It is believed that a group of boys who used to herd cows would dress up as girls and offer flowers and a coconut dish called "kottan" to a stone. Impressed by the devotion, one day, a goddess appeared before one of the boys and blessed him. Subsequently, a temple came up in the place and the ritual became an annual feature.
"Over 5,000 people -- both men and boys -- turned up dressed as women or girls for the prayers this time. Around the same number of people came to watch the fest," president of the temple committee G Hari Kumar said.
The cross-dressing is part of traditional ritual festivities which takes place on the last two days of the festival known as "Kottankulangara Chamayavilakku". The men also carry large lamps.
These devotees also aid the business of make-artists around the temple.
While it's difficult to ascertain the claim about the growing size of stone, the number of devotees might see a leap in the coming years.
(With IANS inputs)
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