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Elephant Festival, Jaipur

Elephant Festival, Jaipur - A Colourful Celebration of Rajput Royalty

Location - Jaipur, Rajasthan
Date - March 13, 2017
Highlights - Elephant Procession, Bedecked Elephants Competition, Elephant Race, Tug of War, Musical and Cultural Shows

The desert capital of India, Rajasthan, is otherwise known to be all about camels and the various camel festivals, but the popular Elephant Festival held in Jaipur is a grand event celebrating the royal animal in more one than ways. As the city’s magnificent forts, palaces and other monuments speak volumes about its royalty and grandeur of its Maharajas, elephant is a clear symbolic representation of the Rajput nobility at its best.

The Elephant Festival can also be aptly called the Holi Festival of Jaipur for it is generally celebrated one day right before the festival of colours in the Pink City of India. Mounted at the Rambagh Polo Ground, the festival is a pompous show devised mainly around celebrating the majestic elephant and putting a colourful display of music, dance and culture. It is dominant attraction for thousands of tourists, both domestic as well as foreign, who come in to celebrate and get entranced in the vigour and zeal of the place during this time. The whole aura of the fest is electrifying and glittering with the shades of joy and is brightened by the professional musicians, dancers and artists performing various programmes on the day.

To start with, a marvellous procession of fully decked up elephants is carried out, who are accompanied in the ground with their caretakers/ riders, called the Mahouts. Usually, the elephants participating in the fest are females and are intricately embellished with weighty traditional jewellery and are clad with the unworn ethnic embroidered garments. Entering the ground with a heavy thumping sound to the loud beats of the nagada, the elephants look quite splendid and paint a graceful picture for the eyes of the beholders. Very nicely groomed and prepared, traditional Indian motifs also adorn the bodies of these giants apart from the other accessories such as the soft velvet rugs, parasols, large ornaments, anklets, head-plates, gold and silver rings, bracelets, ear danglers and bright hued brocade scarves. The accompanying Mahouts are no less decked up with their shimmery outfits and lofty turbans.

Once after the procession, other main events of the day including the Elephant Polo, Elephant Race, Tug of War and competitions for selecting the most appealing elephant commence. Singing, dancing and throwing ‘gulaal’ (coloured powder) on one another, the visitors are fully participative in the activities of the day. People also purchase the Rajasthani ethnic stuff available on the numerous small shops set up especially for the occasion, which facilitates a great exchange of cultural pieces across the globe. It is a praiseworthy initiative by the Rajasthan Tourism Department to create a right mix of culture, tradition and also enhancing the popularity of Jaipur city world over.