By Crystal Chung @crystalkchung
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Queues of men form at the entrances and security guards with wooden sticks keep them in order, but this is just another night at The Sonepur Cattle Fair.
The cattle fair, or Sonepur Mela, that takes place in the state each year witnesses large number of people gathering on the banks of the river Ganga.
Considered to be one Asia’s largest cattle fairs, the Mela is a colorful mix of rural pilgrims, animals and dancers.
While the fair includes fun-filled activities during the day, at night over 100 bar girls take up the stage to woo the public with their many dance numbers.
Polish-born photographer, Maciej Dakowicz’s incredible and insightful pictures give us a glimpse into what happens at the evening dance shows.
Maciej, 40, said: “After 6pm the gates open and everybody rushes to get the best seats – closer to the stage means being closer to the girls.
"A barbed wired fence separates the stage from rows of battered chairs. Around 8pm the show finally starts.
"Local Bhojpuri songs are played on full volume and the excitement culminates. A large group of girls dances on the stage – you see mostly young faces, heavy make-up and colourful, mainly western clothing.”
According to Maciej, some girls move without any enthusiasm, clearly not enjoying being on the stage, while others are really into it – dancing, singing and interacting with the public.
He said: “Reactions of the onlookers are also different – some have reserved and indifferent looks, others watch with eyes and mouths wide open, and others enthusiastically shout and dance on their chairs and pass money to their favourite girls.
“Numerous mobile phones record the whole performance to watch the show back home again and again, and share it with friends.
"The whole spectacle runs for hours, starts again on the next night, and goes on for the whole duration of the Mela.”
The Sonepur Cattle Fair is held in the Indian state of Bihar, in the small village of Sonepur near Patna.
The fair starts on Kartik Purnima in November, the whole event continues for about a month and attracts thousands of visitors daily.
Tickets for the dance shows cost around £6 for a VIP ticket and £1.20 for general entry.
The venues also consist of vendors selling snacks and gifts that audience members can buy as presents for their favourite dancers.
Maciej said: “The audience consists of adult men only, I have never seen any women in the audience.
“Surprisingly, very often there is not much activity in the audience. Most of the men watch the show quietly, without showing any emotions. Some watch the show with eyes and mouth wide open, like they have never seen a woman in their life before.
“The VIP sections right under the stage are the most happening places - apart from the middle class adults there are often groups of young men having a party, dancing and interacting with girls.”
To take a look at more of Maciej’s incredible photography, visit his website; http://www.maciejdakowicz.com/