According to the Mahabharata, Aravan, the son of Arjuna, sacrificed himself to ensure the victory of the Pandavas in the Kurukshetra war. However, he wished to marry before he died and so Krishna transformed into Mohini and married him. After Aravan was sacrificed, Mohini grieved like a widow. Transgenders gather at Koovagam every year to re-enact this story. In a symbolic ritual, they marry the Lord Aravan and mourn his death the next day by performing the rituals of widowhood.
Mohana of Tiruvannamalai was all smiles as Thennarasu ‘tied the knot’ at the Koothanadavar Temple. As twilight fell, hordes of transgenders swarmed into the brightly lit temple for the main ceremony of the Koovagam festival. Transgenders trace their roots to the epic Mahabharata where Lord Krishna is said to have taken female form to marry Prince Aravan, to fulfil a wish of the latter before being sacrificed just one day after his marriage. >>>