A festival held annually during Holi, in Jaipur (Rajasthan) where elephants are the centre of attraction. In olden days, huge male elephants were used exclusively for the Maharajas, especially in royal processions. During the festival, Jaipur comes alive with elephants, dancers, musicians and and draws visitors from all over the world.
The elephants stride majestically parading their decorated trunks and tusks. The festival begins with a procession of elephants, camels, and horses, lovingly painted and tastefully attired with glittering ornaments and embroidered velvets, followed by lively folk dancers at their entertaining best. The elephants greet the visitors, offer garlands to the guests and walk past the ramp before a jury of experts and tourists to select the best amongst them for the ‘Best decorated Elephant’ Shield. Elephant races and elephant polo matches are special features. Dressed in saffron and red turbans, the teams try to score goals with long sticks and a plastic football. The most hilarious highlight of the festival is a tug of war between elephants and men.
Then there is the unique ‘Gaj Shringar’ exhibition displaying everything connected with the elephant-ornaments, textiles (Jhoo), howdahs and carriages, paintings, medicines and food.
The tourists have an opportunity to mount the elephants and play Holi. Participants dance with great vigor-the excitement rising to a crescendo.