Jaipur : Like every year, Mohammad Ahmad, the resident of a nearby village, is once again in this city for the next 15 days or so. He has brought with him three goats weighing 15, 18 and 20 kg.
He desperately hopes to get lucky like last year and make a few thousands before heading back to his village.
Like Ahmad, hundreds of sellers from nearby places have started to come here to put their goats on sale at Bakra Mandi, which literally means goat bazaar. The mandi is held every year before the Muslim festival of Eid-Ul-Zuha in front of the Eidgah on Delhi Road.
"I had sold a goat weighing 20 kg for Rs.18,000 last year. I hope to do the same kind of business this year too," said a grinning Ahmad.
Muslims who can afford it sacrifice a goat on the day. It is believed that Prophet Ibrahim had offered to sacrifice his son Ismail on the order of Allah, who wanted to test his faith. But Allah performed a miracle and a ram replaced Ismail.
Though the festival is more than 15 days away, the goat bazaar has already become the centre of attraction in the city.
In recent years, the mandi has startled many with the unbelievable prices of goats.
"For the last few years, the price of goats is rapidly increasing. A goat last year was sold for around Rs.100,000," Faruk Anis, who has been coming here for many years, told IANS.
"The biggest reason for the increase in prices is that the costlier the goat, the higher the status symbol for the buyer," told a seller.
Currently the most expensive goat at the mandi is priced at Rs.25,000. But trade is expected to be in full swing from Dec 10.
Mohammad Ali, a resident of the walled city area who has been saving money for a goat for the last three months, said: "As soon as you bring a goat home, it becomes the talk of the neighbourhood.
"The health, price and other features of a goat matter a lot. So it becomes a prestige issue and you are forced to do a good deal," he said while strolling through Bakra Mandi to get an idea of what is on offer this year.
Sohaib Baba, a 70-year-old seller, said: "Goats below one year of age are not sold in the market as they cannot be sacrificed on Eid-Ul-Zuha.
"A 13-month-old goat usually has two teeth and an 18-month-old goat has four teeth. People like to buy a goat that has two teeth. So these are always in demand and people don't hesitate to spend a lot of money on them.
"There are many other features like colour, health and signs on the body that make the price of a goat high. A goat last year in the market had a natural sign on its body that symbolises Allah. There was almost a dash for the goat as everybody wanted to buy it," Baba added.