CNN Photos

‘Visual feast’ of Sonepur Mela, an Indian cattle fair

Photographer Daniel Berehulak describes the Sonepur Mela, one of Asia’s largest cattle fairs, as an attack on the senses. Held in Sonepur, near Patna, India, the fair originates from ancient times when people traded elephants and horses across the Ganges River. Berehulak photographed the event in November for Getty Images.

“The whole scene was quite chaotic,” he said. Birds, horses and cattle were sold and traded in the market. There were circus rides for children. And an attraction known as the “Well of Death” amazed crowds.“The vendors sold everything from liquid bubbles, food, trinkets and colored dyes to Hindu- and Buddhist-illuminated statues."

For Berehulak, the smell was intense. He described it as full of Indian spices and the fumes of diesel generators powering a merry-go-round, combined with the odors of camels, cattle, horses and elephants.

He said his favorite photo from the festival captured a tender moment between two elephants, a daughter, Laxmi, and her mother, Rani, rubbing trunks.

“The energy of so many people in one place is always electrifying,” Berehulak said. “It’s quite overwhelming and a visual feast.”

- Angie Walton, CNN