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Sonepur Cattle Fair 2024: Everything You Need To Know

Feb 7 2024
Sonepur Cattle Fair 2024: Everything You Need To Know

You may have heard of various melas or fairs in India such as Kumbh Mela, Pushkar Mela or Surajkund Mela. These are highly popular among all Indians and get thousands of visitors each year. However, have you ever heard of the biggest cattle fair in India? Yes, we are talking about Sonepur Mela which is, in fact, the biggest cattle fair in Asia. This mela is held in Bihar at the junction of River Ganga and River Gandak. This is known as the biggest cattle fair organized in Asia.

The fair is highly popular since very old age, especially for trading animals like elephants and horses. However, a few amendments have been made to the fair, and it is now visited by millions of people from across the world. Do you want to visit this mela this year? Want to know a little bit about the history, main attractions, accommodation, how to get there, and some helpful tips? Look no further because this blog has got you covered!

Here you will know everything from dates and history to all the main attractions as well as accommodations. To know more about Sonepur Mela, read to the end.

About Sonepur Mela

This fair which is also known as Hariharnath Kshetra Sonepur Mela was started to worship the Lord Hariharnath means lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. Since it attracts countless people from all corners of Asia, it has become the largest cattle fair hosted in Asia. The fair is hosted for fifteen days and it carries on for one month. The key purpose of this fair is to support the trading of animals, which has held great importance since the ancient era. The fair is organized on the banks of the Gandak River in Bihar. And it is organized every year in November or December.

The History Behind Sonepur Mela In Bihar

When it comes to the origin of the Sonepur Fair, it dates back to the 4th century BC, at the time of Chandragupta Maurya. He was an Indian king who used to rule the area. In the first place, Hajipur used to be the main site of Sonepur Mela and at that time, only puja used to be performed at the famous Harihar Nath Temple. This temple is believed to have been built by Lord Rama when he was going to visit King Janak for his marriage proposal to Sita. That is why, this temple has held great importance since then.

When it comes to the origin of the Sonepur Fair, it dates back to the 4th century BC, at the time of Chandragupta Maurya. He was an Indian king who used to rule the area. In the first place, Hajipur used to be the main site of Sonepur Mela and at that time, only puja used to be performed at the famous Harihar Nath Temple. This temple is believed to have been built by Lord Rama when he was going to visit King Janak for his marriage proposal to Sita. That is why, this temple has held great importance since then.

During Aurangzeb’s reign, who was the Mughal emperor, the real fair started to be hosted in Sonepur with different performances, stalls, and others. The key focus of the fair was the trading of animals including elephants as well as birds. However, after the strict enforcement of the Wildlife Protection Act in 1972, elephant trading was banned. However, even though you will see the elephants lined up on the fairground, they are showcased just as an attraction and are not put up for sale.

Dates For Sonepur Cattle Fair

The dates of this Sonepur Mela are chosen as per the Hindu Calendar. Therefore, the mela is organized in Kartik month on the day of the full moon, which is also called Kartik Poornima. This tithi usually falls in November or December as per the Gregorian Calendar. Sonepur Mela lasts from 20th November to 5th December.

Key Attractions Of Sonepur Mela

Visiting Sonepur Mela is incomplete if you miss these experiences or do not visit the key attractions. Therefore, take a look at the following checklist and make sure you do not miss out on any of them this year.

1.Hariharnath Temple

This is the temple where the fair originated. This temple is devoted to Lord Hariharnath, and it is believed that this is exactly the place where the lord settled the battle between the crocodile and the elephant. The original structure of the temple has degraded over time and the present structure was built by Raja Ram Narain in the Mughal era. On Kartik Poornima, devotees from different places around the world arrive here to worship Lord Hariharnath and take a dip in the holy water of River Gandak and Ganga.

2.Sonepur Cattle Fair

A visit to this fair will be incomplete without visiting the cattle fair, which is the key reason behind the Sonepur Mela. It is not that people only interested in trading animals come and visit this mela. But also, if you just want to witness how elephants are decorated for the fair, you must come here.

A visit to this fair will be incomplete without visiting the cattle fair, which is the key reason behind the Sonepur Mela. It is not that people only interested in trading animals come and visit this mela. But also, if you just want to witness how elephants are decorated for the fair, you must come here.Sports

3.Sports

The Sonepur fair is not only about cattle fairs and rituals. But also, there is an active side and that is sports. You will find various sports organized for sports enthusiasts. For example – Rugby, Kabaddi, Football, Volleyball, Kushti, Dangal, Cricket, Handball, Rassa-Kassi, and others. The best part here is that both females and males can participate in these activities.

4.Ganga Maha Aarti

This is held on the confluence of River Ganga and Gandak and is one of the best things to witness here. In the evening, the ghat lits up with lamps which is a mesmerizing site to be missed.

Once you visit this Sonepur fair, you will never feel bored since there are so many things to witness. If you have not witnessed this fair yet do not miss the fair this year.

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