Friday, March 14, 2014

Koovakam koothandaar

Koovakam koothandaar
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Koovagaam is  a very small village very famous for its annual festival in which eunuchs and transgenders participate   in a very huge way. Koovagam is a very small village without much activity. It has a very small temple   made of stone  . The presiding deity is Koothandavar  .Translated   in to simple English, it would mean, ”The God of dance ”. As soon as we enter the temple there is a small hall. After that is the sanctum sanctorum   and there  one swing would be hanging. On the swing is the head wearing a crown, With Vaishnavite Namam on his forehead, prominent Moustache   and gnashing teeth which are like that of a lion .There are no other Gods in this temple. The local people offer once a day worship to this God. Few outsiders come to this temple to get rid of their disease. There are no monthly festivals at this temple . But there is a great festival on Chithra Pournmi day.
      Koothandavar also known as Aravan  was  the son of Pandava Prince  Arjuna and a princess of Nagas(serpents) called Ooloopi.  Before the start of the Mahabaharatha  war , the needed to sacrifice a perfect person   so that the Pandavas would win the battle. The general preference was to sacrifice Aravan the son of Arjuna and it was decided that he would be sacrificed the next morning.  He too agreed    to this but with three   conditions.
1.Since he was not married he wanted to get married and  live with her for that night.
2.He wanted to see the Mahabharatha war with his own eyes.
3.He wanted to jump and dance in the battle.
Though the first condition was agreed to , no lady was prepared to marry him and become widow next day morning. People believe that Lord Krishna transformed in to Mohini (enchantress)   and married him.  Next day Aravan or Kootandavar was sacrificed. When he was sacrificed he  cut tissues   from 32 parts of  his body  and offered them to the Goddess Kali. Due to the request of Draupadhi , goddess Kali gave  one fourth of his power to Aravan and Aravan fought in the Bharatha war for  eight days, jumping and dancing. But an Asura called Alambasura cut off his head by  deceit . Then to fulfill  his second condition , Krishna consecrated his head on a nearby  and asked him to witness the war. Even the cut head of Aravan jumped and danced  and killed several enemies
    At the end of the Mahabharatha war , the head of Aravan  was given the status of God.. God asked Garuda to  put the head of Aravan in the Sarabhanga river . It floated in the river and via Thirupathi reached Thirukovalur and from there it started floating in the Pennai river. That country during that time was called Chandragiri. Aravan’s head took a form of a child  and was adopted by the local king. Then that child killed Koothasura who was the enemy of Chandragiri king and gave him the kingdom and again took the   form of  a head. When the king became sad that head assured him that it would come to the kingdom on all Chithra Pournami days and solve all their problems. He also told that Lord Krishna would take the form of a Transgender and marry him every year on that day. He also told that all this was made possible due to the grace of  the God who is the enchanting dancer and so he would be called as God of dancers. He further told that since he was the son of The Naga maiden (Aravu means serpent)  , he would also be  called  Aravan. The place where Koothandavar decided to saty was called Koovakam ( the home of the dancer.)
    The Koothandavar festival is celebrated for eighteen days during Chithra Pournami. Large number of transgenders gather there and spend the first seventeen days wearing colourful  dresses in dance and song. On the seventeenth day , They assume  that they are The Mohini form of Lord Krishna and   marry the Koothandavar wearing Mangala Suthra and bangles. On 18th day they    wear white cut off their Mangala Sutra ans break the bangles and return to their respective homes. This festival is repeated every year.. They believe that by  participating in the festival, they can lead one year of trouble free life.

   The nearest tows to this temple are Vizhupuram (25 km ) and Ulundurpet  (15 km.)

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