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Old 21st December 2012, 11:45   #31
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Default Re: Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park

ADC da, beautiful depiction of the rustic charm of festivity. For 2013 this has been added to my drive list. Is there any fascility of boarding and lodging or its a daily commute from Patna?
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Old 21st December 2012, 12:54   #32
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Default Re: Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park

Sonepur mela 2012 photo essay ...contd...


People come from nearby towns as well as villages.
Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park-sonepur85.jpg



Trophies and promotional banner of race horse at Sonepur Mela, November 30, 2012
Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park-sonepur72.jpg



On the banks of River Gandak. Sonepur is situated on the banks of the River Gandak in Saran district in the Indian state of Bihar.

Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park-sonepur23.jpg




Elephants head off towards the Mela grounds from the bank of River Gandak after a bath. Sonepur Mela, December 2, 2012

Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park-sonepur24.jpg



Inquisitive horse and an elephant, at Sonepur Mela 2012
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A fellow Royal Enfield Bullet rider at Sonepur!
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A customer checks a "lathi" or stick at Sonepur Mela, 2012. Lathis from Munger dist. are famous due to a particular kind of wood.

Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park-sonepur95.jpg



Decorative patterns of "lathis" or sticks at Sonepur Mela, 2012.
Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park-sonepur94.jpg



contd...

Last edited by adc : 21st December 2012 at 12:57.
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Old 22nd December 2012, 12:22   #33
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Default Re: Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park

Sonepur mela 2012 photo essay ...last batch...

International camera crew from Korea documenting the fair
Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park-sonepur29-2.jpg


Posters on sale at Sonepur

Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park-sonepur58.jpg


An elderly couple at a poster shop, late evening

Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park-img_0810.jpg


A herbal medicine man [baid] from Haridwar at Sonepur

Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park-sonepur73.jpg

Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park-sonepur108.jpg


A Kashmiri cloth merchant at Sonepur mela 2012. Traders from all over India are seen in this mega fair

Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park-sonepur76.jpg


Sonepur mela is associated with the mythological Gajendra Moksha legend

Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park-sonepur85.jpg

The train line that goes by the Sonepur fair grounds

Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park-sonepur97.jpg



Promotional sachets of a company being distributed at Sonepur mela
Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park-sonepur98.jpg



"Icchadhari Nagin"
Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park-sonepur102.jpg



From swords to lathis to knives to even household items from hacksaw to hammer, chisel and what not. Bought a brass knuckleduster from him, just a collectable.

Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park-img_1199-1.jpg



Getting acquainted with Rani, the elephant. Taken by my friend's cousin brother from Patna, another hobbyist, who accompanied me on the last day [Sunday, Dec 2, 2012]

Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park-sonepur100.jpg



And I leave a mela still revelling itself among throngs of amazing people within a brilliant atmosphere of fun and festivity.
Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park-sonepur101.jpg



Since stretches of one side of Gandhi setu is always on repair, frequent jams take place - the reason as to why I stayed at Hajipur to cover the Mela. Otherwise, on a normal day it takes at least 1 hr each way from Patna and double the time if stuck on the bridge.

Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park-sonepur96.jpg


The last night I stay and spend time with my good friend, Rajesh, and his family. Early morning, Monday, leave Patna for the 400 km run to Asansol, where my cousin sister stays.

Maintaining good time, crossed Bakhtiyarpur but then suffered a puncture by a spoke piece beyond Nawada. Could not take out the spoke and with no extra tube as such had to push the Bullet around 2 km to the nearest puncture shop. Lost more than 2 hours over here.
Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park-sonepur86.jpg


As much as I like to cover the transport sections of a journey while on the Safari drive, I am very uncomfortable with a night highway journey on a motorcycle for quite a few reasons. Wanted to explore the Tilaiya dam near Koderma, Jharkhand, but as 2.5 hours was lost due to puncture, just this hurried picture by the highway.
Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park-sonepur91.jpg


The ghat forest roads around Koderma and Jhumri Tilaiya
Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park-sonepur93.jpg



As said, the chrome still shines and the thump is intact, just 1.4 lakh km young - along the Barhi-Asansol stretch of NH2. Reach safely and just around dusk at Asansol
Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park-sonepur92.jpg



Next day sometime after noon, The next day start from the cousin sister's house and towards Kolkata. Dakhishewar temple took a brilliant golden hue due to the evening sun

Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park-sonepur90.jpg

Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park-sonepur84.jpg



Reached safely and great to be back home to Asmita and Bamba, wife and son, - and of course again, just like my bicycle journey, if it had not been the fantastic support from them - solo trips would never would have come through.


Of course thanks to all the readers too!



End

Last edited by adc : 22nd December 2012 at 12:41.
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Old 23rd December 2012, 20:19   #34
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Default Re: Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park

Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
This is quite a wonderful log. Very different from the trips we normally do!
Absolutely and may be still this can be termed as an "expedition" of a different kind!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheel View Post
Despite being from Bihar, I never visited Sonepur, but have heard many wonderful things about this mela.

Thanks adc for putting up this wonderful log I think I would want to visit it next year, even if it is for a day.
Quote:
Originally Posted by me_sid View Post
ADC da, beautiful depiction of the rustic charm of festivity. For 2013 this has been added to my drive list. Is there any fascility of boarding and lodging or its a daily commute from Patna?

A visit here will be different from what travel we normally do. Most pleasant was the fact people are most welcoming and there has not been a single incident where I faced animosity while taking photographs.


Since stretches of one side of Gandhi setu is always on repair, frequent jams take place - the reason as to why I stayed at Hajipur to cover the Mela. Otherwise, on a normal day it takes at least 1 hr each way from Patna and double the time if stuck on the bridge.

At Hajipur the best and quite good is Hotel Anamika [ http://hotelanamika.com/ ]

I stayed at Hotel Mayur, a budget one at Rs 800 per night, big and clean double bed room but spartan - majority of the time anyway I was outside roaming around in the mela ground.




Travels to Bihar - 2. Valmiki National Park of West Champaran dist, of Bihar --- Safari Dicor VTT -TMT family drive and journey to the lesser known - near the Bihar-Nepal, February 2011


Quote:
Valmiki National Park is located in the West Champaran district of Bihar state, India. The extensive forest area of Valmikinagar was previously owned by the Bettiah Raj and Ramanagar Raj until the early 1950s.Valmiki tiger Reserve (VTR) is one of the nature’s virgin recesses in east India is situated in the North West corner of the State of Bihar. The Pristine forest and wilderness of VTR is an excellent example of Himalayan Terai landscape. VTR comprises the Valmiki National Park and Valmiki Wildlife Sanctuary. The VTR forest area covers 899.38 sqkm which is 17.4% of the total geographical areas of the district West Champaran.

The Valmiki National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary lie in the West Champaran district of Bihar. Name of the district has been derived from two words Champa and Aranya – meaning Forest of Champa trees

Total forest area comprises about 900 km2., out of which expense of Valmiki Wildlife Sanctuary is 880 km2. and spread of the National Park is about 335 km2. area. In north, the protected areas are bordered by Nepal while the Indian state Uttar Pradesh bounds the Wildlife Sanctuary from western side. Wikipedia

This was a travel done in February 2011. Starting from Kolkata at night, a massive drive was undertaken whereby we travel across Bengal, Jharkhand to turn right at Barhi to reach Patna in morning and then to Narkatiyaganj and finally to the VTR. Will be starting on this travel story after the holiday season. Some highlight images.


A stupendous travel to a remote forest, two of our good friends also came along. We even made a banner for it. Image clicked by a forest guard.

Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park-valmiki6.jpg


The forest borders the Indo-Nepal border. For trek through the forest, we took the narrow gauge railway line with ticket price of Rs 2 [!] to Nepal - alighting at the border station of Bhiknathori.

Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park-valmiki8.jpg


An absolute remote forest and a trek from the Nepal side -- through the core area of a tiger reserve, no where in India you get this.

Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park-valmiki1.jpg


Many and us too have seen a tiger on a safari ride, but the experience of seeing a tiger roar yet not seeing it while on the trek through the core area of a forest is a hair raising event. All tense and we stop on the trek as we hear a tiger with cub roar somewhere in the undergrowth ahead.

Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park-valmiki2.jpg


And of course, just like any other tour, we pushed the Safari VTT-TMT 2wd to its limit.

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As said, will be starting on this travelogue - returning after the new year holidays.

Last edited by adc : 23rd December 2012 at 20:43.
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Old 23rd December 2012, 21:18   #35
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Default Re: Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park

Aaah beautiful forest it is Valmiki Nagar aka Bhainsa Lotan , Gandak divides India and Nepal. Very scenic and notorious( then year 99/00) for kidnappings. Literally seen guys hidden on trees waiting for their prey. But altogether a good experience.
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Old 24th December 2012, 15:59   #36
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Default Re: Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park

Walking/Trekking even in the buffer zone is risky, let alone the core area. ADC'da hats off to the ahemm "guts" ( out here I would restrict to guts,till we meet). I know tigers are "large hearted gentleman" and they dont attack unless provoked, but even then it is kind of difficult to master that amount of courage. I am sure the tigress have spotted you and the team, and she was growling to advertise her presence and voicing a warning, and particularly with a cub, situation could have turned a little volatile. And further proceeding would have resulted in a charge.Did u have any sightings later on. Needs further updates of this thread. Staying glued.
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Old 25th December 2012, 10:59   #37
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Default Re: Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park

Fantastic writeup and pics... Visited this place once when I was a kid and bought myself a pomeranian, haha. Hope you'd a great stay...
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Old 12th January 2013, 12:55   #38
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Default Re: Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park

Quote:
Originally Posted by adc View Post
A terse message was sounded on the speakers - "Anurodh hai ki aap aapka seat ko dabaa ke rakhe aur control me rahe, jo uchol raha hai usko pehchan kar chuke, aisa na ho ki hum aye or aap pehchan ke lyak na rahe"!! - no one again tried anything again!!
That's so typical and dabang of rural rustic Bihar and Eastern UP!

Quote:
Originally Posted by adc View Post
A customer checks a "lathi" or stick at Sonepur Mela, 2012. Lathis from Munger dist. are famous due to a particular kind of wood.
The lathis from Munger were very famous, alas, now-a-days very less people know about it. Even Mahatma Gandhi used a lathi from Munger!
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Old 27th January 2013, 22:11   #39
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Default Re: Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park

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Originally Posted by agspins View Post
Aaah beautiful forest it is Valmiki Nagar aka Bhainsa Lotan , Gandak divides India and Nepal. Very scenic and notorious( then year 99/00) for kidnappings. Literally seen guys hidden on trees waiting for their prey. But altogether a good experience.
Absolutely notorious it was for kidnappings which in fact was a booming industry then.

And talking with some locals while out there the story went like this; can't vouch for accuracy but still -

West Champaran was always known for gangs and violence for quite some time with inter gang rivalry and killings. Now somewhere in the 80s, one top cop came out there - he called all the gang heads, said why fight among yourselves, creating law and order disturbance and all the murders - told them to divert themselves into kidnapping of well to do persons or the self employed types, which is risk free - said but the treat the victim well and then negotiate and then settle. No one gets hurt, no random killings affecting "common people" and nothing that forces that much for police to also act!! Since then they say kidnapping took industry status in N Bihar.

Of course now things have changed absolutely and travel now is quite safe. In fact Valmiki Forest is being promoted heavy by Bihar tourism nowadays.


Quote:
Originally Posted by me_sid View Post
Did u have any sightings later on. Needs further updates of this thread. Staying glued.
No sighting was there, but the loud calls of the tiger was heard and thats a different feeling. the forest guards accompanying us then started loud calls and after some half hour wait we started again to walk again through the forest.



Quote:
Originally Posted by AdiSinghV12 View Post
Fantastic writeup and pics... Visited this place once when I was a kid and bought myself a pomeranian, haha. Hope you'd a great stay...
Thanks much, definitely again a great travel to remembered for a long time - a long Bullet ride, a 80s era kind of mela and some photography - everything was perfect on this trip!




Quote:
Originally Posted by Nonstop-driver View Post
The lathis from Munger were very famous, alas, now-a-days very less people know about it. Even Mahatma Gandhi used a lathi from Munger!
Very well said.

And a three-day 'lathi mahotsav' is held at a village in Munger to commemorate the gifting of a lathi to Mahatma Gandhi in 1934.

http://www.ndtv.com/article/cities/b...-gandhi-296417

Last edited by adc : 27th January 2013 at 22:15.
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Old 31st January 2013, 16:49   #40
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Default Re: Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park

such an extensive coverage adc. Thanks for sharing the photos
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Old 6th March 2013, 13:43   #41
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Default Re: Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park

ADC da, where are the pictures and write-up of the Forest Reserve visit? You cannot give us an amazing teaser (as in the video at the beginning of this epilogue), and then keep us waiting and salivating!

Please bring it on...
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Old 7th March 2013, 14:53   #42
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Default Re: Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park

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ADC da, where are the pictures and write-up of the Forest Reserve visit? You cannot give us an amazing teaser (as in the video at the beginning of this epilogue), and then keep us waiting and salivating!

Please bring it on...

Believe me I do myself want to get up-to-date with my writings - let me get the melas and the cycle trip out at first - as those images have been already taken out.


First priority so right now is to get the Bullet motorcycle ride to the biggest mela of the universe, the Bullet ride to Maha Kumbh Mela 2013.

Will be finishing this by today.

Royal Enfield Bullet at Maha Kumbh Mela, Allahabad, February 2013
Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park-img_8777.jpg


And to share some fantastic news, and a huge for me! Go air and the very respectable Himal magazine came across the Sonepur images on our website and after taking up photography little bit seriously for the first time, getting a bit of recognition for the article [for Go air] and for images used in Himal.

The write up written on Sonepur Mela by Mr Abhishek Chaudhary is fantastic and if possible, do go through it. Many a unknown facts about Sonepur are out there. To read, click on the images for a better view.


The PDF zip attached is the article and photo feature that came out for the inflight magazine of Go Air.


Attached Thumbnails
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Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park-130.jpg  

Attached Files
File Type: pdf gg fair.pdf (711.4 KB, 328 views)

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Old 16th September 2013, 15:21   #43
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Default Re: Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park

ADC Da,

I really cant thank you enough for sharing your experiences of Sonepur Mela. It has made me extremely nostalgic. Took me back to my childhood! I stayed near Sonepur (Hajipur - town across the Gandak river) for 3 years. My school was also on the bank of Gandak opposite the mela site (with a narrow bridge separating the two). We used to do bi-cycle runs to Mela almost every day after school. Nautanki used to be quite notorious those days. And as advised by all and sundry, nautanki area was off-limits for us school kids.

I can see from the pictures that not a thing has changed since. It looks as if the time has stalled on the banks of Gandak. Mela is still the same - vibrantly colorful and full of joie de vivre of local populace. Now, I regret not going back to it for almost 20 years.

Like everyone else, I too am waiting for Valmiki park write-up. Never had a chance to visit it.

Thanks again!
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Old 12th November 2015, 20:36   #44
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Default Re: Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela & a Safari drive to Valmiki National Park

Reviving an old thread. This mela is opening on 25th November this year. In case someone in this forum from Calcutta is interested to visit the mela this year, please let me know by sending a PM. I propose to leave Calcutta on 27th late at the evening (or maybe 28th on early morning) and may offer him a free ride. In case someone wishes to travel with his own car, I may share the cost of fuel.
PS:- In case someone ever wishes to visit this mela, please remember that staying options at this mela is extremely limited and please plan accordingly.

Last edited by rahul4640 : 12th November 2015 at 20:41. Reason: Adding text
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