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Fairs & Festivals

Elephant Festival

Time - March
 

Celebrated also in March around Holi (festival of colors) is the Elephant Festival of the capital Jaipur, a tourists' delight. The mighty mammals claim center stage and stride majestically parading their decorated trunks and tusks. The festival begins with a procession of elephants, camels and horses followed by folk dancers at their entertaining best. The god worshiped on the occasion, Ganesh or Ganapati, is the elephant son of Shiva and Parvati.

Groomed flawlessly, rows of elephants do a catwalk before an enthralled audience liked the best fashion models to make this festival an amazing one. The elephants move with poise in the pageant and finally participate in the spring festival of Holi. It is festival time with elephants, typically celebrated one day before Holi, the Indian festival of colors.

Staged at Chaugan Stadium, Jaipur, elephants put up a variety of programs and the arena is brought alive with musicians and dancers. The crowd, which includes sizable presences of foreign and Indian tourist, electrifies the atmosphere. The festival starts with an impressive procession of the majestic animals lovingly painted and tastefully attired with glittering ornaments and embroidered velvets.

A ceremonial procession is recreated with caparisoned elephants, lancers on horses, chariots, camels, cannons and palanquins.

The Rajput kings accorded extraordinary importance to the elephants not only during war but also during the royal festivities-a must at royal pageant. Nishan-ka-hathi, the flag bearer, led the procession. The king always mounted a caparisoned elephant. Special hunting programs and elephant fights were organized to entertain the royal guests. Jaipur was a favourite spot with the important personalities of the British Raj and the Maharajas always arranged for their guests of honour elephant rides up to the Amber palace. Even today, the mahouts take tourists up to the Amber Palace on elephant back like shuttle taxis.

Finally, some lucky tourists are invited to mount the elephants and play Holi. Participants dance with great vigour and the excitement rises to a crescendo  

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