Sonepur, Nov 25 : A large number of tourists from across the country have been visiting the cottage village at ongoing traditional fair in Bihar's Sonepur district.
Though the month-long fair is dubbed as Asia's biggest animal fair, it is the cottage village, which provides lodging facilities to the tourists that has become a major attraction this year.
Many tourists prefer to stay in these cottages, which have a traditional look with modern facilities.
There are more than thirty cottages at the fair. "We are providing all the facilities in these cottages to the tourists who come here to visit this place. Every year we provide boarding and lodging facilities for them. Facilities such as hot and cold water plus a massage centre are provided by us, which otherwise they would get only in a good hotel," said Ajay Kumar, in charge of The Cottage Village, Tourism Department Government of Bihar.
Tourists say that the rustic and the leisurely look that these cottages sport is inviting enough for one to spend time during a vacation.
"We had heard a lot about the Sonepur fair which is famous world over. We are feeling very good after coming here and staying in these wonderful cottages, it is so different from staying in the hotels," said Danish, a tourist.
The cottage village also has a traditional Ayurvedic body massage centre where visitors can rejuvenate their bodies after a tiresome day. The massages are provided by specially trained massagers from Kerala.
"We are promoting Ayurveda here. We are trying to provide the original experience of a Kerala massage right here in this fair," said Manoj, In-charge of Kerala Massage Centre.
The annual fair commenced on November 13 after the Hindu festival of Kartik Poornima (full moon day).
The fair attracts not only buyers and sellers of animals from all over the country but also Hindu devotees who believe that a dip in the adjoining Ganga river on Kartik Poornima marking the beginning of the fair, is auspicious.
For centuries, the fair has catered to the agricultural needs of thousands of people. An estimated 40,000 animals have been put up for sale at the fair this year.
Spread over nine acres, the Sonepur fair has designated areas for each category of animals to avoid confusion and to cater to the buyers' needs. By Ajay Kumar