Sonpur is a town in Bihar, situated on the banks of the River Gandak in Saran district. It is famous for Harihar Nath temple and hosts one of the world’s largest Animal Fair which starts on Kartik Poornima. Since Sonepur is situated on the convergence of the scared rivers Ganges and Gandak, it is regarded as a holy site by the Hindus.

The famous temple of Harihar Nath at Sonpur is believed to have been originally built by Lord Rama, on his way to the court of King Janak to win the hand of Mata Sita. It is further said that Raja Man Singh later got the temple repaired. The Harihar Nath temple, as it stands today, was built by Raja Ram Narain, an influential person during the late Mughal period.

Gajendhra Moksha legend is associated with this temple. It involves the story of king Indrayamuna and the Gandharva chief Huhu, who were turned into an elephant and a crocodile respectively by the curse of great sages Agasthya and Dewala muni. One day the elephant’s leg was caught by the crocodile.It is said that the location was in Nepal. It is said that both of them fought hard for many years with their herds and while fighting,they came to the place near this temple. But ultimately the King Elephant weakened and took the lotus flower from river in its trunk and prayed to the supreme god Vishnu (Hari) to save him. Vishnu heard his prayer and cut down the crocodile with his Chakra. But the touch of the chakra released Huhu from the curse. Vishnu also released Indrayamuna from his curse and took him to his abode Vaikuntha.

The Sonpur Cattle Fair is held annually. During Kartik Purnima, Ganga Snan or ceremonial bathing in the Ganges is held by Hindus to be unusually efficacious. On the day of full moon (Kartik Purnima) immense crowd assembles and take bath. The Mela commences on that day and lasts for more than a fortnight.  The sight of numerous elephants, decorated for the purpose of sale, is an important visitor attraction. 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. It has its origins during ancient times. This is when Chandragupta Maurya (340 – 297 BCE) used to buy elephants and horses across the river Ganges. The Sonpur Cattle Fair once used to attract traders from places as distant as Central Asia.








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