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TRANSINDIA - KOOTHANDAVAR FESTIVAL

No ordinary lives

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BEAUTY CAMP: The festival has many events, of which the beauty pageant is the most popular. Participants dress up to win the coveted 'Ms Koovagam' title. A woman from Rajasthan rehearses for her performance in the pageant

No ordinary lives

Sl Shanth Kumar | May 25, 2013


BEAUTY CAMP: The festival has many events, of which the beauty pageant is the most popular. Participants dress up to win the coveted 'Ms Koovagam' title. A woman from Rajasthan rehearses for her performance in the pageant

BANG FOR THE BUCK: Bangles are extremely popular and are on sale at every nook and corner. Transgenders buy these in large numbers for the beauty contest and rituals

No ordinary lives

Sl Shanth Kumar | May 25, 2013


BANG FOR THE BUCK: Bangles are extremely popular and are on sale at every nook and corner. Transgenders buy these in large numbers for the beauty contest and rituals

DEATH OF A GOD: All the symbols of matrimony are removed to mark the death of Aravan. Hindu priests cut the 'thali' the following day. Along with thali, bangles - bought with so much enthusiasm at the beginning of the festival - are also broken. To mark their God's death, the transgenders converge in groups in grief and wail

No ordinary lives

Sl Shanth Kumar | May 25, 2013


DEATH OF A GOD: All the symbols of matrimony are removed to mark the death of Aravan. Hindu priests cut the 'thali' the following day. Along with thali, bangles - bought with so much enthusiasm at the beginning of the festival - are also broken. To mark their God's death, the transgenders converge in groups in grief and wail

MYTHICAL MAGIC: A procession carrying an idol of the deity Aravan is watched by thousands. According to the 'Mahabharatha', Aravan sacrificed himself to ensure the victory of Pandavas against Kauravas. But the theme of the festival is love. Before his sacrifice, Aravan expressed a wish to marry a woman and spend the night with her. In order to fulfill his request, Lord Krishna transformed himself into an attractive woman, Mohini. After Aravan's death, Mohini grieves like a widow, which is re-enacted by the transgenders

No ordinary lives

Sl Shanth Kumar | May 25, 2013


MYTHICAL MAGIC: A procession carrying an idol of the deity Aravan is watched by thousands. According to the 'Mahabharatha', Aravan sacrificed himself to ensure the victory of Pandavas against Kauravas. But the theme of the festival is love. Before his sacrifice, Aravan expressed a wish to marry a woman and spend the night with her. In order to fulfill his request, Lord Krishna transformed himself into an attractive woman, Mohini. After Aravan's death, Mohini grieves like a widow, which is re-enacted by the transgenders

HANGING BY A THREAD: The 'thali' is tied to symbolise marriage to Aravan. After the ritual, they linger in the temple, pray and distribute food to the villagers

No ordinary lives

Sl Shanth Kumar | May 25, 2013


HANGING BY A THREAD: The 'thali' is tied to symbolise marriage to Aravan. After the ritual, they linger in the temple, pray and distribute food to the villagers

THE CYCLE OF VOWS: The widows, to mark Aravan's death, wear white saris. They stay in Koovagam village for two-three days and then leave for their homes, spread across India

No ordinary lives

Sl Shanth Kumar | May 25, 2013


THE CYCLE OF VOWS: The widows, to mark Aravan's death, wear white saris. They stay in Koovagam village for two-three days and then leave for their homes, spread across India

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