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Elephant Festival

Usually camels remain the highlight of any festival in Rajasthan, but a few festivals of the state mark elephants as well. Elephant Festival is an important festival of Rajasthan dedicated to the pachyderm. This Elephant festival is held in pink city, Jaipur the capital of Rajasthan. Preparation for the festival begins well in advance and elephants are groomed to perfection by their masters. During the festival large number of elephants, camels and horses take part in huge procession. Thousands of people from far and near reach the city to see the amazing catwalk of animals, beautifully painted and tastefully attired with glittering ornaments and embroidered velvets. The elephants also participate in the races, play the royal game of polo and finally participate in the colourful festival of Holi.Started only a decade ago, the Elephant Festival was included especially by Rajasthan Tourism to promote tourism. Each year on the day after the Holi festival, the Chaugan stadium at Jaipur, forms the venue for an impressive jamboree. In addition to massive procession, a programme of Dhaph and Gair dance demonstrating the spirit of Holi, dazzling display of fireworks altogether provide unforgettable experience to participants.  Traces of Elephant festival has been found in the Jataka tales of Buddhism that refer to the tradition of Hastimangala or the Elephant Festival. Besides, the elephant has also been of symbol of strength and wealth for the royal families. For the Rajputs, the elephants were used for war and also for the royal festivities.

Usually the festival begins with a spectacular procession of elephants, camels and horses. Other highlights of the festival include the elephant races, elephant polo matches and tug of war between elephants and men. Local artists also perform the folk dances during the festival. A unique 'Gaj Shringar' exhibition is also held during the festival which displays elephant-ornaments, textiles (Jhoo) parapernalic howdahs and carriages, paintings, medicines, food etc.