A unique grand Dussehra festival is celebrated at Kulasekharapatnam (Kulasai), a remote coastal village near Tiruchendur town in Thoothukudi district of Tamil Nadu. A 300 years old Mutharamman temple resides in the village where a massive Dussehra celebration takes place every year.
The presiding deity of the temple is a self-manifested Goddess Kali. As she is worshipped with the ornaments made of the pearls taken from the sea, she is called as Mutharamman. (Pearl – Muthu, Ornament –Aram). The tenth day of the Navaratri festival is celebrated in a completely different way in Kulasai than in other India. In Kulasai the devotees themselves dress up like Kali and other forms of Gods and Goddesses and offer prayers to the Goddess Mutharamman.
Devotees all around Kulasai and its neighbouring villages fast for 41 days and dress up like God/Goddess and march towards the temple. During the last ten days, which includes the Navarathri days, the devotees dress up emulating the God and Goddess of the local pantheon. They have to keep away from intoxication and other forms of indulgent, as well as refrain from violent and sinful acts of any sort.
Lakhs of devotees getting assembled in front of the temple. Dressed up devotees carrying fire pot in their bare hands and dancing with their Dussehra team before the deity Mutharamman and it is the most vibrant part of the festival. Devotees lose themselves and move into a trance state for a while. After the rituals they go to the sea behind the temple to wash off the makeup.
#1 Dress-up for festival
#2 Goddess Kali with musicians
#3 Portrait of a devotee
#4 Goddess Kali meet with villagers
#5 Goddess kali on the way to temple
#6 Ready for going to temple
#7 Puja offerings at Kulasai temple
#8 Dancing in Kulasai temple
#9 Devotees at Kulasai temple
#10 Devotees at Kulasai temple
#11 Devotee in trance
#12 Devotees at Kulasai temple
#13 A little boy makeover for the festival
#14 Walking in the darkness with fire pot
#15 Final day puja on the sea beach
#16 Preparation of Puja on the sea beach
#17 Devotees in trance
#18 Puja on the sea beach
#19 Final day of dussehra festival
#20 Goddess Kali in the sea
#21 Goddesses in the sea before removal of their hands
#22 Lonely goddess in the sea
About Avra Ghosh
Avra Ghosh is a Kolkata based Indian Photographer. He is basically interested in street, travel, documentary photography, searching human relation, life and their culture across the country. He is also interested in abstract, geometric formation, lines and patterns in everyday life.
He is shortlisted in Global Health 50/50 ‘This is Gender 2021’ Photography competition and 2nd position winner in Visions International Photo Awards 2021. Apart from these he won many awards in National and International Salon photography. He is honoured with the distinctions of AFIP, EFIP and AFIAP also. His works have been published in Chiizphotography magazine, Shades of grey magazine Better photography, national geographic your shot, 1x dot com site and various travel magazines of Kolkata.
By profession He is a musician, a piano teacher and a vocalist of modern Bengali songs.
You can find Avra Ghosh on the Web:
All the pictures in this post are copyrighted to Avra Ghosh. Their reproduction, even in part, is forbidden without the explicit approval of the rightful owners.