Shahrukh and Salman emerged as the star donkeys in the annual donkey fair organised two days after Diwali near Mandakini river in Chitrakoot district of Uttar Pradesh after being sold at the highest prices. Shahrukh was sold for Rs 1 lakh while Salman was sold for Rs 90,000. There were several other donkeys in the fair with equally interesting names like Amjad, Johny Liver, Pappu Diggi and so on. Amjad was sold for Rs 60 thousand, Johny Liver for Rs 55 thousand, Pappu for Rs 48,000 and Amareesh, Asrani, Gabbar and Veeru were sold for Rs 40,000 each. Donkey fair is organised on the last days of the five-day Deepdaan fair organised after Diwali.
Pandemic hits donkey fair
The pandemic spoilt the show this year at the donkey fair as the number of both the sellers and the buyers who turned up at the fair was pretty low. According to reports, about 60 percent less merchants and donkeys were present at the fair as compared to previous years. Only 2000 donkeys were sold at the fair this year while this number would shoot up to 8000 during previous years.
Traders from across the country participate in the donkey fair including those from Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. Many donkeys are, interestingly, named after actors. Every year, around 30 thousand to 40 thousand donkeys used to participate in the fair but this year only about 10 thousand donkeys were present.
Story behind the donkey fair
It is said that the donkey fair was started during Mughal era by Aurangzeb. There was shortage of horses in Aurangzeb’s army in Chitrakoot. Therefore, he organised the fair to induct donkeys in his army to meet the shortage of horses.