Photo essay: Sonepur,an elephant fair struggling for existencehttps://indianexpress.com/photos/picture-gallery-others/photo-essay-sonepur-an-elephant-fair-struggling-for-existence/

Photo essay: Sonepur,an elephant fair struggling for existence

Mahouts

Mahouts and helpers huddle near an early morning fire at the elephant fair in Sonepur,India. Organisers admit they are struggling to revive one of India's largest livestock markets now sapped of its main attraction by a ban on elephant sales. (AP)

Elephants

Elephants race at the fair. In decades past,the festival drew hundreds of elephants,and hundreds of thousands of people hoping to watch the animals revered in India as an Earthly incarnation of the Hindu god Ganesh bath in the river or do tricks for a crowd. (AP)

Horses

Horses feed at the elephant fair in Sonepur. "The mela is back to its old glamour," said Rahul,a local government official,running down attractions that include an exotic bird market,traditional folk music concerts,hundreds of street-food stalls and eight caged stages featuring writhing girls in heavy makeup and sparkly spandex. (AP)

Horse

Horse traders participate in a horse race at the elephant fair in Sonepur,India. (AP)

Exotic birds

Exotic birds for sale at the elephant fair. (AP)

Puppies

Puppies for sale displayed in cages at Sonepur,which hosts one of India's largest livestock markets. (AP)

stunts

A youth performs stunts in a well of death. Such spectacles are regular features at melas all over the country. (AP)

vendor

A vendor decorates food to attract customers. (AP)

vendor

A vendor sells posters of Hindu deities and Bollywood stars at the elephant fair. (AP)

fair

There is something for everyone at the fair. Here dancing girls are seen performing. (AP)