Koovagam pageant sheds glamour this year

Transgenders dance to songs played at Miss Koovagam 2018 beauty contest in Villupuram on Monday.   | Photo Credit: T_Singaravelou

On the day of selecting the most beautiful of transgenders this year, South India Transgenders Federation along with Tamil Nadu AIDS Control Society, Tamil Nadu Social Welfare Department celebrated the tradition and culture of Tamil Nadu.

To the classical music being played in the background, transgenders clad in traditional silk and cotton saris with jasmine flowers adorning their hair walked the ramp.

Cheers rent the air as the participants entered the stage and dropped down as they exited. This year, Miss Koovagam beauty contest in Villupuram was celebrated with much fanfare, sans any glamour for which it was famous.

“We are here to remember our rich culture. Apart from their beauty and attire, the contestants will be tested for their knowledge in Indian mythologies. Those who have already won in the previous contests will not be eligible to participate,” says Subikshaa, Founder, My Society Trust in Coimbatore, and one of the organisers of the festival.

The epic connection

She added that Lord Krishna took the avatar of Mohini to marry Aravan, son of Arjuna, in Mahabharata. In the epic, Aravan agrees to sacrifice himself before the war between Pandavas and the Kauravas.

He puts forth a condition that a woman has to marry him and then become a widow. For this, Krishna takes the avatar of the most beautiful Mohini. After Aravan is sacrificed, Mohini becomes a widow for a day before transforming back into Krishna.

“This is re-enacted on the last day of the 18-day Koovagam festival. The beauty contest is held to select the most beautiful transgender to whom the ‘thali’ will be tied at the sanctum sanctorium of Koothandavar temple in Koovagam,” she says.

A transgender from every district of Tamil Nadu is sent to Villupuram to participate in the ‘Miss Koovagam’ beauty contest. Apart from them, transgenders from other states also participate in the event.

This year, nearly 40 transgenders in the age group of 18 and 35 contested for the ‘Miss Koovagam’ title.

Of the 40 participants, 25 were selected for the final show on Monday evening. Apart from the contest, an interaction with Nirmala Ponnambalam, Professor and HoD, Department of Burns and Plastic Surgery, Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital was organised.

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Printable version | May 13, 2021 2:22:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/koovagam-pageant-sheds-glamour-this-year/article23733270.ece

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