Thursday, November 08, 2007

The 'foreign click' to worlds Largest Cattle Fair - Sonepur fair

PATNA: For the first time, a 10-member team of world photography groups led by a BBC photographer and writer Steve Davey is arriving here to cover the world famous cattle fair at Sonepur commencing from November 22.

This group comprise of world famous photographers who want to cover this festival as the highlight of their tour to India to showcase its rich heritage. "This is one of the brightest chances to showcase India and its rich heritage with festivals by capitalising the opportunity to host the arrangements of this group at Swiss cottage in Sonepur fair ground built by the state tourist department," said an official. "Four Swiss double-bed cottages have already been booked for this photographers’ group from November 22 to November 25," said Mukesh Kumar manager of Hotel Kautilya Vihar which is run by Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation (BSTDC).

BBC photographer Steve Davey is also a writer whose work has been published in magazines and newspapers all over the world. He is the author and principle photographer of, "Unforgettable Places to See Before You Die" and "Unforgettable Islands to Escape to Before You Die", both published by BBC Books.

In view of the huge rush of foreigners, this time Bihar tourism has constructed 20 double-bed Swiss cottages to accommodate these tourists. All these cottages have already been booked till November 30, said BSTDC manager, trade and travels, Gajendra Singh.

Dozens of foreigners from France, Kazakhstan, Austria and Portugal have already booked their cottages at Sonepur fair. Sumantra Chattopadhyay of Kazakhstan has booked three cottages for a week commencing from November 23 while groups led by Patricia Peyrat, Bonnet Didier (both from France) and Jermy Richards of British High Commission have made their advance booking.

Bihar tourism has already made an aggressive marketing of Sonepur cattle fair through its GOI offices located in various parts of Western countries. The forthcoming World Tourism Mart in London is likely to showcase Sonepur fair scheduled to begin from November 12-15. Bihar tourism secretary Rashmi Verma and BSTDC deputy general manager Navin Kumar will attend the Mart at London.

Sonepur fair has its origins in ancient times. It takes place annually, 35 km from Patna. It is held for 21 days in November at the junction of the rivers, Ganga and Gandak.

It is Asia’s and probably one of the world’s largest cattle fair.

Nearly all animals can be bought at the fair, all breeds of dogs, camels, buffaloes, donkeys, ponies, monkeys, horses, rabbits, bears, cats and guinea pigs.

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