The globally renowned, month-long 'Sonepur mela' at which elephants, horses and cattle are sold and purchased began today on the bank of the river Ganga in Bihar's Saran district.
With traditional sports like horse racing and dog show part of the fair, this year para-gliding is an added attraction, the organisers said.
The fair organised by the Tourism department is also known for its theatre and folk dances.
More than 600 theatre artistes from Kolkata, Varanasi, Delhi and Assam have arrived here, the organisers said.
Stalls selling electronic goods and gadgets have come up at the fair which was inaugurated by Revenue minister Ramai Ram.
The fair originates from the times when Emperor Chandragupta Maurya used to buy elephants and horses from across the Ganga.
With the state witnessing serial blasts in Patna and earlier in Bodh Gaya, strict security arrangements have been made.
Saran District Magistrate Kundan Kumar said 20 temporary police stations have been opened for the fair.
Policemen have been equipped with hand metal detectors to frisk visitors at the fair. The police were also patrolling in boats in the river.
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