Like so many places of pilgrimage in India Sonepur also has its legend. It involves two kings both of whom were turned into animals – a crocodile and an elephant – by the curse of sages who were offended by them.

Sonepur Fair
Once, while bathing in the lake with a party of women, a Gandharva chief named Huhu made fun of Dewala Muni by playfully pulling his leg. The ire of the sage took the form of a curse that turned Huhu into a crocodile.

The other accursed person was Indradyumna, a king of the Pandyas who was of a very pious nature but had offended the powerful sage, Agastya. The king had failed to notice the sage as he was in meditation when the sage visited him. The curse of the enraged Agastya turned Indradyumna into an elephant who took refuge in the woods surrounding the lake.

One day while the elephant came with a herd to the lake to bathe, the gandharva-turned-crocodile caught his leg in its powerful jaws. Not to be taken lightly, the king of elephants tried to pull the crocodile up on the bank in an effort to crush him under his feet. A mighty battle ensued which was joined by other crocodiles and elephants.

The contest went on for thousands of years without any one being able to overpower the other. But ultimately the King Elephant weakened and prayed to the supreme god Vishnu (Hari) to save him. His prayer was answered and Vishnu cut down the crocodile with his chakra (disc).

The touch of the chakra, however, released Huhu from the curse and he went to heaven. Vishnu also released Indradyumna from his curse by touching his forehead and took the king to His abode, Vaikuntha.

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