Elephant Festival Jaipur – The Fair of Giant Tuskers

Elephant Festival Jaipur

Elephant Festival Jaipur, Rajasthan

Image Credit : www.coxandkings.co.uk

 

 Elephant festival which have its own charm is an annual unique event held in Jaipur The well- known traditional  event of Jaipur is one of largest and popular to be known across globe. The colorful festival of Holi is celebrated throughout India, but the festival gets some more spice added to it, when it combines with the Elephant festival of Jaipur, Rajasthan.This event is organized according to Hindu calendar on full moon day of Phalgun Purnima (according to English calendar, this day comes in end of February or in beginning of March). This day coincides with a major Hindu festival; Holika Dahan (a day before Dhulendi or Holi which is known to be festival of colors).

At this time weather is balmy and light, good for photography as well. Visiting Jaipur this time can be adventurous.

 

At What Place ?

This event was started 10-11 years ago by Rajasthan tourism Development Corporation (RTDC).  Festival is held at its official venue, Rambagh Polo Ground in Jaipur, and be a magnet for thousands of keen tourists from across India and overseas. Earlier the particular event was celebrated every year in Chaugan Stadium but due to its increasing fame the venue has been changed to Polo Ground, Jaipur.

 

Elephants to Indians:

According to Hindu mythology elephant is a holy animal. It is called as ‘Gajaraj’ in Hindi. Lord Ganesha, first god or lord master of all ceremonies and beginnings, has body of man and head of a elephant. Other than this, Goddess Lakshmi (Hindu Goddess of prosperity) has also vehicle of elephant.

A religious story is also associated with elephants: Devas (Gods) and Asuras (Demons) stirred the ocean, in hope that they would become immortal. But from this stirring, 9 precious things came out, which were called as Navratnas, out of these 9 things elephant was one of them.

Elephants are also symbol of Royalty according to tradition of Rajasthan. Other than Hindus, elephants are also associated with religious virtues of Buddhism and Jainism.

 

 

Peculiarities:

Elephants in hundreds of quantity are centre of attraction for people in this festival. Pachyderm are washed, painted and groomed in all finery by their grooms or Mahouts (Hindi name).

Elephants are decorated with chunky elephant jewelry, large anklets decked with bells, bodies painted with Indian traditional motifs and gulaal (colored powder), gold embroidered velvet rugs on back with silver and gold plated Howdahs and gold embroidered velvet parasols.

Large ears of elephants are adorned with ear danglers and brightly colored brocade scarfs (it is also an Indian tradition; also done with human babies). And long tusks of these elephants are ringed with gold and silver rings and bracelet. The mahouts are also dressed up in their brocade jackets and bright colored Safas (turbans); the traditional Rajasthani dress.

There is also a prize distribution ceremony for best decorated elephant and mahout.

Elephant polo, elephant race, and 19 men & women are featured events of the festival. In polo match and tug of war contests, the strongest elephant is chosen to compete against a group of ten people. There are live performances of dancers and musicians too. Other than this, there are Chariots, lancers on horses, camels and palanquins (known as Savaari).

 

Controversies Faced:

This festival was remained suspended for 2 consecutive years because of some controversies. Controversies were rise by protest of Animal Welfare Board. The activists were concerned about the colors (containing chemicals) thrown on elephants to decorate them, it may harm them. As a result of this, this festival was cancelled and after 2 years Rajasthan Tourism Group (RTDC) renamed it as “The Holi Festival”.

Festivals are always meant for a huge celebration so whether you are Jaipurian or Tourist you must have right to explore the legendary Elephant Festival and enjoy the gathering ambiance with great zeal.
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