Vidhyaa C

The Brides of Lord Aravan
Location: Abu Dhabi
Nationality: India
Biography: Vidhyaa is an Indian documentary photographer based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, her work mainly focuses on issues or empowerment related to women & girls. Her goal is to capture an unexplored UAE, a world of new relationships, new chances, new... read on
Public Story
The Brides of Lord Aravan
Credits: vidhyaa c
Date of Work: 04/26/16 - 05/01/19
Updated: 02/02/19
Location: Villupuram

Transgenders marries mythical Lord Aravan for a day and become a widow next day.

Villupuram India: The village of Koovagam is next to Ulundurpet taluk in Villupuram district. The Koothandavar temple is situated in this village. Transgendered from across India gather in Villupuram to re-enacted a story adopted from the Indian epic fable Mahabharata, every years which celebrated in the grand style, this was documented in the year of 2016 and next year festival which falls on 19 April 2019 , but keep watching here for an update.

The fable of Mahabharata:

The God, ‘Aravaan’, or called as Iravan in Mahabharata, was born to Arjuna and Naga Princess Ulupi. The Pandavas, decided to sacrifice a human to ensure victory in the war . Iravan volunteered for the sacrifice, and in return was granted a dying wish. Before offering himself for sacrifice, Iravan wished to enjoy the pleasures of a woman and die as a married man. Lord Krishna appeared as a female in form of Mohini and married him and next day Aravan was beheaded. Mohini cried, lamented, wailed and bereaved for him like no wife would do for her husband.

Festival :

The ‘Aravaani’s of Aravaan’ identify themselves with ‘Mohini’ — the female form of Krishna as a woman trapped inside a man’s body. In this festival, the priest who is considered as ‘Aravaan’ , ties the ‘thaali’ or ‘mangalsutra’ to the Aravaanis and binds them in the relationship of marriage. The next day, ‘thali arutthal’ or the rituals for widowhood are followed, which include snapping of the thaali and breaking of the bangles to signify the death of Iravan. The ‘Aravaani’s’ wear white saree and lament over the death of Aravaan. This is done on the last day of the 18-day festival. The entire place is filled with the loud wails of the transwomen and their appearance is in direct contrast to the previous day where they were decorated in attire.


By Vidhyaa C —


Editorial Portraits

By Vidhyaa c

UAE : Women Breaking Stereotypes with Falconry

By Vidhyaa C / Abudhabi — "Ayesha is breaking stereotypes and training expatriate and Emirati women in the art of falconry"..

Littered gloves and masks in the Streets

By Vidhyaa C / Abudhabi — Littered  gloves and mask in street, becoming health hazrad, in the Abudhabi. This is not annoying..

Home Quarantine:Sibling moments

By Vidhyaa C / Abudhabi — I have been documenting my children in the home environment, highlights of time spent at home in quarantine..

All About UAE

By Vidhyaa C

Empowering Students through Education : Thai Tamil Palli

By Vidhyaa C / thai tamil palli tindivanam — "Real education enhances the dignity of a human being and increases his or her self respect"..

Rohingya's Freedom to Fear

By Vidhyaa C — Rohingya share their stories during my visit to Bangladeshi Refugee camp, witnessed hearing the horror,..

Mothering from Afar:Migrant Women in the United Arab Emirates

By Vidhyaa — Mothering from afar: Migrant Women in the UAE captures the challenges migrant workers encounter while..

The Boarding School Saves Girls from Sex Trafficking

By Vidhyaa C — The Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya boarding school saves young girls from sex trafficking at Simraha,..

Sekar—Coping with being HIV-Positive

By Vidhyaa c — In 1992, B Sekar was a 27-year-old athlete in Chennai, a graduate in history, looking forward to a career..
Join us
for more access