It is not a surprise that there should be a festival to commemorate the elephant, the mighty guardian of beasts and kings alike, and gentle as a child to their mahouts and their families. These fierce warriors of the battlefield were known for their might and valor, and it is fitting that they should be honored through some event dedicated to them.
The Elephant Festival, held in Jaipur every Holi, celebrates the importance of elephants to the Rajasthani, particularly the kings and traders of a bygone era. The main venue is the old Chaugan of Jaipur, where elephant polo matches were once organized. It is always a matter of amazement to see the quick and nimble movements of the elephant during a game or pageant; it is not something you would expect of these mighty beasts of the jungle.
The main attraction at the Elephant Festival is the mock elephant fight, once a favorite, albeit a little cruel, pastime of kings and princes. Today, with more awareness about animal rights, elephant fights are thankfully a matter of the past. This reenactment is what remains of those routines of violent confrontation between two carefully trained elephants.
Then there is the gentler, more “civilized” event that is very popular with tourists – the “beauty” pageant for elephants. These mighty beasts welcome visitors with flowers, and sashay down the ramp like any potential Miss World. If you are feeling a little playful, then play a tug of war with an elephant.
Elephants are playful creatures, and guided by their
mahouts, they do a good job of snatching the rope to their
side of the line, even if the other end of the rope has 10
people pulling on it!.You will understand the complexity of an elephant’s life when
you visit the exhibition held on the grounds. Here, you will
see every item connected to the domesticated elephant –
palanquins, decorative hangings, ornaments.
The Elephant Festival, Jaipur, is worth a visit if you love these strong, huge pachyderms.