New initiatives and new ideas are necessary to brighten our lives. Any sector, institution or a region will develop only through new experiments and development programmes. So, drawing from the concept of Bhutan's Gross National Happiness (GNP), the Indian railways has come up with the 'Happiness Junction' in Bihar.
Yes, the Sonpur Railway Junction will now be turned into a happiness junction. The basic idea is to provide entertainment for the passengers who often get bored while waiting for the trains.
Photo Courtesy: Smeet Chowdhury
This idea is the brainchild of Dileep Kumar, the senior divisional commercial manager of the Indian Railways Department. So, now the Sonepur Junction will have television, a book cafe, newspapers stall and also a kids' zone. The passengers will have a temporary entertainment before they step into their respective trains and don't you think this is just a WOW!.
The best part of this project is the 'Goodwill Wall'. Passengers will not only get to enjoy but also do some charity. They can leave anything which is useless to them like books, clothes, bottles, etc. at this 'Goodwill wall' and make the needy happy.
Sonpur is a small town which is around 27km from Patna. It is famous for the annual cattle fair, the largest of its kind in Asia. Sonpur on the banks of river Gandak is also known for Hariharnath Mandir.
An Old Photo of Sonpur Cattle Fair
Photo Courtesy: Ashley Van Haeften
Sonepur Cattle/ Animal Fair is one of the grandest events in Bihar. It is an annual fair which is held on Karthik Poornima (the full moon) day during the month of November. Sonepur Cattle Fair goes back to the time of Chandragupta Maurya when the elephants and horses were traded. This tradition is followed even to this day when the animals like buffaloes, cows, horses, rabbits, birds and even dogs are traded.
It is wonderful that a railway station in such a town is getting a makeover. Interestingly, Sonpur Railway Junction has the 8th largest railway platform in the world. The concept of the "Happiness Junction" is the much awaited project in the region. Passengers are surely benefited from the entertainment provided here.
How to Reach Sonepur/ Sonpur
Sonepur is well-connected by road and rail transport. It is around 56km from Muzaffarpur and 6km from Hajipur. During the annual cattle fair, it is possible to go by ferries to this town. Sonepur is at the confluence of River Ganga and River Gandak which is considered as a holy place.
I am all set to be a part of the Happy Junction mission and I am hoping that this kindles the traveller in you as well.