YOUNG WORLD

Celebrate the elephant

NEETI BHATT

Celebrate the elephant

Rajasthan, the land of princes, celebrates festivals with great enthusiasm. These are occasions for residents to display their extraordinary spirit of rejoicing and enjoyment.

The magnificence and importance of the elephant is celebrated every year with the Elephant Festival. This year, the festival is to be held at Chaugan Stadium in Jaipur from March 25 (Magh Shukla Purnima). The festival is celebrated on the occasion of Holi, the festival of colours. March and April (Phalgun and Chait) are the months of harvesting. The winter crops are ready for harvest and there is an atmosphere of rejoicing.

Celebrate the elephant
Celebrate the elephant

It is a treat to watch the jumbos. The owners decorate their elephants with bright colours, jhools (saddle cloth) and jewellery. Cow elephants are made to wear payals or anklets, which tinkle as they walk. Prizes are given for the most beautifully decorated elephant. Some of the events are a polo match, an elephant race and even a tug-of-war between one elephant and 19 men and women. The most exciting part of the festival is playing holi while seated on the elephant.

The elephants put up a variety programme and Chaugan Stadium comes alive with musicians and dancers. The ceremonial procession has caparisoned elephants, lancers on horses, chariots, camels, canons and palanquins.

Celebrate the elephant

The Gaj Shringar exhibition displays everything connected with the elephant — ornaments, textiles (Jhoo) howdahs, carriages, paintings, medicines and food. The Dhaph and Gair dance demonstrates the spirit of holi. The dazzling display of fireworks complete the day, leaving unforgettable memories.

Photos by Prem Kapoor

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