14/08/2014 12:48 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

The Woman Married To FIVE Brothers

The woman married to FIVE brothers

When I shared this story with my wife, her first reaction was to roll around the floor laughing. And then she looked ill. For the horror of what I was relaying to her suddenly started to dawn.

It is the story of an Indian woman who has FIVE husbands – who are all brothers. Now, as the oldest of four boys, I've shared a lot with my own brothers. But my wife is most definitely not one of them. And fortunately, the mother of my children feels the same way.

But they do things differently in a small village near Dehradun, in Northern India.

This is the place where Rajo Verma, 21, lives in one room with her five husbands, who all sleep on blankets on the floor.

In fact they're so close that the mother-of-one - who sleeps each night with a different brother – doesn't actually know which of the siblings is the father of her 18-month-old son.

The set-up may seem weird, but it is the tradition in Rajo's village for women to also marry the brothers of their first husband.

She told the Sun: "Initially it felt a bit awkward. But I don't favour one over the other."

Rajo and first husband Guddu wed in an arranged Hindu marriage four years ago. Since then she has married Baiju, 32, Sant Ram, 28, Gopal, 26, and Dinesh, 19 - the latest in the line of husbands - who married her as soon as he turned 18.

"We all have sex with her but I'm not jealous," said first husband Guddu - who remains the only official spouse. "We're one big happy family."

Rajo said she knew she was expected to accept all of her husbands, as her own mother had also been married to three brothers. She said they sleep together in turn, but that they do not have beds, just 'lots of blankets on the floor'.

She added: "I get a lot more attention and love than most wives."

The ancient Hindu tradition of polyandry was once widely practised in India, but is now only observed by a minority.

It sees a woman take more than one husband, typically in areas which are male dominated.

In fraternal polyandry the woman is expected to marry each of her original husband's brothers.

It is thought to have arisen from the popular Sanskrit epic of Mahabharatha, which sees Draupadi, daughter of the King of Pancha being married to five brothers.

The practice is also believed to be a way of keeping farming land in the family.