Taking out processions on the streets of Bhopal is not new to the city’s residents. But one procession stands out from the rest — that is organized annually by members of the hijra community. Celebrated in parts of Madhya Pradesh, Bhujariya festival is observed by the hijra community in order to please the rain gods. The festival, though, has a unique history.
In the 11th century, Malwa kingdom (which spanned over half of modern-day Madhya Pradesh) had been facing drought and famine for many years. Its ruler—King Bhoja—consulted astrologers and requested members of the hijra community to pray for the kingdom’s well-being. When transgenders organized a procession for the same, the kingdom received a lot of rainfall. Since then, the community has been celebrating the festival annually.
The festival is celebrated just after Rakshabandhan, however, the preparations for the festival start before that. In the procession, transgenders carry germinated wheat grains on their heads as well as sing and dance to popular songs.
The celebrations are now not limited to members of the hijra community, rather, everyone takes part in the festival.