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World meets at Sonepur Mela

- Foreign nationals explore Asia’s largest cattle fair

The aura of age-old Sonepur Mela attracted numerous foreign nationals on Wednesday, the second day of the fair.

From sculptors to research scholars, all of them had come to participate in Asia’s largest cattle fair.

Sharell Cook, an Australian national and an Indian travel guide working for About.com, arrived here on Wednesday morning.

She would be visiting the Sonepur Mela for the next three days, after which she would go to Bodhgaya.

“I am writing about Sonepur fair for my website and it has been an amazing experience to be here. Today (Wednesday) being Kartik Purnima, the environment seemed to be filled with devotion. It is equally amazing to see a gathering of so many animals like elephants, horses, camels and many bird varieties,” said Cook.

Sculptor duo from Oxford — Don Henderson and Katherine M. Waters — have been coming to the Sonepur fair for the past seven years. Their interest area is the elephant market.

“We arrived in Sonepur on Tuesday. We are taking photographs and shooting videos of elephants, based on which, we would make sculptures back at Oxford. We come here because it is rare to see such large number of elephants at one place. We get rejuvenated every time we are here,” said Waters.

Paul, an Australian national, who is doing research on Indian elephants, came to the fair to enrich his knowledge.

“Sonepur fair is a historical event and so is the elephant market. I am studying the behavioural pattern of the participating elephants and the manner in which their owners keep them. I would talk to the elephant owners over the next two days and observe the tuskers. Later, I would incorporate the observations in my research paper,” said Paul.

Tsutomu Shimada, a history teacher at Kasukabe, Japan, fulfilled his long cherished desire to visit the Sonepur fair. “I have read a lot about the fair and also about the numerous activities held here. It is one of the largest fairs in the subcontinent. This is my first visit here and I got to know a whole lot of new things that I would share with my students,” said Shimada.


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