Bateshwar has long been celebrated for its annual fair. Although the origins of this ancient fair are religious, and of immense significance in the Hindu religious calendar, the fair is also of great commercial importance and is renowned as the 2nd largest animal fair in the country (Sonepur in Bihar being the largest).
The Imperial highway that ran from North-west India to East Bengal crossed the Yamuna near Bateshwar, adding substantially to the accessibility and subsequent profitability of the fair. That this highway had existed since the time of the Mauryan empire (around 300BC), lends credibility to the assertions of antiquity of the Bateshwar fair. The Bateshwar Fair may thus plausibly lay claim to being not only one of the biggest but also one of the oldest fairs, at over 2000 years, in India!
The District Administration has managed the Fair since the 1840’s. Today, covering an immense area of 4 sq kms, the Bateshwar Fair is organised and managed by the Zila Panchayat, Agra.