Page last updated at 12:39 GMT, Monday, 17 November 2008

Tourists in India in samosa shock

By Amarnath Tewary

Samosas (Photos: Prashant Ravi)
Samosa is a popular Indian snack (Photo: Prashant Ravi)

A Dutch couple visiting India's Bihar state, were charged an astronomical 10,000 rupees ($204; 134) for four samosas, the potato-stuffed snack.

They paid the sum to a hawker at the famous cattle fair in Sonepur after a "heated argument".

The price worked out at $51 (33.50) per samosa. They usually cost about two rupees 50 paise or five US cents (3p).

The tourists then sought help from police who forced the salesman to return 9,990 rupees ($203.87; 134.91).

The Sonepur cattle fair runs for a month every year from the middle of November and is attended by a large number of foreign tourists.


The Dutch couple were roaming around the fair when they got hungry and ordered the four samosas from the hawker, police said.

After eating, they went to pay the bill.

The young hawker insisted in broken English that the samosas were specially made of Indian herbs and had aphrodisiac qualities, local official Paritosh Kumar Das told the BBC.

"After a heated argument and threats by the hawker, the tourists paid up 10,000 rupees," he said.

However, not convinced that the high price of the snack was justified, the couple approached the police.

"The police threatened the hawker after which he returned 9,990 rupees to the Dutch couple," Mr Das said.

A police complaint has been filed against the shopkeeper who has since gone into hiding.

The cattle fair, an annual feature in Bihar, began two days ago and will go on for another month.

Organisers say this year, bottled camel urine and milk are much in demand for "their medicinal properties".

A camel owner Rukasat Rathor said a bottle of camel urine was being sold for 100 rupees ($2; 1.34) per litre while camel milk was selling at 200 rupees ($4; 2.68) a litre.

"Camel milk is healthy for those suffering from diabetes and children while the animal's urine helps to cure all water-borne diseases," Mr Rathor said.

Another popular item at the fair is elephant dung which the local people burn to use as a mosquito repellent.

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