Kathmandu: Gadhimai Mela, the world’s biggest animal fair held once every five years, began at Bariyarpur in Bara district of Nepal bordering Bihar on Friday the head priest at the slaughter site at a small village near the border with India, according to Al-Jazeera.
The Gadhimai festival, named after the Hindu goddess to whom the sacrifice is made, features the slitting of animals’ throats ranging from buffalo to rats over two days. Chicken and goat meat are then distributed to the masses, while buffalo hides are auctioned after dumping their heads in a large pit.
The previous festival in 2009 reportedly saw about 300,000 animals slaughtered, while Indian news channel reports that this year that number is up to 500,000.
Last month India’s Supreme Court directed the government to enforce a ban on illegal entry of animals to Nepal especially for the Gadhimai Mela. Usually nearly 70% of the buffaloes and goats sacrificed at the fair come from India. But enforcement of the ban has led to drop in figures.
It was estimated that nearly 5,000 buffaloes were sacrificed within few hours on Friday morning. The killings will continue on Saturday. A news report says nearly 125,000 goats have been sold in local markets near the temple in the past three months. They will be sacrificed on Saturday.