Saturday, May 31, 2014

Sonepur Mela (Harihar Kshetra Mela) is the Asia's largest cattle fair...


Sonepur Mela Patna

Sonepur fair (Mela in Hindi) in Bihar, India has its origins during ancient times. This is when Chandragupta Maurya used to buy elephants and horses across the river Ganges. Now it takes place annually, 35 kilometres from Patna, the capital of Bihar. It is held for 21 days in the month of November at the junction of the rivers, Ganga and Gandak. It even has a legendary tale attached to it. Many believe that a struggle took place at this spot between the ruler of Gandharva, Huhu and Indraya muni; ultimately Lord Vishnu helping the weaker latter. That is why there is a vast gathering of devotees gathered at the confluence for the two holy rivers for the blessed dip at the adjacent “Harihar Nath temple” on the full moon day.

Sonepur mela is the Asia’s and probably one of the worlds largest cattle fair. Nearly all animals can be bought at the Sonepur mela from all breeds of dogs to camels to buffaloes, donkeys, ponies, monkeys, chimps, Persian horses, sheep, rabbits, bears, cats, and guinea pigs. All varieties of birds, poultry and fishes are also available. This is only place in the world that sells elephants in large numbers. Handicrafts, paintings and pottery not only from famous Madhubani but all over India can be seen here. All varieties of horticulture can be admired; this is a particular feast for the people of Bihar as it’s a major opportunity to enhance their gardens. Temporary shops selling household goods, local and branded clothing and commercial merchandise are also up for sale. Not to forget the food lovers, it’s absolutely divine. In recent years, government and several companies have started installing their shops to promote their products and services.

The Sonepur mela even runs health camps for the well being of animals specially elephants. Animal farmers, circus entertainers, traders and individuals come for a bargain. Some come for the sheer entertainment and a family day out that it provides.


Story of Sonepur Mela..
It was here at Sonepur in 1888, the first meeting of the “Indian Association of Cow Protection” seminar took place. It was here at the Sonepur mela (mela in Hindi) that the freedom fighter Veer Kunwar Singh took the occasion of the assembly to actively recruit and inspire the people for fighting against the British imperialism both before and during the First Indian was of Independence in 1857. The cover of Sonepur mela led to the main launch of the struggle movement against the British in Bihar. The Provincial Congress Committee of Bihar and the Bihar Kisan Sabha (Farmers union) also used this mela and the gathering as a recruitment ground. That is why Sonepur mela was considered a political hotbed during the colonial rule by the British and kept a watchful eye.

Sonepur fair in Bihar, India has its origins during ancient times. This is where Chandragupta Maurya used to buy elephants and horses across the river Ganges from Patliputra (Patna of ancient times). Now Sonepur mela is one of the biggest and the world’s greatest fair. It takes place annually, 35 kilometres from Patna, the capital of Bihar. Sonepur mela is held for 21 days in the month of November (from around 5-6th) at the junction of the rivers, Ganga and Gandak. It even has a legendary tale attached to it. Many believe that a struggle took place at this spot in Sonepur between the ruler of Gandharva, Huhu and Indraya muni; ultimately Lord Vishnu helping the weaker latter. That is why there is a vast gathering of devotees gathered at the confluence for the two holy rivers for the blessed dip at the adjacent “Harihar Nath temple” on the full moon day (Kartik Purnima). Many believe that Lord Ram established the temple on his way to Lanka. The locals regard that a dip here at this confluence of the 2 rivers is equivalent to giving away of 100 cows. However, it now attracts people from all geographical and religious diversity from the Punjab and Kashmir to Bhutan and Kerala. During the British Raj, merchants from Afghanistan and Britain used to attend. 

The Rimjhim theater at the Sonepur cattle fair in Bihar where dance performances are held.Sonepur mela is the Asia’s and probably one of the worlds largest cattle fair. No other mela in Bihar can boast about the crowds it attracts whether it’s Diwali, Chhath, Sivaratri, Ramnavami, Kartik Purnima, Janmashthami, Holi or Durga puja.
Nearly all animals brought here for sale include all breeds of dogs to camels to buffaloes, donkeys, ponies, monkeys, chimps, Persian horses, sheep, rabbits, bears, cats, and guinea pigs. All varieties of birds, poultry and fishes are also available. The Sonepur mela specialises in the sale of every type of bird and animal, big or small.This is only place in the world that sells elephants in large numbers. Handicrafts, paintings and pottery not only from famous Madhubani but all over India can be seen here. All varieties of horticulture can be admired; this is a particular feast for the people of Bihar as it’s a major opportunity to enhance their gardens. Temporary shops selling household goods, local and branded clothing and commercial merchandise are also up for sale. At the Sonepure mela one can buy almost anything. Not to forget the food lovers, it’s absolutely divine. In recent years, government and several companies have started installing their shops to promote their products and services.
It even runs health camps for the wellbeing of animals specially elephants. Animal farmers, circus entertainers, traders and individuals come for a bargain. Some come for the sheer entertainment and a family day out that it provides.


Sonepur Cattle Fair 2014 – the dates


The Sonepur mela or the Sonepur fair 2014 is all set to begin on November 21st and stretch till December 15th. This is a fortnight festival which begins from the day of Kartik Shukla Paksh or Kartik Purnima of the Kartik (November) month of the Hindu calendar, which is a full moon day. This fifteen day cattle festival of Bihar often some years extends to a month.




Sonepur, being a small town, can also be good place to stay in the Cottages of the Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation (BSTDC), especially built for the fair-goers at the mela site itself. They have also guesthouse facilities at Sonepur. Kindly contact the BSTDC official and get the accommodation booked well before your arrival (http://bstdc.bih.nic.in/Destinations/SonepurFair.htm)


Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation, Bir Chand Patel Path, Patna, PIN-800 001, Bihar. India.
Phone: + 91-0612-2225411, 2506219, Fax: 91-0612-2506218. Email: bstdc@rediffmail.com, bstdc@rediffmail.com
But hang on, there is another show that is attracting more than the Cattle Fair at Sonepur . The queue outside the theatre grows half a kilometer long. It all starts after the sun sets when sultry rustic girls in small clothes, dance to raunchy Hindi and Bhojpuri numbers. These girls strip as the night sets in, till they are full/semi naked for the thirsty audiences in the form of old, not so old and even young chauvinist male audiences. The organizers take care not to make these pictures/videos public

Smart theater in sonpur Mela ..


A dancing girl makes a shooting gesture at a visitor with her hands as they perform a group show at the elephant fair in Sonepur, 
Sonpur mela is mess nothing else no good arrangements there.people go there to watch vulgar and nude dances in Gulabi theatres.

This organized exploitation of girls performing vulgar dance is part of this fair every year. These videos (taken from the mobile) are available on the internet and attracts heavy traffic.


In Focus: Sonepur India Cattle Fair
When it gets dark the facades of the large theatres staging dance shows light up. Soon queues of excited men form at the entrances and security guards with wooden sticks to keep them in order. Men with tickets in their hands impatiently wait to see young girls dancing on the stage. After 6pm the gates open and everybody rushes to get best seats – closer to the stage means being closer to the girls. A barbed wired fence separates the stage from rows of battered chairs. Around 8pm the show finally starts. Bollywood songs are played on full volume and the excitement culminates. A large group of 20-30 girls dances on the stage to the music of Indian hits – you see mostly young faces, heavy make-ups and colourful, mainly Western clothing. Some girls move without any enthusiasm, clearly not enjoying being on the stage, while others are really into it – dancing, singing and interacting with the public. Reactions of the onlookers are also different – some have reserved and indifferent looks, others watch with eyes and mouth wide open, and others enthusiastically shout and dance on their chairs and pass money to their favourite girls. Numerous mobile phones film the whole performance to enjoy the show again and again later and share it with friends. The whole spectacle runs for hours, starts again on the next night and goes on for the whole duration of the meal.  


Prepared & Collection by M.Ajmal Khan.

No comments:

Post a Comment