The content for this blog was shot last year during the annual Sonepur Mela in Bihar. It took me a year and a lot of patience to edit and upload these photos because I couldn’t decide which one to go ahead with.
Sonepur Mela is one of the most popular fairs in India. Apart from being the biggest Cattle fair in Asia, its sheer grandness surpasses famous festivals like Pushkar fair. Sonepur Mela brings the rural rustic life and presents in a very beautiful way.
I have a very special connection with this fair. Every new year, my family including the cousins living in Hajipur used to visit this fair and we used to have a lot of fun. Time went by, Sonepur Mela became a thing of the past. But it was only last year when I decided to explore this festival and I did it not just once but thrice during the entire time the festival was here. This destination is one of the lesser known places to visit in Bihar which comes alive only between November and January.
Here is my attempt to describe Sonepur Mela’s swagger in photos.
The concept of Mela in Indian rural scene is very old. Whenever there is a special occasion in a village, these melas are organized. Mela or fairs are a unique part of Indian culture. Every fair has its own significance. Pushkar Fair starts on the occasion of Karthik Purnima when taking a dip in Pushkar Lake is considered holy. Sonepur Mela starts on the same date and goes on for two months.
Sonepur is located 40 km away from Patna. Every year during Karthik Purnima lakhs of pilgrims visit this place to take a holy dip in the River Gandak.
Not everyone coming to Sonepur mela plans to buy cattle. Some come here to find a break from their farms and shops, some come here to enjoy the yummy food that adds to the charm of this fair.
Mela’s delights and lightings also gave me ample space to experiment with my camera.
Visitors from Sonepur Mela transcend all ages, genders and even nationalities. You’ll find people from Nepal who come here to take a bath in the confluence of the Ganges and Gandak.
Sonepur Mela stalls give you a chance to buy everything in a very literal sense. You can buy woolen clothes, toys and even swords like this dude above.
Where to stay in Sonepur Mela
Sonepur Mela is located 40 km from Patna. If you are traveling especially for this fair then I’ll suggest you to stay in Patna and travel to Sonepur on a daily basis. It is tiring but assures that you’ll have a roof above your head.
How to reach Sonepur Mela
There are two ways to reach Sonepur. Either you can take an auto from Kurji Mod to Digha Pul and then take another auto for Sonepur. This auto rikshaw will drop you at Sonepur station from where you can walk to the venue of Sonepur Mela.
Another route is from Gandhi Setu bridge. Those who are living around Patna juction will find traveling to Digha extremely time taking. A better idea is to take an auto till Hajipur or atleast Gandhi Setu from where you’ll find a ride for Hajipur. Ask the auto driver to drop you at the point from where the rides for Sonepur are available. From here another autorikshaw will drop you at Sonepur.
Best time to visit Sonepur Mela
Sonepur Mela starts from Karthik Purnima and goes on till late December or early January. The best time to visit this mela is during the first few days because the late you go, you’ll find the cattles sold out and sadhus gone away. November is the best time to visit Sonepur Mela.