Hundreds of artists from across the country, representing different performing arts, dance, music and traditional folk forms, will perform during the month-long Sonepur Mela (festival) in Bihar, an official said.

The Sonepur Mela, Asia’s largest fair, was inaugurated by Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav on Sunday.

“The event offers a host of cultural programmes presented by eminent artists with national and international recognition. Thousands of people come from all over the world to attend the fair and leave with unforgettable memories,” Deepak Anand, Additional Secretary, Art Culture and Youth Department told PTI on Thursday.

This year, people will witness famous Kalbelia dance by Padma Shri awardee Gulabo Bai, performances by folk singer Malini Awasthi, Devi, Sufi singer Mamta Joshi, Padma Shrii awardee Sunil Joshi, veteran actress Padmini Kolhapure, Bihar’s folk songs by Jainendra Dost and his team etc, he said.

The cultural performances that started on Thursday will continue till December 5, he said.

The Art, Culture and Youth department in coordination with the state Tourism department organises this fair.

“The Sonepur Mela is not just a fair, but is also a celebration of the great socio-cultural heritage of Bihar and India, and this year the visitors will get to witness the glory of our rich cultural heritage”, said Anand.

The Sonepur mela is organized at the confluence of two mighty rivers, the Ganga and Gandak. Popular since ancient eras for the trading of livestock, this month-long event takes place on the auspicious occasion of Kartik Purnima in the month of November.

Originally, the venue of the fair was Hajipir and only the performance of the puja used to take place at the Harihar Nath temple of Sonepur.

However, under the rule of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, the venue of the fair got shifted to Sonepur. The temple of Harihar Nath 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.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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