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Unwind

The life of transgenders at ‘Kinnar Akhada’ in Kumbh Mela

Updated : 2019-02-15 23:45:35

For the first time, Kinnar Akhada became the first transgender group to bathe at the confluence of the holy Ganges and the Yamuna rivers on the first day of Ardh Kumbh Mela. The Ardh Kumbh Mela started in Prayagraj from January 14 and continue till March 3 at the Triveni Sangam - the holy confluence of river Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati. It is held after every six years at Haridwar and Prayagraj where millions of people take a holy dip in the Ganga river. The Mela draws lakhs of pilgrims over the course of approximately 55 auspicious days to bathe at the Triveni Sangam. The geographical location of Kumbh Mela covers four locations in India with the mela site rotating from Haridwar (Uttarakhand) on the Ganga, Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh) on Shipra river, Nashik (Maharashtra) on Godavari river to Prayagraj at the Triveni Sangam.

A Kinnar is getting ready for the puja at the Kumbh Mela, a huge religious festival held on the banks of the Ganges River in  Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh. Transgender people in India are called Kinnar or Kenner, referring to the mythological beings that excel at song and dance.
A Kinnar is getting ready for the puja at the Kumbh Mela, a huge religious festival held on the banks of the Ganges River in  Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh. Transgender people in India are called Kinnar or Kenner, referring to the mythological beings that excel at song and dance.
Kinnar community people at the Kumbh Mela. Kinnar Akhada is headed by Acharya Mahamandaleshwar, Laxmi Narayan Tripathi. The transgender community became the first transgender group to bathe at the confluence of the holy Ganges and the Yamuna rivers.
Kinnar community people at the Kumbh Mela. Kinnar Akhada is headed by Acharya Mahamandaleshwar, Laxmi Narayan Tripathi. The transgender community became the first transgender group to bathe at the confluence of the holy Ganges and the Yamuna rivers.
A Kinnar is applying makeup at a makeshift camp. Hailing from different parts of north India, the transgender community has camped for two months on the banks of the Ganges. This is for the first time that Kinnar Akhara has participated in the Kumbh Mela.
A Kinnar is applying makeup at a makeshift camp. Hailing from different parts of north India, the transgender community has camped for two months on the banks of the Ganges. This is for the first time that Kinnar Akhara has participated in the Kumbh Mela.
Kinnar community people waiting in a makeshift camp. For the first time in history, Kinnar Akhada is participating at the Kumbh Mela.
Kinnar community people waiting in a makeshift camp. For the first time in history, Kinnar Akhada is participating at the Kumbh Mela.
Kinnar community people at the Kumbh Mela.
Kinnar community people at the Kumbh Mela.
Hijras dates back to the Ramayana, a more than 2,000-year-old Hindu epic poem venerated and performed across India. This is for the first time that Kinnar Akhara has participated in the Allahabad Kumbh Mela.
Hijras dates back to the Ramayana, a more than 2,000-year-old Hindu epic poem venerated and performed across India. This is for the first time that Kinnar Akhara has participated in the Allahabad Kumbh Mela.
A Kinnar operating a mobile phone at the famous Kumbh Mela. Kinnar Akhada, became the first transgender group to bathe at the confluence of the holy Ganges and the Yamuna rivers on the first day of the ancient festival, traditionally reserved for reclusive Hindu priests, almost all of whom are men.
A Kinnar operating a mobile phone at the famous Kumbh Mela. Kinnar Akhada, became the first transgender group to bathe at the confluence of the holy Ganges and the Yamuna rivers on the first day of the ancient festival, traditionally reserved for reclusive Hindu priests, almost all of whom are men.
Kinnar community people giving blessings to followers. A scene from the Ardh Kumbh Mela at Prayagraj .
Kinnar community people giving blessings to followers. A scene from the Ardh Kumbh Mela at Prayagraj .
The images are a slice of their continuity of life that they lead, far away from their biological families with whom most of them have no relations and many don't even know their roots.
The images are a slice of their continuity of life that they lead, far away from their biological families with whom most of them have no relations and many don't even know their roots.
Kinnar people performing at Juna Akhada which is from the Naga clan with whom they have tied up for the Royal Bath.
Kinnar people performing at Juna Akhada which is from the Naga clan with whom they have tied up for the Royal Bath.
Looking like film stars matter a lot to pull crowds.
Looking like film stars matter a lot to pull crowds.
Makeup time is a daily affair be it their home in Delhi or the Kumbh.
Makeup time is a daily affair be it their home in Delhi or the Kumbh.
A makeshift kitchen in Kinnar Akhada.
A makeshift kitchen in Kinnar Akhada.
Pavitra, the head priest and the secretary at Kinnar Akhada, is seen taking a selfie with a devotee at Kumb Mela.
Pavitra, the head priest and the secretary at Kinnar Akhada, is seen taking a selfie with a devotee at Kumb Mela.
Pushpa Mai is one of the seniors who look after the administration and their own ethics.
Pushpa Mai is one of the seniors who look after the administration and their own ethics.
Rosabai is a Muslim and feels empowered to be a part of the Akhada in Kumbh Mela.
Rosabai is a Muslim and feels empowered to be a part of the Akhada in Kumbh Mela.
Rosabai in one of her performances.
Rosabai in one of her performances.
They have their own guards to manage the large crowds which pour in around the day and night.
They have their own guards to manage the large crowds which pour in around the day and night.
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