The annual Sonepur Fair in Bihar is known for Asia’s largest Cattle Fairs. It is regarded as the vibrant rural fair, which is a perfect blend of spirituality with elephants, horses, birds and cattle. It is organized during the scared festival called Kartik Purnima of Hindus. This is the time when the Hindu devotees take a bath during early morning time inside the river and keep doing the same for a month. Besides, this fair is more popular for the cattle of different breed and species including elephant, monkey, birds and other animals. Also, during the fair, you can find street magicians, snack stalls, spiritual gurus, circus performers, theatre, handicraft and amusement rides. Let’s focus on the elephant mela for which it is famous for:
Elephants at the Sonepur Fair
Unlike the Pushkar Fair is popular for camels in Rajasthan, similarly Sonepur in Bihar are popular for elephants, which is an important aspect of this mela. The elephants are decorated in different colours and ideas and lined up for the display in a proper display in rows in specially created areas in the Mela called Haathi Bazaar or Elephant Market. The peculiarity of Sonepur Elephant Mela is that the visitors are actually able to touch them and even feed the mighty animal. In this fair, the elephants are sold for a number of temples especially the ones from Kerala. In fact, in Kerala there is a huge demand for these animals, which are sold at Sonepur for various temples. The temples in Kerala and other individuals buy elephants as their status symbols.
The Trade of Elephant in Sonepur Mela
The trade of elephants in this area has been an annual phenomenon wherein King Chandragupta Maurya used to procure these animals for war and other purposes. The trade of elephants have its origin since those days. Mostly the elephants are transported from Assam, however, due to stringent Wildlife Act, disposing, transporting and selling this animal has been banned. This can only be possible with the written permission of the animal wildlife warden. Hence you can also find other animals also being brought here in this mela. Considering the widespread popularity of the fair, the Bihar Government has taken over on its arrangement and management. This has helped in attracting not just the domestic but the global tourist to Sonepur making it as one of the biggest Cattle Fairs of India.
Sonepur Mela -The Cattle Fair of India
This fair is not just a mela of elephants but with the addition of other animals, it has become the most happening cattle fair of Asia. These animals include horses, ponies, donkeys, buffaloes, dogs, rabbits, camels and goat to name a few. Besides, you can find a number of other stalls pertaining to products like furniture, weapons, toys, agricultural products, handicraft and jewellery.
If you are planning to visit Sonepur Fair 2015, you can further explore the subject at length over the web. The best time to visit this fair is to visit during the first week of this mela as you can get loads of stuff, right from the spiritual bath in the river to the perfect gleam of decoration on elephants and other cattle and loads of other things.