in some of its 90.000 verses, the Mahabharata, the hindu epic text, tells the story of rajakumaran who was born from the pandavas (five brothers). the pandavas decided to offer a human sacrifice to assure the victory in their war, so they sacrificed rajakumaran. his last wish was to get married before dying. since nobody wanted to marry him, Shiva the lord took the form of a woman and married him. the marriage was celebrated at night. the day after, rajakumaran died.

the epic origin of hijra (often translated as eunuch, even if not all of them actually are) lives today in the marginalisation and exclusion from which the hijra community suffers, augmented by the reputation of violence related to the initiation rituals that may culminate with the actual physical castration.

to celebrate rajakumaran sacrifice, the community of homosexuals and hijiras gather in the village of koovagam for a 10 days festival. many “one-night” marriages take place between hijras and ordinary men. since a few yeas the festival has seen an increasing participation from homosexuals. the two groups are often in open conflict and not rarely the festival records fights and quarrels between them.

guess why the lonely planet says nothing about it?