Birth of Kalikeyan
Once upon a time, the land around the foothills of Himalayas was ruled by Rakshasa kings - Sthulakarnan and his brother Sumukan. Sthulakarnan was very cruel by nature and a cannibal, who derived a lot of pleasure in eating Brahmins and sages who lived in and around the Himalayas. Sthulakarnan's wife, Sugandini, was very pious and kind. She was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva. In due course, Sthulakarnan's wife conceived.
Once Sthulakarnan went on a hunting expedition and came across a group of young children who were playing in the field. Sthulakarnan could not resist the temptation of wanting to eat those children. He kidnapped one of the children who was playing and thought to himself that instead of him eating the child, if he could coerce his wife to eat this child, it would make his child in the womb stronger. However his wife refused and to the contrary requested him to let the child free.
In the meanwhile, the kidnapped child's father who was a sage got to know of his son's plight through his intuition and came to the palace of King Sthulakarnan. On reaching the palace of King Sthulakarnan, the sage requested him to let go of his child. As the king refused to let the child go, the sage, holding a handful of sacred ash, prayed to Lord Shiva to kill Sthulakarnan and set his child free. The sage then blew the sacred ash towards Sthulakarnan. The sacred ash transformed itself into an arrow and cut Sthulakarnan's head. The saint's child was released and they left to their home.
Sthulakarnan's brother, Sumukan, then took over the responsibility of ruling the kingdom. In due course, Sugandini, Sthulakarnan's wife gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. He was named Kalikeyan.
Kalikeyan leaves to the forests for penance
Kalikeyan grew up to be a brave lad. When he was of age to rule the kingdom, he got to know about the details of his father's death. Angered by the fact that the saint through his magic killed his father and these saint's were protected by the Demi-gods, Kalikeyan vowed to strengthen himself and vanquish the saint's and the demi-gods. To achieve this end, Kalikeyan went to the forest for penance.
Rakshasas take help from King Ugraveeryan in the absence of their King Kalikeyan
At this time, the North western part of India was being ruled by a rakshasa King Ugraveeryan. There was a popular temple devoted to Goddess Kali in his kingdom. Once while on a hunting expedition, Ugraveeryan came close to the temple of Goddess Kali and wished to visit the temple. Once he reached the temple, he discovered that a Magician from south of India, through the use of magic, was trying to forcefully take the Goddess to his palace, much against her wish. Ugraveeryan got extremely angry and fought with the magician and won the battle with the magician.
According to the advice of Goddess Kali, Ugraveeryan spared the life of the magician, but broke his teeth so that he would never be able to chant the mantras properly and cut his arms to avoid him from doing any pooja.
Pleased with the valour of the King, Goddess Kali blessed the king with such valour and success that no other king in heaven or earth will be able to win over him and only a son born to Lord Shiva will be able to vanquish him.
The central part of India was ruled by the King Vijayakesari, who during his hunting expedition used to come towards Kalikeyan's (since Kalikeyan was on penance) land and apart from killing the animals used to kill the rakshasas who lived in the forests. Annoyed by being picked everytime by King Vijayakesari, the rakshasas of Kalikeyan's country approached King Ugraveeryan and sought his help to fight Vijayakesari. King Ugraveeryan fought with King Vijayakesari, killed him and won the battle.
Kalikeyan returns from the penance
In the meanwhile the rakshasa king Kalikeyan was very firm in his penance and the creator Lord Brahma appeared before Kalikeyan and granted him a boon. Kalikeyan asked for success over all the worlds and death only by a son born to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. Brahma granted his wish. Kalikeyan returned to his kingdom. Once Kalikeyan returned, he heard about all the help extended to his people by King Ugraveeryan and they became friends. King Kalikeyan appointed King Ugraveeryan as the Commander to his army to fight the Devas.
Kalikeyan captures the Gods
Bouyed by the boon granted by Lord Brahma, King Kalikeyan fought a battle with the Devas and won over the Devas. Then, King Kalikeyan came to the abode of Lord Brahma and sought his blessings. Then he went to Vaikuntam, the abode of Lord Vishnu. Kalikeyan fought with Lord Vishnu. However, as Kalikeyan had a boon, he won over Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu, then gave him a lot of wealth as war tax and sent Kalikeyan. Kalikeyan then came to Mount Kailash the abode of Lord Shiva and sought his blessings, after which he returned to his country. Once back to his country, Kalikeyan started to torture the sages and their guardians in heaven - the Devas. Some of the sages who escaped the clutches of King Kalikeyan, came to a place called Tharukavanam, where many other sages were already living.