The maiden entry of Kinnar Akhara, an institution representing transgenders, at the Kumbh drew maximum attention as devotees scrambled to seek their blessings when they arrived at Gandharv Ghat Friday evening.
Handing over currency notes and getting “blessed coins” in return, hundreds of devotees lined up to touch their feet. “Paise do aur coins le jao (Give me notes and take coins in return),” Pavitra Nimbolkar, a transgender from Maharashtra who is administrator of the newly formed akhara, shouted to devotees. Pavitra started asking for cash only after devotees insisted on touching her feet and paying money.
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The Kinnar Akhara’s formation was reportedly opposed by 13 established akharas. It has several members, but never in the past have they been seen at any Kumbh.
“We thought we won’t be accepted here because we are generally discriminated against, but people not only welcomed us, they showered money and devotion on us,” Pavitra, who hails from Amravati but moved to Mumbai to be with her “guru”, told The Indian Express.