Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A lovely registered cover from India!

Here, I would like to share with you this lovely registered cover posted from Mumbai, India for my ebay purchase.
The sender was very kind to use a gorgeous miniature sheet from the "Fairs of India" series on this cover. It was issued on 27 February 2007.
The Sonepur Fair or Sonepur mela is held on Kartik Poornima (the full moon day) in the month of November in Sonepur, Bihar, on the confluence of river Ganga and Gandak. It is also known as Harihar Kshetra Mela and it attracts visitors from all over Asia. Till date, it is the biggest cattle fair of Asia and stretches on from fifteen days to one month. The fair has its origins during ancient times. This is when Chandragupta Maurya used to buy elephants and horses across the river Ganges. The Sonepur Cattle Fair once used to attract traders from places as distant as Central Asia.

Nearly all animals can be bought at the Sonepur mela from all breeds of dogs, camels, buffaloes, donkeys, ponies, monkeys, chimps, Persian horses, sheep, rabbits, bears, cats, and guinea pigs. All varieties of birds, poultry and fishes are also available. The area that attracts all, however, is the one where elephants are lined up for sale. The Sonepur Fair is the only one where such a large number of elephants are sold. Numerous stalls are also set up at the grounds of the Sonepur Cattle Fair. You will find a wide variety of goods in these stalls, ranging from garments, to weapons and furniture, toys, utensils and agricultural implements, jewelry and handicrafts. Major attraction is the sight of numerous elephants, beautifully decorated for the purpose of sale.

The Pushkar Fair, or Pushkar ka Mela, is the annual five-day camel and livestock fair, held in the town of Pushkar in the state of Rajasthan, India. It is one of the world's largest camel fairs, and apart from buying and selling of livestock it has become an important tourist attraction and its highlights have become competitions such as the "matka phod", "longest moustache", and "bridal competition" are the main draws for this fair which attracts thousands of tourists. In recent years the fair has also included an exhibition cricket match between the local Pushkar club and a team of random foreign tourists.

The Goa carnival is an annual event held in February. The streets of Goa come alive with colour for three days and nights just before Lent. Celebrated by the Christian population in Goa, the festival is an integral part of the Portuguese heritage of the state that was a dominion of Portugal till 1961. The carnival epitomizes fun-loving culture, characteristic to Goa. During these three days, Goa is gripped by the pulsating rhythm of guitars and the lilt of folk songs. The revelers in their colourful improvised fancy dresses, dance and sing in the streets, with King Momos, Lord of the Carnival, presiding over the scene.

Baul are a group of mystic minstrels from Bengal. Bauls constitute both a syncretic religious sect and a musical tradition. Bauls are a very heterogeneous group, with many different subsects, but their membership mainly consists of Vaishnava Hindus and Sufi Muslims. They can be often identified by their distinctive clothes and musical instruments.

The Bauls have been using the melas or fairs since time immemorial, to spread their message of universal brotherhood and love among the rural people. While a number of such melas are held in different parts of Birbhum District of West Bengal throughout the year, the two best known ones are the Jayadeva-Kenduli Mela, and the Paus Mela at Santiniketan. While the Paus Mela has become a major tourist destination, the Jayadeva-Kenduli Mela better retains its original flavour, serving as a meeting place for the Bauls to come together and share their oral tradition of spiritual songs and music.

Lastly, we have a beautiful stamp of Mother Teresa from the "Builders of Modern India New Definitive series", issued on 01 March 2009.

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