Location : Sonepur, Bihar
The Sonepur Cattle Fair is held on Kartik Poornima in the month of November in Sonepur, Bihar, on the confluence of river Ganges and Gandak. It is also known as Harihar Kshetra Mela and it attracts visitors from all over Asia. Till date, it is the biggest cattle fair of Asia and stretches on from fifteen days to one month. It has its origins during ancient times. This is when Chandragupta Maurya used to buy elephants and horses across the river Ganges. The Sonepur Cattle Fair once used to attract traders from places as distant as Central Asia.
Sonepur Mela, the famed cattle fair is held at Sonepur, in Northern Bihar on the banks of the River Ganga. It is one of Asia’s largest cattle fairs. The full moon day of the month of Kartik (November) is regarded as one of the most auspicious days for the Hindus.
Sonepur situated on the confluence of the holy rivers Ganga and Gandak, has the reverence of a blessed ground and lasts for a fortnight.
In ancient times the Royal Rajahs and Nawabs used to camp here. The Sonepur Fair has unique and historical importance.
A bath at the confluence and a visit to the Hariharnath temple here is the aim for thousands of devotees on the Kartika Purnima day.
The sprawling mela ground here with the pulsating market has the widest possible range of cattle and commodities. The array of shops sells all sorts of merchandise. Sonepur Fair is the only one of its kind where a large number of elephants are sold.
These are purchased mainly by forest departments and people involved with logging operations. Apart from elephants, a large number of cattle and horses are also brought to the fair for sale. Various folk shows, games and jugglers can be seen in the fair.