The Elephant Festival

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The Elephant Festival

We have all played Holi or atleast have witnessed the fun and

merrymaking that go with the festival. But have you ever enjoyed

playing Holi with the elephants. Well, this is a unique festival known

as the Elephant Festival and I shall tell you about that.

The Elephant Festival is a unique event held annually in Jaipur, the

capital of the north Indian state of Rajasthan. Groomed to perfection,

glittering in gold, row upon row of elephants catwalk before an

enthralled audience. The elephants move gracefully in procession, run

races, play the regal game of polo, and finally participate in the

spring festival of Holi. It is festival time for the elephants. This

festival is celebrated on the day of Holi, the Indian festival of

colors. In the year 2001, it was last celebrated on the 9th March

2001.

Elephant Festival - Celebrations

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There are deadly and fierce elephant fights in the Jaipur Chaugan or

polo field, the venue of the Elephant Festival. During Holi, the

Chaugan is brought alive with elephants, dancers, musicians, and

onlookers from the entire globe. The festival starts with an

impressive procession of the majestic animals lovingly painted and

tastefully attired with glittering ornaments and embroidered velvets.

The echoing sound of the bankiya (trumpet) fills the atmosphere. A

ceremonial procession is recreated with caparisoned elephants, lancers

on horses, chariots, camels, cannons, and palanquins. The large beast

is the center of attraction in the many races and beauty pageants.

Strangely, most of the participants are female elephants. The mahouts

(elephant keepers) take great care to decorate the elephants-painting

their trunks, foreheads, and feet with floral motifs and adorning them

from tusk to tail with interesting trinkets. The mahouts were employed

in the Phil Khana, the department of elephant in the royal

administration. They played an important role until the princely state

was incorporated into the Union and the department because redundant.

They, however, have continued their association with the elephants.

The game of polo forms the highlight of the festival.

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