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Friday, July 22, 2005

Chamaya Vilakku



MEN DRESS UP AS WOMEN TO PLEASE DEITY

Thousands of men dressed up as women and offered prayers at the Kottankulangara Bhagvati temple in Kerala for the fulfillment of their wishes. In a unique ritual called "Chamaya Vilakku" or the make-up lamp, the 'damsels' come to the temple at night in a long procession with lighted lamps in their hands. The lamp is mounted on a long wooden rod.

There are five lights, which are lighted on the same lamp, and the lamp is lighted from a main lamp in the temple. Legend has it that a group of boys herding cows used to enact as shy girls and offer flowers and coconut dishes to the deity. One of the boys had a divine reception from the Goddess and subsequently constructed a temple without an outer wall and started the ritual of men dressing up as women.

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