Worship of Skanda was prevalent in north India quite early. Bilsad stone pillar inscription of the time of Kumaragupta (415-16 AD) and various other stone and bronze sculptures discovered from northern and eastern India are a testimony to the popularity of Skanda.
A red sandstone image of Skanda (2nd cent AD) at National Museum, New Delhi; sculptures of Skanda as 'instructor god' in the Gwalior Museum; image of Kumara Kārttikeya at Baijnath, Almora (U.P) in the Pārvatī temple and a sculpture from Himachal Pradesh at National Museum, New Delhi are a testimony of the popularity and importance of Skanda. A large number of sculptures ranging from 7th century Ad onwards found in the eastern India, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and also from Chamba hills and Mandi area of Himachal Pradesh further establish the antiquity and prevalence of Skanda 'holding the portfolio of defense in the kingdom of heavens'. Yaudheyas, an ancient Indian military tribe, had adopted him as their spiritual and temporal ruler. Kumāra Gupta of Gupta dynasty, Devamitra of Ayodhyā (1st Cent. AD) and Vijaymitra are also known as devotees of Skanda.
Rohtika -- now Rohtak in Harayana near Delhi --was historically a town of Yaudheyas. Mahābhārata description of this being a favorite city of Kārttikeya is confirmed by the discovery of several Kārttikeya type coins.
The famous text of northern Buddhism, Mahāmayūri (4th Cent. AD) mentions that Kumāra Kārttikeya was the well-known deity of Rohitaka. Although Skanda is no longer known in this area, his vahana the peacock is treated as sacred and its killing is a taboo (perhaps due to other reasons).
The discovery of 5th century AD six-armed image of Skanda in the ruins of Avantipura indicates that he was present in Kashmir. References from Nilamata Purāna of a 'Kumāraloka' indicates that Skanda had an important place as a deity. Mention is also available of 'Skandabhavana-Vihāra' in Kalhana as indicated by Stein in Rajatarangini, (Vol. II, p. 340). The name of the founder was Skandagupta. The available detailed information of copper coins of Devamitra, King of Ayodhya (1st Cent AD), the carved pillar shaft near Kānpur suggest the popularity of Skanda-Kārttikeya in U.P. areas.
Skanda sculptures traced at Mathura of Kanishka's time and of the later period inform us of Skanda worship. There is sufficient evidence to prove that Skanda was publicly worshipped in temples, specific instance being of Dasāvatāra temple at Devagarh in Jhansi area and the discovery of several Skanda sculptures from this area belonging to post-Gupta period. The popularity of Skanda worship in ancient times in Bengal, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa etc., is also a known fact. By providing information from various memoirs of Archaeological Survey of India and other research works Rana S.S. (pp. 96-106) has explained this in his work.
The image of Kārttikeya or Kumāra signifies the idea of youth and spirit. The very name Kumāra indicates strength. His vehicle the peacock and his attendants all symbolize energy and strength. The sculpturing of Kārttikeya as explained by D. D. Sukla and J.N. Banerjea provide he intricate details for the purpose. In this context also the emphasis is on representing his figure 'like the morning sun', clothed in red cloths and 'himself having a fiery red color.' His youthful form should be ‘beautiful, auspicious and pleasing to look at'. His face is full of smile, splendor, grandeur and his 'head is adorned with variegated and beautiful crowns' etc.
The details about Skanda-Kārttikeya sculptures indicate the interest shown in the god and his various aspects, especially as the commander of the army of gods. His general form, six headed, the five fold Skanda, multi-armed Skanda are described. The Uttarākamika Āgama, Ansumad Bhedāgama, Purakārnagama, Kumāratantra etc. Provide unique, detailed attributes of the appropriate forms of the images of Skanda.