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Shot it at Sonepur,Bihar,India.Asia's largest animal fair takes place in Sonepur, in the northern Indian state of Bihar. A visual extravaganza awaits all at Sonepur Fair, where multitudes congregate on Kartik Purnima to offer obeisance to Harihar Nath and participate in the biggest cattle fair of Asia. The fair continues till fifteen days. More than 400,000 people visit every year to this fair. Sonepur situated on the confluence of the holy rivers Ganga and Gandak, has the reverence of a blessed ground and lasts for a fortnight. In ancient times the Royal Rajahs and Nawabs used to camp here. The Sonepur Fair has unique and historical importance.

 

The opening of the fair coincides with the Hindu religious festival of Kartik Purnima, which occurs in October or November. Devotees bathe the point where two holy rivers, the Ganges and the Gandak meet. Legend has it that here two brothers cast a spell on each other, turning one into an elephant and the other in to a crocodile. When the elephant went to bathe in the river, the wily crocodile attacked. Their fight lasted until Lord Vishnu intervened and saved the elephant.

Special Attractions

Seeing the temple of Harihar Nath is the main objective of the visitors to the fair after they have taken their ritual bath in the swirling waters of the Gandak. There are a number of smaller temples of other deities surround the temple of Harihar Nath Mahadeo.

 

Once the pujas and the ablutions are over, the visitors move towards the various attractions offered in and around the sprawling mela ground. The village folk, particularly the women, as well as the others, are attracted to the array of shops selling all sorts of garments, weapons and furniture, toys, utensils, agricultural implements, jewellery and various handicrafts. The fair becomes merchandise virtual explosion of colours, music, dances, magic shows, cattle, merchants and handicrafts. Various folk shows and jugglers can be seen in the fair.

 

The area that attracts all, however, is the one where the elephants are lined up for sale. The Sonepur Fair is the only one where such a large number of elephants are sold. These are mainly purchased by different forest departments and people involved with logging operations. Apart from elephants, a large number of cattle, a wide variety of animals and horses are also brought to the fair for sale. Legends are also bought and sold in the fair.

 

The fair continues for about fourteen days but the few days before and after the auspicious day of Kartik Purnima draw the maximum crowds. The sleepy mango grove, where the fair is organized, turns into a wonderland, sure to overwhelm the sophisticated urban visitor as well as the simple rural folk.

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Uploaded on August 24, 2009