Annual donkey fair in Jaipur

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Jaipur, Sep 28 (ANI): The annual four-day long donkey fair, which began on Saturday in Jaipur, was a huge draw on Sunday.

Donkeys were brought from various parts of northern India for sale. Some of the donkey sellers were doing brisk sales with their slick sales pitch.

"This animal is popular because it is very hardworking and helps in a number of ways," said Jeevan Ram, a donkey seller.

The fair, which is held near the temple of Goddess Khalkani, has also been attracting horses and mules also for the last few years.

The traditional donkey fair being held in Kanotta village is 500 years old. But with increased mechanization donkey is losing its importance as the beast of burden.

The demand for donkeys has been falling.

"There is a decrease in the number of donkeys because the government is not providing any assistance in breeding of these animals...earlier their procreation rate was high but these days their population is decreasing," said Harishankar, a donkey buyer.

The fair offers many attractions for the visitors. These include unique competitions and races of the beasts with winners being awarded prizes. The winning beasts also fetch a good price at the fair.

Legend has it that the fair is a celebration for the Goddess Khalkani.

According to folklore a brave landlord Chanda Meena rescued a princess in distress, who in turn accepted him as her brother. The princess had a notorious son, Malay Singh, and Chanda Meena decided to teach him a lesson.

He asked Malay Singh to take a donkey laden with a bagful of gold coins for the ruler of Delhi. As he reached the temple of Goddess Khalkani, his greed got the better of him.

When he opened the bag, he found stones instead of coins. A panicky Malay Singh, thinking he would be held responsible for the disappearance of the coins, worshipped the goddess in the temple. The stones turned to gold miraculously. Since then, the donkey fair is organized to commemorate the miracle. (ANI)

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