The Harihar Kshetra

Thousands of years ago the Great Mauryan Emperor Chandragupta Maurya used to visit the animal fair near the Gandak River to buy horses and elephants required for the war. On the banks of the river Gandak, which flows past the temple of Lord Hariharnath, on the auspicious night of Karthik Purnima (around November full moon), the fair used to be held. Though years have passed on, the fair still maintains the heritage, its piety and holiness with the rush of thousands of people. Located 25 km from Patna, the capital city of Bihar, the Gandak river still flows, brimming with water and on its holy banks in the Sonpur area is held the world’s largest cattle fair.
Horses, elephants, cows, goats, Oxen, hen, chickens everything is available in this fair for sale. Still today, the ancient tradition continues - auctioning elephants, horse racing competitions, herds of cows on sale. The other major attraction of the fair is the morning prayers and offerings made to God with the tune of aartis and pujas (worship) on the auspicious occasion of Karthik Purnima. Thousands of people flock together from midnight to get a holy dip in the water before the sun rises. It is a great assembly of people ranging from children to old men & women. People still believe in the old faith that souls do not get liberated from the human body and they hover around to get freedom. Group of local exorcists try to make the souls free from human bodies with their gruelling sessions on the victims. On the name of exorcism people are brutally tortured.
Everything has moved on - the history of time, the demographic changes, social eco-systems. But in this journey of thousand years, something remained engraved in the hearts of the people – the tradition to follow rituals. Still everything is on sale here...animals as well as human sentiments.

  • Debiprasad Mukherjee
    Photographer
  • Genres:
    People, Fair, Tradition, ritual, exorcism
  • Date Taken:
    July 12, 2014
  • Country of Origin:
    India
  • Camera:
    Nikon D7000
  • Lens:
    12-18mm, 18-105mm
  • Student Project:
    No
Artist Biography

Debiprasad is an Indian freelance documentary photographer based out of Kolkata, India. He has graduated in Electrical Engineering & completed his post-graduation in Business Management. Though Debi is a Business Consultant by profession, but his strong passion for documentary photography & photojournalism made him travel to various countries like India, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, UAE, UK and USA. He strongly believes that as a documentary photographer, it is his responsibility to showcase the social changes and its impact on human race and he is committed to leverage photography as the most powerful tool to capture the social changes & behaviors across the globe over the years.
His photographs have been published in many international magazines/websites e.g. Vogue Italia, National Geographic, F-Stop (USA), Rammajamma Images (Australia), Society of International Travel & Tourism Photographers (UK), Dodho Magazine (Spain), Fotoform Magazine (Germany), Life Force Magazine, Social Documentary Network, Positive, ViewFind, Monovisions, Private Photo Review, Edge of Humanity, 121Clicks etc. and exhibited globally like International Exhibition of Art & Photography at "Galerie Romain Rolland", Indo-French Cultural Center, New Delhi (2015), Slovenia International Photographic Exhibition (2016), Plovdiv International Photo Festival Bulgaria (2016), "The Search for Economic Justice" Photography Exhibiton at University of Wisconsin La Crosse USA , Photography Group Exhibition "Portraiture" Serbia (2016), PONDY-ART 2016 - DRIVING FORCE Photography Exhibition, Pondicherry, India, Asian University for Women Bangladesh (2016), Photo Life – Art Hub Annual Exhibition Kolkata, India (2015), Instagram First Ever Photography Exhibition in India (2016), Spring Photo Festival Bardaf Slovakia (2016) etc.
He has received numerous honors like Neutral Density Photography Gold Star Award, International Photographer of the Year, Monochrome Awards, Photographic Society of America Gold Medal, United Photographers International Gold Medal, Photographic Society of Singapore Gold Medal, Fédération Internationale de l'Art Photographique Gold Medal, World Photo Hungary, International Union of Photographers Jury’s Choice Gold Medal Hong Kong, International Association of Art Photographers (IIAP) Gold Medal, Czech Federation of Art Photography Silver Medal, Diploma from Image Sans Frontiere France, Digital Photo Archive Silver Medal Ireland, Master of Light Silver Medal Bosnia, Zivko Janevski Bronze Medal to name a few. He is also a winner of Nikon India ‪‎PowerYourClicks‬ Photography Contest 2016, Fotoforum Award Menschen Germany, runner up in InterAction (alliance organization in Washington, D.C. of NGOs) 14th Annual Photo Contest for “Women Empowerment” 2016, Second prize winner in India Photography Award – Travel and a finalist of HIPA Award 2016.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬
Debiprasad is associated with many non-profit social organizations/NGOs like Consortium for Street Children (UK), Child in Need Institute (UK/IND), InterAction (USA) etc.
He is currently based in Kolkata, India with his wife Monidipa & son Wrijiswan.
He can be reached at debiprasad.mukherjee@gmail.com
Freelance Contract Photography Agency: Zuma Press, USA

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Artist Statement

Debiprasad’s recent assignment includes reportage on life of railway platform children in India for an International NGO.
Debiprasad strongly believes in the power of photography in changing people’s perspective towards social changes & issues. His background in business & economics always helped him to understand unequal relationship between technology & humanity and its impact on social & financial conflicts.
His photographic vision is not only to depict social, political and financial issues & conflicts but also to portray surreal beauty and the enduring power of the human spirit. That is why, while photographing Debi always asks himself what changes his photos can bring to the lives of his “subjects” suffering in the darkest corners of the world.