The Painted Elephants of Jaipur
The Elephant Festival is an annual event held every year on the full moon day of Phalgun Purnima (February/March) at Jaipur the capital city of Rajasthan. It coincides with day of Holika Dahan, when the Indian festival of Holi is celebrated all over India turning cities and towns into a riot of colour, fun and frolic. Elephants are washed, painted and groomed in all finery by their loving Mahouts, and are specially decorated for the festival with chunky jewellery, large anklets decked with bells, their bodies are painted with traditional Indian motifs, gold embroidered velvet rugs grace their backs along with silver and gold plated Howdahs and gold embroidered velvet parasols. The large ears are adorned with danglers and brightly coloured brocade scarfs. Even their tusks are ringed with gold and silver bracelets and rings. Richly embellished head-plates adorn their foreheads. The mahouts are also all dressed up in their brocade jackets and bright coloured Safa’s or turbans. At the Jaipur Elephant festival there is a prize for the best decorated Elephant and its Mahout. Games played towards the end of the day include elephant polo.
Credit: Elephant Festival Jaipur