The 18-day festival ended on May 10, and more than 60,000 devotees from across the country visited the Koothandavar Temple to celebrate their identity and uniqueness. 

This is one of its kinds Hindu religious festival that celebrates the sacrifice made by Arjuna’s  son, Aravan, during Kurukshetra War fought between Pandavas and Kauravas. According to mythological belief, Aravan agreed to self-sacrifice to Goddess Kali so that Pandavas earn her favour to win the war. As a dying wish, he asked Lord Krishna to get him married to a woman a night before his sacrifice. So, Lord Krishna then took the form of ‘Mohini’ to honour Aravan’s last wish. 

The transgender devotees re-enact the marriage of Aravan and consider themselves as his wife. They also mourn his death as widows during this festival. From bangles to vermilion to mangalsutra all the traditional rituals are followed by the transgender people during this festival. This festival also has a cultural event and a contest of ‘Miss Koovagam’, the Deccan Chronicle reported.

In a country, where the identity of transgender people is still a matter of debate, this age-old religious festival is proof that transgender is not an alien concept in this country. The popularity of this festival draws many from outside the country to participate in the festival and also make the most of this opportunity to create awareness among people.