BENGALURU: A large number of devotees, including transgenders, thronged the annual Champakadhama Swamy car festival at Bannerghatta on the outskirts of the Bengaluru. The festival is held during March every year. This Brahmotsava is considered to be historical and transgenders from different states such as Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh visit here and offer prayers to Devi Begalamma.
As per custom, the family of a transgender brings them to the temple and offer prayers to Goddess Begalamma. Childless couples dress up a child from their family like Mangalamukhis (transgenders) and offer puja at the temple seeking fulfillment of their wishes.
Aishwarya, a devotee “We used to visit this temple every year. We will go to Champakadhama first, then go to Pillaige Maramma. Transgenders will come from across the country. We will tag the ‘Gulab’ after offering the prayer to Goddess. It is like a grand festival for all of us. We are keep waiting for this day to celebrate the festival with happiness. This is an occasion for us to meet community people and will have a lot of fun with friends”.
Achyut Raju, a member of temple management committee, explained, “The Champakadhama Swamy temple was built during the Chola empire. Champaka Swamy and Begalamma are sibling. Thus, devotees will take darshan of Champakadhama Swamy and then walk to the Begalamma temple which is located 4 km away”.
He further added, “The devotees, especially transgenders, come here to offer prayer. The priests place the idol of Champakadama Swamy on a chariot and devotees pull it. Devotees come from other states such as Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh also come to offer prayer. They stay in sheds closeby, distribute buttermilk, kosambari and drinks made out of jaggery to the people. The preparations start two months prior to the festival”.