Jaipur Elephant Festival
Conforming to the idea of a central festival celebrated with regional variations, the ‘Pink City,’ the city of Jaipur witnesses an extraordinary form of celebration on the occasion of Holi. The city of Jaipur, in the Indian state of Rajasthan, organizes a festivity cum show of elephants on this occasion. Widely famous by the name of ‘Jaipur Elephant festival’ the festival produces a most spectacular of scenes for the onlookers. Female elephants are adorned with decorative like jewelry and are made to participate in various ceremonial activities, including parades, Elephant Polo, and Elephant dance. The tinkle of their ornaments as the elephants walk, make the scene a most wonderful one to behold, together with the discipline they are prepared to perform. The show takes place in the city of Jaipur, where people from all parts of India as well as from abroad can be seen being witness to this beautiful festival.
Jaipur Elephant Festival – Date & Timings
The Jaipur Elephant festival is celebrated on the occasion of the Hindu festival of Holi. The Holi festival is celebrated on the full moon day (Purnima) of the month of Phalgun of the Vikram Samvat Hindu Calendar. Since the date of the festival is based on the traditional Hindu calendar, it does not occur at the same time of the year of the Gregorian calendar. However, it generally falls in March. The next Jaipur Elephant festival is to be celebrated on Thursday, 21st of March, 2019 in the city of Rajasthan, from 4:00 PM onwards.
Jaipur Elephant Festival – Venue Details
The Jaipur Elephant festival is celebrated in the Polo ground, which is located opposite the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, in the city of Jaipur, in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Jaipur, the capital city of Rajasthan, is famously known as the ‘Pink City.’
The Jaipur Elephant festival is organized on the occasion of Holi, which is celebrated all over India as an occasion of joy and tying broken relationships when people play with colors and bring the phrase of painting the town red to have a reality to it. It is celebrated to mark the victory of good over evil, and also to welcome the spring season, marking the end of winter. The festival of Holi is celebrated in different ways in different regions of the country; the Jaipur Elephant festival happens to be an excellent example of the same.
Events & Significance of the Elephant Festival of Jaipur
The Jaipur Elephant festival is organized by the Tourism Department of the Government of Rajasthan, to promote tourism in the state by showing the world the true cultural legacy the state possesses.
The Elephant March
The festival begins with a march of elephants. The highly adorned elephants walk in a parade, with their ornaments producing beautiful tinkling sound. Together with the elephants come groups of adorned camels, horses and men. The men and women, clad in their traditional Rajasthani clothes to flaunt their cultural identity, join the march performing folk dances on Rajasthani folk music. The procession makes one see the richness of Rajasthani culture from a close angle.
The game of Polo has been a much favorite game among the elites. It is played like the game of hockey, the only difference being players sitting on horsebacks. However, the Jaipur Elephant festival brings a most exciting and extraordinary version of the game of Polo, in which the players rest, not on horses, but elephants. Clad in traditional wears, which includes colorful turbans, the players use long sticks and a plastic ball to play the game. They compete to score goals, like a typical Polo game. The Elephant Polo is a center of attraction in the Jaipur Elephant festival and produces a craving feeling to watch it in everyone who comes to know about it.
Dance of the Elephants!
Another beautiful thing to be witnessed in the Jaipur Elephant festival is the dance of the elephants. The Mahouts of these elephants train themselves to dance, an exciting show of which is presented during this festival.
A race of the elephants is also organized as a core event of the festival. The owner of the winning elephant receives prizes on behalf of his elephant. Also, a tug of war played between elephants can be seen taking place.
The people participating in the festival play with colors just like most places in India that celebrates Holi.
Role of the Mahouts
The elephants that are made to participate in the festival also compete with each other by the level of decoration done over their bodies. The owners dress their elephants with most beautiful decorative items. The elephants can be seen covered in heavy royal plates on the forehead, rings and anklets, their tusks covered with golden bracelets and rings. The elephant who is deemed the best in decoration wins the contest, and the owner of the particular elephant is awarded the prize.
The significance of the Elephants
Elephants have played a significant role in the lives of the people of Rajasthan since a long time ago. On the one hand, it has found employment for the Mahouts since long back in the history of the state, and on the other hand, the Rajput royalty used the animal for strengthening their armies and flaunting the bravery of their kingdom. Moreover, elephants have always had religious significance in the country. On the one hand, the Hindu tradition worships the elephant-headed god, Ganesha, and on the other hand, the elephant is considered as a symbol of the religion of Buddhism itself.
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