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Why men dress as women to enter this Kerala temple | – vopbuzz

A unique festival is held every year Kottankulangara Sree Devi Temple In Chavara, Kollam district of Kerala, men adorn themselves with women’s clothes as an act of devotion. This festival known as ChamayavilakkuThis celebration, held for 10-12 days in March, culminates in a night when men, regardless of age, dress as women and carry lighted lamps with five wicks to honor the goddess.
The Chamayavilakku tradition dates back centuries and has its roots in a local legend. It is said that shepherd boys dressed as girls played around a stone that they worshiped as a god. One day, to their amazement, the Goddess appeared before them from the stone. News of this miraculous event spread and led to the founding of the temple and the beginning of the tradition of men wearing women’s clothing as an offering to the Goddess.


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The festival attracts participants not only from around the temple but also from other parts of Kerala and neighboring South Indian states. The transgender community also participates in the festival with enthusiasm, increasing the inclusiveness and diversity of the festival. The event is a vibrant display of faith where men meticulously shave, put on make-up and wear colorful saris, transforming themselves to seek blessings and fulfill their vows to god.
Chamayavilakku festival is deeply embedded in local culture. Men from the four ‘karas’ or shores traditionally associated with the festival – Chavara, Puthukad, Kulangaraand Kottakkam — participate in the ritual. Preparations start weeks in advance; attendees buy new saris, jewellery, and blouses to match the occasion. On the day of the festival, their wives or female relatives help them dress and prepare for the procession to the temple.
The festival also includes a daytime event called ‘Kakkavilakku’, where boys under the age of 10 dress up as girls and hold lamps. The main event Chamayavilakku starts in the evening and continues until the morning. Participants carry the chamayavilakku hoping to gain the Goddess’ favor for a variety of reasons, from seeking forgiveness of debts to forgiveness of sins.
The temple is open to visitors during the auspicious hours of 2 am to 5 am and many people travel to witness this extraordinary event. Temporary huts set up by beauticians near the temple offer services to help men dress and make them look as authentic as possible.
Chamayavilakku festival is much more than a religious event; this is a cultural phenomenon This goes beyond traditional norms regarding gender and social roles. This is a time when men express their commitment in ways that challenge traditional expectations, demonstrating a fluidity in their commitments. gender expression this is rare and deep.
The festival attracted attention on social media with vivid visuals and videos that reflected the essence of this centuries-old tradition. Local people who are used to the festival generally enjoy it due to the widespread interest it creates. For many, it is a heartfelt offering, a tradition that has been a part of their lives for generations.
The continuity of Kottankulangara Sree Devi Temple’s Chamayavilakku festival ensures that the legacy of the divine encounter of the shepherd boys is celebrated and honored, keeping the spirit of the legend alive for generations to come. Chamayavilakku festival is not just a religious ritual; is a vibrant celebration of faith, culture and the human spirit.

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