Experience and enjoy different facets and colours of the rich Indian culture and heritage on a visit to the famous Sonepur Mela held in the eastern part of the country. The festival is held in Bihar and the largest cattle festival held over the Asian Continent. Visit the small town of Sonepur to experience how festivities meet business and culture all at one same place.
About Sonepur Mela
The Sonepur Mela is a colourful and culturally rich experience for anyone visiting the rural villages for the first time. The fair combines spirituality, business and rich rural culture all at one place. The fair becomes a trading place for elephants, cattle, horses and birds. But the wildlife laws have put an end to the illegal trading of the animals and birds. The festival is celebrated on the holy day of Kartik Purnima. On the day of Kartik Purnima, the devotees take a dip in the holy river and it continues till a month.
What do you get to see at the Sonepur Mela:
Visiting the Sonepur Mela, travellers get a chance to experience the distinct taste and cultures of the rural India. The Sonepur Mela takes place 25 km from the heart of the State capital Patna. The festival runs over a week, where all the major activities take place in the first week of the fair.
The carnival gives you a chance to see theatre, amusement rides, circus performers, spiritual gurus, snack stalls, Street magicians and handicrafts. The Fair also attracts a number of elephant and cattle buyers. The major attraction is elephants, beautifully decorated for the purpose of sale. The Sonepur Mela is also synonymously coined as the Haathi Bazaar. The other things that can be found out at the fair are the stall of handicrafts, jewellery, garments, weapons, jewellery, furniture, toys, utensils and agricultural implements.
Get a chance to experience and see traditional sports like horse racing and dog show part of the fair. If you looking for some adrenaline rush, then try out a hand on paragliding an added attraction. The other adventure sports available at the festival are water-skiing, water-canning, hot air balloon and all-terrain vehicle rides.
The fair organised by the Tourism department is also known for its theatre and folk dances. More than 600 artists from all over the country gather at one place to display their art. More than 30 different departments from the state government put up the stalls at the fair.
The BSTDC also constructs twenty Swiss cottages for the tourists who are visiting the fair. The cottages are priced between Rs 5000 to Rs 7000.
Devotees from all over the country visit the Sonepur Mela to purify themselves and wash away any negativity. Falling on the auspicious day of the Kartik Purnima, devotees take a plunge at the point where the Ganga and Gandak River meet. The other major attraction at the festival is Harihar Nath Temple in Sonepur. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the devotee’s visit the temple after taking a holy dip in the Ganga Gandak meet. It's worth going there to see them flock to the temple with offerings of pots filled with holy water.
Best time to visit and to stay at the festival?
The best time to visit the festival is in the early days. A two to three day time is a sufficient to explore the festival.