GUJRANWALA, April 19 A large number of animal lovers and fair goers flocked to the ancient cultural 'Besakhi' fair here in Eminabad which ended on Saturday after a week full of various activities.

More than 10,000 horses, mules and donkeys were traded while more than 200,000 people, including 5,000 traders, visited the fair, according to organisers.

Besakhi fair is famous for horse, mule and donkey trade.

This year, over 2,000 horses were brought to the fair. Among them, 'harni', 'chakri' and 'morni' species from Jhang were the most sought after items for tangawalas, dance masters and farmers. Horses from Jhang attract good prices -- ranged between Rs40,000 and Rs100,000 -- because of their beauty, intelligence and ability to learn dances.

Another sought after horse specie was 'English' or 'walaiti' and 'theoroporate' whose price range was from Rs1.7 million to Rs2 million because of their racing skills and strong tall body. 'Kabli' horse was traded between Rs15,000 and Rs35,000 and its buyers were from the people living in mountainous areas. 'Arabic' horse, used as 'Zuljinah' also attracted a few buyers.

In the age of hi-tech communication, the trade of luggage-carrying animals like horse, mule and donkey at such a large scale showed that animals were still very much part of our life.

Up to 3,000 mules were also traded in the fair and of them, 'Khorkhi' mule from Sargodha, 'chaddar' from Sahiwal and 'rakh' from Narowal attracted good prices because of their strong body and capability to carry loads. Most of the buyers were from Swat, Abbottabad and Chak Sawari where loads are carried through mules. The price of a mule remained more than Rs100,000. The other species traded at the fair were 'Ravi River', 'ambipur', 'Gujrat', 'Sialkot', 'Borewala' and 'Sangla' while the 'Chinese' mule flopped because of its short height and laziness.

More than 5,000 donkeys were traded at the fair. The 'laasa' donkey from Jacobabad and Sargodha remained the most sought after for the people of Swat, Mangora, Hassan Abdal and other mountainous areas. The lassa attracts good price because of it is taller than a horse and its prices ranged between Rs100,000 and Rs200,000.

Besides the animal trade, Khiali Shahpur Town administration, which organises the fair, also held cultural games such as tent-pegging, horse race, weight lifting, rope pulling, horse dance, cattle contest, football, wrestling, dog show, kabbadi and volleyball.—Imran Saleem

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