Hinduism and Tribal Religions

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| Editors: Jeffery D. Long, Rita D. Sherma, Pankaj Jain, Madhu Khanna

Aravan (Mythical Character)

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1036-5_829-1
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Synonyms

Introduction

Aravan is a character in the Indian epic, Mahabharata and is also known as Iravan, Iravat, and Iravant. He is worshipped by the male-to-female transgenders in India. In the Tamil version of the Mahabharata, Aravan is the son born of the union between Arjuna, one of the Pandavas and Ulupi, the Naga (snake deity) princess, while the Pandavas were sojourning in the north-eastern India on their exile. Though Aravan finds mention in the Mahabharata, the versions of his story are different in the northern and southern parts of India. The Koovagam temple in Villupuram is one of the chief temples of Aravan in India. According to Hiltebeitel, Aravan is revered as a deity in two southern Indian Hindu cults: the Kuttantavarcult (dedicated exclusively to Aravan) and the cult of Draupadi (Aravan’s stepmother and common wife of the Pandavas). Aravan is also known as Kuttantavar in South India, originating from the legend of Kuttantavar killing the demon...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EnglishM. E. S. College of Arts & CommerceZuarinagar-GoaIndia