Monday, May 15, 2017
Festivals are an intrinsic part of the Indian culture and are definitely worth attending. One such festival is the Elephant Festival, held every year on Holi, in Jaipur. The sheer size of the elephants is captivating on its own, but what makes this festival even more attractive is the abundance of vibrant colours adorning the creatures. Before you plan your trip to Jaipur, here is a little something about the Elephant Festival.
The History Behind the Festival
Elephants have always been very important for royalty as they were a symbol of strength and wealth. Back then, elephants were an essential part of all activities, including war, celebrations, and entertainment. The Elephant Festival is celebrated to keep this bit of tradition and culture alive. It was included in the cultural calendar by the Rajasthan Tourism about a decade ago and is now a major tourist attraction.
What to Expect at the Festival
As it is their special day, the elephants are groomed and decorated with jewellery made especially for them. They are adorned with colourful and embroidered rugs and parasols. The bodies of the elephants are also painted with traditional motifs. Most of the elephants that participate in the festival are females and their mahouts take great pride in decorating them.
The Elephant Festival was organized in the Chaugan grounds in Jaipur, but since 2011 it has been shifted to the Jaipur Polo Grounds to cater to the huge crowds. The festivities start with a grand procession of the decorated elephants, horses, camels, musicians, and folk dancers, all entering to the sounds of traditional trumpets. The elephants are paraded before a lively audience, and shown off to their best advantage.
The highlight of the festival is the elephant polo match, with the mahouts wearing saffron and red turbans. In addition to the polo match, there is also a tug of war, the elephant dance, and the elephant race. Musicians and dancers give live performances which is also pleasing.
The festival brings alive the rich and royal heritage of Rajasthan through this celebration of elephants. The hotels in Jaipur play host to many and thus, a reservation well in time is recommended.