Brides of Aravan or Iravan (Story of Transgenders/Thirunangai)

The village of Koovagam is next to Ulundurpet taluk in Villupuram district. The Koothandavar temple is situated in this village. Transgendered from across India gather in Villupuram to re-enacted a story adopted from the Indian epic fable Mahabharata, every years which celebrated in the grand style.
The fable of Mahabharata: The God, ‘Aravaan’, or called as Iravan in Mahabharata, was born to Arjuna and Naga Princess Ulupi. The Pandavas, decided to sacrifice a human to ensure victory in the war . Iravan volunteered for the sacrifice, and in return was granted a dying wish. Before offering himself for sacrifice, Iravan wished to enjoy the pleasures of a woman and die as a married man. Lord Krishna appeared as a female in form of Mohini and married him and next day Aravan was beheaded. Mohini cried, lamented, wailed and bereaved for him like no wife would do for her husband.

Festival : The ‘Aravaani’s of Aravaan’ identify themselves with ‘Mohini’ – the female form of Krishna as a woman trapped inside a man’s body. In this festival, the priest who is considered as ‘Aravaan’ , ties the ‘thaali’ or ‘mangalsutra’ to the Aravaanis and binds them in the relationship of marriage. The next day, ‘thali arutthal’ or the rituals for widowhood are followed, which include snapping of the thaali and breaking of the bangles to signify the death of Iravan. The ‘Aravaani’s’ wear white saree and lament over the death of Aravaan. This is done on the last day of the 18-day festival. The entire place is filled with the loud wails of the transwomen and their appearance is in direct contrast to the previous day where they were decorated in attire.

Join facebook to support this project : The Life of Hijra

Faces of Aravan

Faces of Aravan

Aravanis making pongal(Swee) in Koovagam , offer god before marriage

Aravanis preparing for marriage

Several stalls placed in front of the temple , Aravanis buying stuffs for wedding

Aravanis dressed traditionally and selecting the thali yellow thread for the wedding,villupuram,India

Aravanis dressed traditionally and selecting the thali yellow thread for the wedding,villupuram,India

Aravanis (Transgender) getting ready for the marriage, wearing colorful glass bangles

Senior Transgender Janaki buying yellow thread for her marriage

Aravanis fully dressed traditionally

Aravan Brides gathered outside the temple to get marry

Aravan Brides gathered outside the temple to get marry

Priest ties yellow thread to Aravani

3_ Breathless crush and rush , inside the koovagam temple,Priest who is considered as Aravaan , ties the thaali or mangalsutra (yellow thread) in the rush inside the temple

Breathless crush and rush , inside the koovagam temple,Priest who is considered as Aravaan , ties the thaali or mangalsutra (yellow thread) in the rush inside the temple.

After marriage singing out of joy

5_Portrait of Aravani after the snapping the thali (yellow thread)

After Marriage Transgender dancing out of joy

Gay after the marriage, at Koovagam

Aravanis(Transgender) after marriage with her boy friend.

DSC_3510

Aravani after marriage with friends

Aravani blessing during wedding occassion

7_Priest snapping the Thali (yellow thread) rituals for widowhood

Priest snapping the Thali (yellow thread) rituals for widowhood

Breaking the bangles by the Priest

Aravanis lament during death ceremony,express their sadness of Aravans death

8_Portrait of Aravani after the snapping the thali (yellow thread) 2

Transgender after removal of yellow thread, thali, during the Koovagam festival.

DSC_4267

Aravanis lament during a death ceremony, express their sadness of Aravan death.

9_After the windowhood rituals, 'Aravaani's' wear white saree, on the last day of the 18-day festival

After the windowhood rituals, ‘Aravaani’s’ wear white saree, on the last day of the 18-day festival

10_Aravaani’s(Transgender) crying over the death of Aravaan

The entire place is filled with the loud wails of the transwomen and their appearance is in direct contrast to the previous day where they were decorated in attire.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: