"BIHAR" Asia's biggest cattle fair 'Sonepur mela' starts

  kautilya dutt
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Asia's biggest cattle fair 'Sonepur mela' starts

The month-long Sonepur mela, Asia's largest cattle fair which has attracted international attention, got off to a colourful start on Tuesday at Sonepur in Saran district amidst tight security. Elephants, horses, dogs, donkeys, ponies, rabbits and goats are sold from the mela, which is also known as the Harihar Kshetra Mela .

The mela has its origins in ancient times when Emperor Chandragupta Maurya used to buy elephants and horses from across Ganga. Bihar Tourism minister Sunil Kumar Pintoo inaugurated the fair which begins during the full moon of the Hindu month of Kartik at the confluence of rivers Ganga and Gandak. It will end on December 26 .



1
An elephant is painted in decorative colours during the Sonepur Mela in Sonepur near Patna, India. Nov. 15, 2011. The cattle fair, held in the Indian state of Bihar, has its origins during ancient times, when people traded elephants and horses across the auspicious river Ganges. The mela used to attract traders from places as distant as Central Asia.
(Daniel Berehulak - AFP/Getty Images)
2
A caretaker looks on as 7 year old elephant Laxmi rubs trunks with her daughter 13 month old Rani during the Sonepur Mela in Sonepur near Patna, India. Nov. 15, 2011.
(Daniel Berehulak - AFP/Getty Images)
3
A girl waves to small puppies taken out of a cage as they are displayed to potential customers during the Sonepur Mela in Sonepur near Patna, India. Nov. 16, 2011.
(Daniel Berehulak - AFP/Getty Images)
4
A man brushes down a horse during the Sonepur Mela in Sonepur near Patna, India. Nov. 15, 2011.
(Daniel Berehulak - AFP/Getty Images)
5
People walk past cages with birds for sale at a market during the Sonepur Mela in Sonepur near Patna, India. Nov. 16, 2011.
(Daniel Berehulak - AFP/Getty Images)
6
Workers erect lights on the top of a theatre where people pay to watch women dance during the Sonepur Mela in Sonepur near Patna, India. Nov. 14, 2011.
(Daniel Berehulak - AFP/Getty Images)
7
A boy rides a horse as he demonstrates its prowess to potential buyers during the Sonepur Mela in Sonepur near Patna, India. Nov. 16, 2011.
(Daniel Berehulak - AFP/Getty Images)
8
A boy points to elephants being fed as he stands with his family during the Sonepur Mela in Sonepur near Patna, India. Nov. 15, 2011.
(Daniel Berehulak - AFP/Getty Images)
9
A man sits on his elephant as it drinks water from the Ganges river during the the Sonepur Mela in Sonepur near Patna, India. Nov. 14, 2011.
(Daniel Berehulak - AFP/Getty Images)
10
A stuntman stands on a motorbike as he performs on the inside of an attraction called the "Well of Death" during the Sonepur Mela in Sonepur near Patna, India. Nov. 15, 2011.
(Daniel Berehulak - AFP/Getty Images)
11
Stuntmen steer cars as they drive on the inside of an attraction called the "Well of Death" during the Sonepur Mela in Sonepur near Patna, India. Nov. 15, 2011
(Daniel Berehulak - AFP/Getty Images)
12
Men watch a theatre performance where they pay to watch girls dance on stage during the Sonepur Mela in Sonepur near Patna, India. Nov. 14, 2011.
(Daniel Berehulak - AFP/Getty Images)
13
A woman crosses a bridge over the Ganges river towards the direction of the Sonepur Mela in Sonepur near Patna, India. Nov. 14, 2011.
(Daniel Berehulak - AFP/Getty Images)






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