Koovagam Koothandavar Temple Villupuram - History, Timings, Festivals & Address!

Koovagam Koothandavar Temple Villupuram

Koovagam Koothandavar Temple Villupuram

Koothandavar Temple is located in Koovagam which is a village in the Ulundurpettai taluk in Villupuram district, Tamil Nadu. It is famous for its annual festival of transgender and transvestite individuals, which takes fifteen days in the Tamil month of Chitrai (April/May).

The festival takes place at the Koothandavar Temple dedicated to Aravan (Koothandavar). The participants marry the Lord Koothandavar, thus reenacting an ancient myth of Lord Vishnu/Krishna who married him after taking a form of a woman called Mohini. The next day, they mourn the god Koothandavar death through ritualistic dances and by breaking their bangles. An annual beauty pageant and several other competitions like singing contests are held.

Basic rights of transgender and transvestite individuals and health care are discussed in seminars too. People from different places attend this festival. It is located at a distance of 25 km from Viluppuram and 15 Km from Ulundurpet 15 km.

The temple has numerous murtis (idols) of deities from the Hindu pantheon. The important murtis are that of Koothandavar, Mohini and Hanuman. The Koovagam festival is observed for 18-days and it is known as Chitra Pournami Festival. Other important festival days are Aadi Amavasya and Thai Pongal.

The small hamlet of Koovagam is present in the Vizhupuram district of Tamil Nadu, making it virtually a ‘nothing’. However, once a year this tiny village turns into the biggest camp for transgenders from all over the country. They gather in flocks to take part in the rituals of the festival which lasts for 18 days, culminating on chitra Pournami (April-may).

Of the many bizarre and strange customs and festivals observed in India, the Koothandavar festival of Koovagam is one among them. The very basis of the festival, its associated rituals and the people involved make it the weirdest possible celebration on earth.

Koovagam Koothandavar Temple Villupuram Legends

A festival which has its base rooted into the depths of the Mahabharata war, Krishna’s cunningness and the noble nature of a very valiant young man. War between the Pandavas and Gauravas was imminent. There was no way that a war could be averted, thus saving millions of innocent human lives. Krishna, as the protector of the universe was worried about the outcome of the war. It was true that he could intervene with his divine powers and avert catastrophe, but humans are required to decide their own fates. That’s what the Vedas and shastras say. But still, he wanted the Pandavas to win the war, he was on their side and their doings were just and moral. This would be the ultimate “Good wins over Bad” story if it went along as he desired.

Having no choice, he goes to Sahadeva who is blessed with the talent of accurately forecasting the future and reading horoscopes, and to his greatest dismay finds Dhuryodhana there too. “Welcome, my lord”, exclaimed Sahadeva,” and you too, cousin. How may I help you both?” Dhuryodhana lays forward his request, “Oh Madri Putra, being true to your skill, guide me along a path, wherein I can surely claim victory in the upcoming war.” Nodding thoughtfully, Sahadeva looked at Shri Krishna, “and you my lord?” “Sahadeva, I came to ask the same favor on behalf of the Pandavas.” Krishna blurted out. Without saying a word, Sahadeva rolled his Shozhi (shells used to help in prediction) and after several calculations looked up to both his guests.

“The path to success is alike for both of you”, he explained. “To attain victory in the upcoming war, you need to sacrifice a man filled with all the good qualities of Valor, strength, bravery, beauty and such, to the goddess of war, Kali. He who first performs this sacrifice will gain the blessings of Kali and win the war”, he concluded and with very worried eyes looked at Krishna. “Leave that to me Sahadeva. Why fear when I am here?”, and with a dangerous look at Dhuryodhana, he left Sahadeva.

All along his way back his mind was filled with a single thought, “Can it be? Hope it is not so. I cannot bear to lose him. Oh, wish that we do get another suitable person for the sacrifice.” The reason for his worried thoughts is Arjuna. Matching the qualities required in the sacrificial person to the various people in the Pandava camps, he could come up with only two people, Himself and Arjuna, and he wanted to lose neither. With a heavy heart he summons the Pandavas and relays Sahadeva prediction. “Is there anyone… Anyone else, other than Arjuna who can match the requirements of sacrifice? Anyone at all?” He pleaded, only to be met by a stunning silence. Krishna’s heart shattered at the thought of losing a dear friend. He felt light headed and started to sway with dizziness, when a voice cut through his haziness.

“Am I eligible to be sacrificed?” the voice asked. Looking for the source of the voice, Krishna’s eyes land on a very handsome man, dressed as a warrior and bearing resemblances to Arjuna. “Who are you, may I know?” questioned Krishna, as hope revived in his heart. “I am Aravaan, the son of Arjuna, born to the Naaga princess Chithrangadha, through an illicit wedlock. I have come here to help bring victory to my father and his brothers. And if I can indeed help them win by sacrificing myself, then I am ready to die.” he proclaimed.

Krishna is flooded with relief. Using his divine powers, he comes to know that Aravaan is indeed a warrior par excellence, full of good qualities and excellent character. “He would make the perfect sacrifice to Kali”, Krishna thought and he beckoned Aravaan to come with him. He introduced Aravaan to the Pandavas including to Arjuna, his father (what weirdness!!!) and praised the sacrificial qualities of Aravaan. “So you will be sacrificed to the Goddess at the dawn of war, tomorrow. Purify yourself mentally and physically and prepare for the day. Long live your sacrifice”, Krishna told Aravaan and turned to leave.

Before his death, he made a last wish to Lord Krishna to be married for a day. But no woman was ready to marry a man for a day and be widowed for the rest of her life. So Lord Krishna took the form of a woman, Mohini and married Aravan and spent the night together. The next day, Aravan was beheaded as a sacrifice to the Goddess upon which Mohini became a widow and mourned his death.
Though this was merely a myth, the Eunuchs in India consider themselves to be Mohini, the female form of Lord Vishnu and every year they celebrate the ‘Koothandavar Festival’ to recall this incident.
Pooja Timing

Worship Time

· From Morning 06:00 A.M to 12:00 P.M
· From Evening 04:00 P.M to 09:00 P.M

Koovagam Koothandavar Temple Villupuram Festivals

  • Aadi Amavasai
  • Thai Pongal
  • Chitra Pournami Festival(16 Days)
  • Unique Ritual of Koothandavar Festival

Koothandavar Festival Celebration

On the full moon day of the Chitra month of the Hindu lunar calendar every year, Eunuchs from all over India gather at the Koothandavar temple in Koovagam village to celebrate their marriage to the temple’s God Koothandavar widely known as Aravan. The marriage lasts only for a day and the next day the new brides mourn their groom’s death. Aravani is another name given to Eunuchs, as they are wives of Aravan.

The Eunuchs gather at the Koothandavar temple 18 days before the actual festival at Koovagam making the tiny lifeless village come to life. Many talent shows and beauty pageant are held for 16 days. During these 16-day celebrations, a brightly painted wooden head of Aravan is kept at the temple.

On the 17th day, the priest at the Koothandavar temple performs a special Pooja by reciting spiritual mantras and decorating the Aravan’s idol with flowers and brings upon the power of Aravan on himself, and ties yellow strings called ‘Thaali’ around the neck of all the Eunuchs as a marriage ritual. Now that they are wives of Aravan, the Eunuchs spend the night merrymaking by dancing and singing.

At the dawn of the next day, the Eunuchs rip away the yellow strings from their necks and cry in loud voices, beating their chests with both the hands and rolling on the floor, just like how Mohini mourned Aravan’s death. Then they bathe in the ‘Varaha’ river located near the temple and wear white costumes as a sign of widows.

Koothandavar Festival Chaos

Every year, hundred’s police are placed on duty at the village. However, the police have never been able to control the violence and assaults that happen, as thousands of men throng the village to see the beautifully dressed Eunuchs. The main reason for chaos is that these men try to mingle sexually with the transgender crowd, sometimes without their permission.

After 18 days of uncontrolled life, the Koothandavar Festival celebration comes to an end in the evening of the 18th day. All the devotees and their admirers return to their normal lives leaving the Koothandavar temple and the Koovagam village to rest in peace until next year.

How to Reach Koovagam Koothandavar Temple Villupuram?

Devotees should reach Villupuram. From Villupuram devotees should reach Ulundurpet and from Ulundurpet have to go Koothandavar Koil. Direct Buses are available even from Panruti, Manapattu itself to Koothandavar Koil, Koovagam.

  • From Southwards 4.5 KM-->Villupuram to Trichy NH47 Madapattu (Ulunthurpet) - Periyasevalai.
  • From Northwards 3 KM-->Ulunthurpet to Pillaiyarkuppam.
  • Share Auto facilities available from Periyasevalai.

Koovagam Koothandavar Temple Villupuram Address

This Temple is administrated by The Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowments Department.
Executive Officer
Arulmigu Koothandavar Thirukoil,
Koovagam, Ulundurpet Taluk,
Villupuram District,
Pin Code: 606 102.
Email: koovagamkoothandavartemple@gmail.com
Temple Administrative Office Postal Address.

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