New Delhi, India, June 20--(AP) The drought-plagued residents of a small village in southern India organized a ceremonial wedding for two donkeys to appease the Hindu god of rain, a news report said Thursday.

Dressed up like a bride and groom, the donkeys were escorted to a temple in the village of Sakkayanayakanur in Tamil Nadu state on Wednesday, the Press Trust of India reported. There, a local priest chanted prayers and led the donkeys in a ritual ceremony to propitiate the rain god, Varuna. The beasts were then led in a procession that ended with a wedding feast - for the donkeys and local villagers.

The donkey wedding was the second to be held in the small Indian village, which like much of the country has endured months of drought, aggravated by a heat wave that has claimed hundreds of lives. Temperatures in some areas have soared as high as 48 degrees Celsius (118.4 Fahrenheit). The seasonal monsoons, which feed the agricultural economy of Tamil Nadu, have started late in parts of southern India this year.

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