The Kumbh has started to reflect different colours of religion and tradition. What makes the Kumbh in Prayagraj distinct is the large congregation of Sadhus and their lifestyle.
But this time, there is something different.
For the first time ever, the Kinnar Akhada, led by transgender activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, reached the Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj and took a holy dip in the ‘sangam’.
But behind this historic day is a long story…“Who wouldn’t be excited to be a part of history? I had never thought I would be a part of religious activities. When I wore a sari for the first time, I had never thought I would have an existence of my own. I never thought that the society that took away my basic right as a human being will ever treat me so well. The same society showed affection and respected me. Words lose their power and vocabulary falls short in expressing my emotion. Only one thing is true, God’s will is most powerful. And God is always with them whom they put to test.”Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, Mahamandaleshwar, Kinnar Akhada
However, the journey to the Kumbh hasn’t been easy for the transgender community.
The first time the Kinnar Akhada ever joined the Kumbh was in Ujjain in April 2016.
“We had to go through a lot here. We began facing a lot of difficulties. The Peshwai was on 6 January. Just a few days before the Kumbh, the place where we were supposed to stay was cancelled. There were chances that the permission would get cancelled too. We met the DM and others overnight and tried to get help from them. We shortlisted places where we could stay. We faced all these obstacles.” Pavitrata, Head Priestess, Kinnar Akhada
Laxmi Narayan Tripathi has become the voice for the transgender community in india. Her struggles have brought a better status to her community.
Laxmi says she has been through many obstacles in her life. She has been a model coordinator, a dancer, a social activist, and an actress. She has also been part of reality shows. She has been a writer too. She believes that despite being an Acharya Mahamandleshwar, her personality will not change.
Along with the nagas, transgenders are also the attraction of the Kumbh. The ‘shahi snan’ that they have longed for has been the much-awaited moment of the mega event.