to be true to oneself.

Tales Of Shape-Shifters, Demons, And Spirits

Shape-shifters, demons, and spirits are common characters in Tamil folktales. These stories transport us into the world of the supernatural, where there are blurry boundaries between reality and fantasy:

Aatukal Pongal

It is a folklore festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu that involves the worship of a goat-headed demon who protects the village from evil forces.


Nagini, a shape-shifting serpent woman, is a recurring character in Tamil mythology. She can take on human form and often appears in love, revenge, and transformation stories.


Karuppasamy is a folk deity known for his fierce appearance and protective nature. He is often invoked to ward off evil spirits and bring justice to those wronged.

Words Often Used In Tamil Mythology

Here are some Tamil words you’ll often see written in Sanskrit or an album painting displayed in a temple. This guide can be handy when you start exploring this popular state in India:

EnglishTamil ScriptTamil Pronunciation
Legendபுராண கதைPurana Kathai
Fairy Taleபெரிய கதைPeriya Kathai
Mythical Creaturesபுராண உயிர்கள்Purana Uyirgal
Folk Songsபாடல்கள் பாடுPaadalgal Paadu
Folk Danceகலை ஆட்டம்Kalai Aatam
Storytellingகதை சொல்லுதல்Kathai Soluthal
Superstitionமூட்டம் விசாரணைMuttam Visaaranai

Learn More About Myth-Related Tamil Words With Ling

Are you intrigued by the world of Tamil culture, myths, and folktales? Eager to deepen your connection to this rich cultural heritage? Look no further than Ling, the language learning application available on both the Play Store and App Store.

With Ling, you can not only learn the Tamil language but also explore its nuances. And this is not a myth! It can be your handy guide as you read through the characters featured in Tamil mythology and Tamil literature. Download Ling and start learning Tamil and many other foreign languages using its fun and interactive features now!

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