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Men dress as women to fulfill vows in Kerala temple

Chavara, Sun, 25 Mar 2012 ANI

Chavara (Kerala), Mar 25 (ANI): Thousands of men, young and old alike, gathered at KottanKullangara Devi Temple near Chavara in Kerala's Kollam District to fulfill their vows dressed up as women, as an offering to the Goddess Bhagavathy, the temple deity.

In this unique ritual called 'Chamaya Vilakku' or make-up lamp, the men come to the temple late at night in a long procession with lighted lamps in their hands and offer their prayers to the deity.

It is an annual ritual held during the two-day festival of the temple, men dressed in traditional female attire follow strict rules and are made to carry a lamp and stand in queue.

Men, who participate in this ritual, take it up to get their wishes such as job, health, a suitable life partner and the well being for their family and relatives fulfilled.

The men dress up around the temple premises where temporary sheds are set up to do the make-up part with some assistance from their sisters or wife.

According to the legend, the ritual started centuries ago, when few male children playing at the very same temple premises found a coconut and decided to break it only to be astonished to find blood instead of water.

When the children informed about the incident to their elders, it was realized that some kind of deity power prevailed at that place and decided to perform an annual ritual by men and also to build a temple at the same place.

In local language, Kottan is known as the white inside flesh of coconut and is forms a major part of the worship during the ritual.

The worship starts by 8 p. m. in the evening on the first day and remains till early morning till the deity comes out in procession the same is repeated on the second day respectively. By Juhan Samuel (ANI)

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