Known as the biggest cattle fair in Asia, Sonepur Mela is also known as the Harihar Kshetra Mela. It is actually a very incredible attraction for people who want to buy and sell animals like elephants, dogs and even birds.
Taking place in the month of November on an annual basis, this festival falls on the auspicious day of Kartik Purnima. It is a month-long fair which usually attracts a lot of people from all around the nation. What’s really interesting is that this place also has a historical angle associated with it dating back to the time period of Chandragupta Maurya.
If the legends are to be believed then, once upon a time Sonepur was more or less a battleground of the never-ending fight of Gaj and Grah i.e. the elephant and the crocodile. As per the story, the elephant had come to bathe in the lake and that was when a crocodile, who was hiding in the water all this time, had grabbed one of the elephant’s leg.
It is said that the struggle to break free from the grip of the crocodile had lasted for years. And in his weak moments, the elephant had prayed to Lord Vishnu to save him. It was only after a lot of praying and devotion that the elephant was saved by Lord Vishnu himself.
Historically, the origins of this fair can be traced back to the reign of King Chandragupta Maurya. Yes, this is so because he used to buy elephants and horses across the holy river Ganges. It is said that during that particular time, Sonepur used to be just a religious site and the fair used to be held at Hajipur. However, all of this was changed during the rule of Aurangzeb and since then, this place has been the venue for this fair.
The major attraction of Sonepur Mela are the extensively decorated elephants lined up for sale. In Sonepur Mela, one gets to witness a very diverse variety of animals like cattle, birds, dogs and even cats.
Apart from this, Sonepur Mela not just promises the tourists with an abundance of cattle trading but also a nice blend of fun activities. During this festival, people from different cultures and traditions come here to experience it and take home some of the most memorable moments with them. Many devotees also come to take a holy dip in the mighty Ganges as this time is considered quite auspicious for self-purification.
By Air. The nearest airport from Sonepur is the Patna Airport. From here, Sonepur is situated at a distance of around 23 km, so after deboarding your flight you will need to take some means of transportation to reach your destination. Patna airport is well connected with other cities like Delhi, Pune, Chandigarh, Mumbai.
By Train. If you are thinking about travelling via train then you will need to deboard at the Sonepur Junction. After getting off the train, you will need to take a cab or some other means of transportation like a bus.
By Road. You can consider travelling to Sonepur by road as well. But for that, you may need to take your own vehicle as there are not many buses which have good connectivity with this place. From cities like Delhi, Pune, Mumbai, Chandigarh you will need to cover a total distance of around 1,486 km, 1,276 km, 1,406 km, 1,694 km.
21 November 2019 - 22 December 2019
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