The Asia’s largest cattle fair held at Sonepur situated in northern Bihar on the banks of the sacred river Ganga. This fair is organized on the full moon day of the month of Kartik (November). In the ancient times, the Royal Rajahs and Nawabs used to camp in Sonepur, it resembles a unique and a historical importance in the Indian Mythology, with a visit to the Hariharnath temple and a dive into it, priests, tourists from all over the world gather here to aim for their healthy and prosperous life. It is known to all that when Lord Rama was going to meet Sita in the court of King Janak then he built this Hariharnath temple. Later this temple is repaired by Raja Man Singh.
During this fair, a lot of people enjoy in the mela ground with the pulsating market of cattle and commodities, ranging from garments to weapons and furniture, toys, utensils, jewelry and handicrafts. A huge line of stalls get an opportunity to expand all sorts of merchandise. A large number of elephants are sold in this fair for which it is well-known in the whole Asia. Elephants and other cattle are bought and sold by mostly the forest departments and the people who are heavily involved in logging operations.
This was a time annually, when Chandragupta Maurya used to buy elephants and horses across the river Ganges. Originally, the venue of the fair was Hajipur and the ritual ceremonies used to take place in Hariharnath temple at Sonepur, however, under the rule of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, the venue got shifted to Sonepur. This fair continues for about fourteen days and the day before and after the Kartik Poornima, this place turns into a wonderland with an aim to overwhelm the tourists and rural folks of Sonepur. Elephants being the major attraction are beautifully decorated for the purpose of sale.
Other attraction during this fair is the great horse racing where owners ride their horses to show their riding skills as well as their cattle’s prowess both to the spectators and the traders. Theatres and dance shows also take place making this fair a huge success starting in the late evening mlasting till the daybreaks combined with a thrilling ‘maut-ka-kua’ stuntmen show and their screaming bikes and cars, and magic shows, colorful and delicious street food and various colorful bangles and ornaments. With music, dance, lighting, and the entire brilliantly organized fair, Sonepur becomes the gem of Bihar.
Date: Nov 6th, 2014 – Nov 20th, 2014 click here for festival dates
“When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.” – Clifton Fadiman